Unless you are buying or selling your house, you can forget about appreciation, depreciation, dollars per square foot, tax changes or market conditions -- especially at this time of the year. Instead, think about what makes a home a home, not just a house.
When your children are grown will they really care or even remember how much the home appreciated during the previous year? Will they remember that you sold the house for less than a similar one in your neighborhood? Ask any adult what his or her childhood was like and you will probably never hear those types of comments.
Typically when we look back to the homes that held our hearts, we don't recall the 10-foot ceilings or expansive square footage -- we remember the family times. Which explains why we sometimes start to feel guilty around this time of year, knowing we haven't done as much as we hoped to in creating memories for our own families.
This reminds us of a conversation with a friend who got a second chance to create those lasting memories when his grown son returned home. The son wanted to turn his life in a new direction by going back to school and getting a degree. Yet when confronted with higher cost of renting and only a few choices because of owning a pet, he asked his father for financial help by co-signing a loan to buy a small condo.
After talking it over with his wife, our friend's response went something like this:
"Instead of co-signing on a loan, why don't you move back home?"
"I don't know about that. How much rent would I have to pay?" asked the son.
Our friend said they didn't need the money. In fact, they didn't want the money. What they really wanted was to be sad when the son left.
The son responded, "I have to think about it."
What a powerful statement. A potential stumbling block in the son's life was turned from a negative to a positive. The parents had the opportunity to get to know the child as an adult. The child was able to see the parents as adults as well. They both developed new perspectives. The results were the seeds of mutual respect and appreciation that continued to grow long after the son moved out to be on his own again.
After all, it is not what you give but how much attention and time you spend in developing the relationship. You can have that dream home you always wanted, if you will open the door and your arms at the same time. Happy Holidays in your home.
Clair and Barbara Ramsey are local associate brokers specializing in residential real estate. Their column appears every fourth Sunday. Their e-mail address is email@example.com.