Thursday, July 14, 2011

There was an old lady who lived in a shoe

Well now, it's been quite a while since I've posted, huh? While summer may be a relaxing time for some, it has been crazy here. I was traveling a bunch in June, first to the SLA Annual meeting and INFOExpo in Philadelphia then to a family trip to the Keys. Then there was painting of bathroom ceilings, catching up with friends, work, cooking, cleaning... It's been busy. I've been brainstorming blog posts, though. Today won't be one of those gems, because I have to vent a little first.

What is up with the housing market?!? I mean seriously.

DH and I met with a relator yesterday evening to talk about selling our house. The commute three days a week is racking up the miles on our one and only vehicle, and it would just be nice to be a part of the community in which I work. Talk about the most depressing meeting ever. EVER. All I can think about is how stupid, misled, and naive we were to pay as much as we did for this silly house. (I knew I should have listened to my gut.) Basically, the news was that our house is only worth about half of what we paid; we probably can't get approved for a short sale because we are responsible and pay our mortgage each month; and the rent in this area is a couple hundred less than what we need each month. Fantastic.

The only hope we have is a house swap. Or just walking away.

I've had about a million thoughts running through my head since the guy left last night (nice guy... just bad news). Who is it that decides what houses are worth, anyway? Banks? They get to tell people that their house is worth less than a new car? How does that make any sense? Who decided 5-6 years ago that houses were suddenly worth exponentially more than they ever should have been worth? People went along like lemmings then, why not now? Why is it that whoever it is that is deciding prices can't just decide that the slump is over and houses are actually worth more than they were in 1991, haha, we were just kidding before? And yes, I know about the whole supply and demand equation. I took economics in high school. I just still think people are lemmings and will do what the talking heads tell them to do.

Next, apparently, the quality of your home has no bearing on the value of your house. Put in a new kitchen? Whatever. Replaced the flooring? Whatever. Painted the walls, fixed the bathrooms, replaced the roof? Whatever. You want to know what decides the value of your home? The other houses for sale. Explain that one to me, please, because, since there are no other homes like ours in our neighborhood, the comparisons come, quite literally, from the other side of the tracks. Excuse me? So you're telling me that our home with it's relatively new kitchen, good condition flooring, and general cleanliness has the same value as something that hasn't seen a paint brush since the mid-1980's, still has avocado appliances, and sheltered a chain smoker for the last 30 years? How is it that this happened?

I know we aren't the only ones in this position. I know that there are others that are much worse off than us. It seems ridiculous to me, though, that our society has such a skewed sense of reality. I saw a car commercial this morning in which, scripted or not, the woman actually uttered, "$20,000 is such a reasonable price for a new car." Excuse me? That's what people are buying homes for, now. And a car? Something that depreciates in value as soon as you sign your title and drive it off the lot?

We were stupid and now we're stuck. So, anyone in Lake Wales looking to trade homes for a lovely 2/2.5 two-story, cement block townhouse located in the heart of downtown Lakeland, close to schools, shopping, dining, the public library, art museum, Florida Southern, Southeastern, and parks should let me know. Until then, we just don't know what to do. I'll tell you one thing: this whole ordeal has not motivated me to paint the stupid kitchen ceiling. Not. One. Bit.