Monday, May 30, 2011

5 strikes against homes

1.     They cost more
Once you buy the home, you have to buy the furniture. And after you’ve moved in with all your furniture, you have to take care of the place. The sprinklers need to be blown out, the carpets need to be deep-cleaned, the 4.5 bathrooms all need to be stocked. All of this before the taxes you’ll have to pay come April.

2.     They take more time to maintain
You buy a home, and suddenly a big part of your weekends are spent hovering over the couches at Pottery Barn and envisioning how to best furnish the living room. You have to mow the lawn. You have to dust and deep-clean all that square footage. Maybe you genuinely enjoy catering to the whims of a home more than you enjoy doing anything else, and that’s okay. If not, though, there are likely many other ways to spend your time that would make you happier.  

3.     They permit you to accumulate stuff
You buy more square footage, you buy more stuff to fill it. Suddenly you own four couches, six televisions, and art for walls you never look at. You own clothes you don’t remember buying and you’re up to your eyes in knick-knacks for all the nooks. And when you move, you’ll be faced with the daunting task of packing it all up in boxes. Or paying someone to do it. (See #1.)   

4.     Quality is often compromised in pursuit of quantity
The only way developers can give you more square footage for the same price is to cut back on finishes. So, while you have a bigger home, the details are amiss. It's two pounds of flank steak rather than one filet mignon.

5.     Function is often compromised in pursuit of form
The odd thing about many new homes is that as they become increasingly disproportionate to us, so do their details. People want a grand stairway, which requires a massive foyer, which empties into a living room only two-thirds as big. Things just get awkward.

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