Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A house owns you

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. 
 -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Isn't this so damn true?
And so slow we are to learn it, if at all.
And he does not even mention the worst part, perhaps it was not common in those days, but these days the great majority of house "owners"* were so eager to leap into that neat cell that they not only spent the most money of their life on it, they usually take on a debt which will take them like 30 years to pay off, and will earn the loaner a couple hundred percent before it's done.

Actually if we go deeper, I think it is not so much the fact of ownership itself which traps one, it is that one is mentally and emotionally attached to the house.

*Like Stuart Wilde said, try not paying your property taxes, and you'll see who owns your house.

16 comments:

Miserere said...

I thought you owned your apartment.

eolake said...

Well, I do, but I have to park my carcass somewhere, and this seems to be just about the simplest option. And it's not in a fancy area, so I was able to buy it, which makes it cheaper than rent or a mortgage.

For many years, actually (almost 20), I *did* live in small rented rooms. I only bought my own place when the time came that I could easily afford it.

Ha, in any case I did say "we", I was including myself. It's not so many years ago I planned to be a house owner. I can still occasionally dream of a weally weally kool house.

Actually I think it is not so much the fact itself which traps one, it is that one is mentally and emotionally *attached* to the house.

englebert humperdink said...

If you have to pay property taxes then you live in a city or a town and those taxes pay for all the services you take advantage of every day. If you don't want to do that, go off in the wilderness and build a log cabin. Get your water from a well, etc. You won't have to pay taxes then. Stuart Wilde is a colossal moron.

eolake said...

Fair point.

eolake said...

BTW, Mr. Humperdinck, I'm honored by your visit. My mother is a big fan.

Steve Weeks said...

I have lived both primitive (in today's world) and urban. It is all about what services you are willing to do or have it paid for.
I have trucked water in, disposed of sewer and all the other assorted tasks. Loved the solitude.
Also live in a nice home with all the good stuff and associated hubris. Love the convenience.

Frankly I am torn, good stuff in both these worlds.

P.S. Anything you own and use will become a master over you.

Miserere said...

Eo, you went down the right route; at least that's what my wife and I think. We'll eventually buy a place, but only if we get a great price on it and have enough money for a large down payment such that a 10 or 15 year mortgage is the longest we'll need.

In Boston, unless you're you're earning well into 6-figure territory, there's no chance you can buy a place in one lump sum (unless you've spent 20-30 years saving up for it)

eolake said...

Yes, I have to admit to considerable luck on that one: this area was behind the general housing explosion when I bought it in 2002. From then til 2007 the price more than doubled.

Anna said...

I just read this, 5 reasons to rent, but sorry, it's in French... Good for practice :)

http://fr.biz.yahoo.com/25102010/395/5-bonnes-raisons-de-rester-locataires.html

kentg said...

I'll buy and you can rent from me and pay all my expenses, return me a profit, and I'll raise the rent every year to cover the rise in taxes, repairs, etc. By the way, Ill keep all the appreciation when I retire.

eolake said...

That's a good deal. Until you can't find tenants. Or those you have turn out to be a terror. Or you get termites.

Paul Sunstone said...

"Actually I think it is not so much the fact itself which traps one, it is that one is mentally and emotionally *attached* to the house."

Yes.

By the way, isn't it strange that Emerson seems to have missed that?

eolake said...

Maybe he didn't, but thought it would be a step too far. He was already a rebel on so many levels.

Paul Sunstone said...

"He was already a rebel on so many levels."

Interesting thought. It makes me want to read more of Emerson, but where should I begin? Any suggestions?

eolake said...

"The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson" is probably a good bet.

Paul Sunstone said...

Thanks!