I delayed this week’s Ten on Tuesday posting because of a commitment to a MotherTalk blog tour post date (I’m really trying not to post more than once a day), but since the prompt, “Ten Things You’d Fix in Your Home (if you had the time and money),” isn’t particularly applicable for me, I didn’t think my less-than-timely participation would really be an issue. As a renter/apartment dweller, I don’t have a lot of latitude on that subject; besides, one of the dubious advantages of my situation is that you’re not the one who has to fix anything – you just make a call.
However, the topic is a nice lead-in to my Rant/Editorial/Worthless Opinion of the Day.
My non-homeowner status means that I’m a bystander in the whole burst-housing-bubble/subprime-meltdown/mortgage-crisis mess. Both my husband and I came into our marriage without the means to buy a house (due to factors relating to our respective prior marriages). However, my understanding is that “lack of means” hasn’t been considered a big obstacle in the last few years, and it’s resulted in a large number of “homeowners” who don’t actually own their homes. There is no single factor at fault for this, like it or not, but I’m still wondering why the crash has apparently caught so many by surprise. I understand that some individuals probably didn’t truly understand what they were getting into when they “bought into the American Dream,” but I question whether they’re the majority of those affected; I tend to think many others played the system and are now getting burned.
It seems to me that some fundamentals of finance, economics, and physics may have been forgotten or ignored in the last few years, particularly “What goes up must come down (sooner or later),” “If you come to dance, you have to pay the piper (eventually),” and “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” At the same time, the laws of supply and demand seemed to be working pretty well. People wanted to buy houses, and money became available. The people who made the money available made more money, and they wanted more customers to lend it to, so they could keep making more and more money. They made it easier and easier to borrow the money, which made more people want the money so they could buy the houses they wanted. Meanwhile, people whose houses had gone up in value wanted to get some money from that gain without actually selling and having to buy another house, and money became available for them too, since there was also money to be made from that. There were risks involved in all this, but some people didn’t understand them, some chose to ignore them, and some probably didn’t care because they assumed they wouldn’t get hurt. Of course, all of the preceding is a gross oversimplification of a very screwed-up situation, but you get the idea…
We would have loved to be able to buy a house of our own with a cheap mortgage, but we have a somewhat old-fashioned and conservative belief in down payments, and that’s why we’ve been on the outside. It was our choice not to take the 100%-financing route to home ownership. I don’t mean to imply that this decision makes us better or smarter than anyone else – in fact, I know some people who really believe that renting is a stupid choice, no matter what – but we do understand the risks of having next to nothing truly “invested” in a house, and we decided that they were too big for us. Perhaps in another couple of years, we’ll have built up our savings and house prices will be lower, and we’ll be in a place where we can look at his again and perhaps jump in – but on terms that we like and are comfortable with.
Anyway…to return to the “official” topic at hand, I do have a few things that I would like fixed or changed in our apartment, but it’s definitely less than ten, and obviously can’t be anything structural.
- Replace the light fixture over the stove.
- Change the kitchen faucet; the sinks are kind of shallow, so it would be nice to have one of those taller, arching taps. (I wonder if we actually could do this, as long as we returned the original hardware when we moved out? We did change out the shower heads…)
- Put a light fixture in the entryway.
- Replace the mini-binds in the kitchen.
That’s really about it, since I’m not counting changes in furniture or decor for this question. I actually like our apartment quite a lot, and it’s fairly new and spacious. Check out this week’s Ten on Tuesday post for players who took a much more orthodox approach to the topic.