How Not to Hate Your House If You Owe More Than It’s Worth

We bought our house in 1994. So, I thought, great, we’re safe. Our home will never go down in value. But when my husband and I sat down and did the math, we were wrong! After inflation and all the improvements we’ve made on the place (Don’t build an addition to your house!) we would not make any money if we sold, and might even take a loss. But we’re OK with that. We don’t ever plan on selling.

I feel like we are the lucky ones. Our friends who live near Detroit have watched their house drop 50% in value. But they’re happy. They love their house and don’t want to leave. Still I wonder if you are under water, can look at your house the same way you did when you bought it? Yes, and here’s how:

Look at Your House the Same Way You Would a Favorite Chair

We were always led to believe that real estate appreciates and everything else depreciates. Furniture, cars, clothes, all go down in value. We still love that worn out couch, even though we know it would sell for a lot less now. You probably couldn’t even give away that old prom dress, but you treasure it anyway. Look at your house the same way. Remember, it really isn’t an investment, it’s where you live.

Put Your Own Unique Stamp On Your Home

I love to plant. I have spent literally thousands of dollars on plants over the years. So, if we moved, someone else would enjoy my hardy banana tree, or the grasses I painstakingly lined the driveway with. Would I spend the same amount on landscaping knowing what I do now? Yes, of course. Because those plants bring me joy. I look at our house and our yard, the same way that I do anything else that I have invested a lot of time in. Don’t be afraid to do what you want in and around your house. Look at it this way: Now you don’t have to worry about resale value! If you know you can’t sell, why not paint the living room that vivid shade of peach that you’ve always dreamed of. Now’s your chance.

Plant Some Roots

There’s something to be said for a sense of community. I remember when I lived in Florida during the ’90’s it was so booming, people were moving there in droves and very few people were actually “from” there. Now, with the real estate bust, maybe that’s changing. People are staying put, and getting to know their neighbors, because they have to. They have nowhere to go. And, just maybe, that’s a good thing.