You want to know why the cost of homes has shot up so much in the last few years? I contend that it's not primarily the result of economic forces, but psychological ones. It's because of the seemingly unending supply of people with this kind of mindset:
We haven't actually lived in any of these places. We've only bid on them. And lost. In this housing market, we've tried to tell ourselves that we shouldn't get attached to any of the houses we bid on. The chances of actually getting one seem so low ... . And yet, how can I even think about bidding that much money on something I am not actually attached to? Just writing that check for earnest money is enough to make me sweat. Would I write a check that high on something I only had lukewarm feelings about?I can understand getting a little attached to a home that you're hoping to get, but when you let that emotional attachment become your driving force, you become a part of the problem. I would like to buy a house, but while the price of homes has shot up in the last few years, the amount of money I'm willing to spend has barely increased at all. What possible justification could I have to allow it to "shoot up dramatically" other than sheer emotion?
And, of course, there is the time spent with the house itself. First I visit. Then I visit again and in our case there is at least one more visit to bring the parents by. By this time, I have usually mentally painted every room in the house, placed most of the furniture and planted a few flowers.
The housing market. It's taken many sweet memories away from me, even if they are technically memories of things that haven't yet happened. We've gone through four real-estate agents. Our social life has been completely stifled because we spend all of our free time driving around, looking for a place to live. And friends who say "you'll find the house you're meant to be in" are wearing us thin.
After we find one, we usually spend some time in a local coffee shop writing out the offer. The amount of money we are willing to spend has shot up dramatically from when we started this process. We sign page after page of legal documents, wondering if this will be our last offer, or if we are only just beginning.
A home is worth a certain amount of money to me. If home prices don't eventually come back in line with my expectation of their worth, I will either never buy, or move to a land of reasonable value. I won't play the "keep on jacking up your offer prices" game. Forget that.
(Wendy Lawrence, Seattle Times, 08.04.2006)