Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Comparative Market Analysis

We’ve had a whole lot of people tromping through our home lately, trying to determine its value. Trying to assess its worth as an investment or its structural integrity or how it stacks up with other homes in the area. They’ve looked at the foundation and the roof, the walls and the floor. They considered its size and age, the curb appeal and functionality of all its parts.

Their conclusion is that our house is worth $100,000 less than when we moved in 8 years ago. Give or take $20,000. (Nice margin of error, right?)

I have to take exception with that conclusion.

Because they overlooked the most important things. The worth of this home is not determined by its square footage or how recently it was upgraded. Its worth comes from what has happened inside it over the course if its life. I can’t speak for the family that lived here before us or for whoever will come after us. But I can attest to the respect and gratitude that we owe to this structure. I can attest to just how much life has happened here.
We have grown from what now seems like a family starter kit to a full-fledged BIG family. We have spent countless hours gathered together in this living room talking, yelling, teaching, playing, dancing, fighting, watching movies and jumping on the furniture to avoid the lava. (Good thing we happen to have lava proof socks and even ocassionally lava proof feet to keep us from melting. Phew!)
We have brought three beautiful new babes into the world while living here. Their first laughs and cries echoed off these walls. They wore out the knees of their pants learning to crawl on these carpets. This is the room where they learned, at long last, to sleep through the night.
Their first unsteady steps happened in this hallway. And later, this was their runway to zoom and chase and scare each other by jumping out from behind the corners. 
Our oldest child has grown from a Kindergartener to a High Schooler while living in a room with a teddy bear picnic all over the walls. (Unbelievably, she hadn’t even begun to complain about that!) She spent altogether too many nights staying up past her bedtime whispering and giggling with her younger sister, creating the memories that will bind them together long after they are grown.
My room has been a sanctuary and a prison. It has seen joy and laughter, tears and sorrow, pain and heartache. And it has endured it all with quiet dignity, ready to be whatever I made of the space.
This kitchen has been witness to more chaos and noise than is good for it. But it has embraced that energy unfailingly. It has facilitated the transformation of flour, sugar, eggs and butter into little bits of magic that bring huge smiles and excitement into our lives. It has provided a place where we can nourish our children.
And this room has unfailingly filled with light and family every day, fostering the kind of togetherness that we cherish. And will continue to cherish during the long years to come.

This house has kept us safe. It has given us warmth when we needed it. It has battled back the intense summer heat and given us abundant shade for our backyard adventures. The grass has long since died, but the soil remains witness to the learning and growth that has happened there.
And how do you give a dollar value to something that was designed and built with so much love? There is not a house on the planet with a playhouse like this one. I will miss Sliver Hut. Possibly even more than my children.
It's had multiple makeovers throughout the years and provided many, many hours of play. My only consolation is that it may yet bring joy to another set of children once we are gone.
Home sweet home. So the appraisers told us that it's worth has plummeted since we've been here. The realtors said that we couldn't sell it for what we owe.  The mortgage people think we have to get a little creative to make ends meet. And we have to walk away from our entire down payment.

I say, so what?  It's only money. All the important things that have happened here have nothing at all to do with money. My analysis of this house flies in the face of all their logic. The impact that this home and the things that happened in this home have had on my family is worth more than any CMA could ever show. Its worth will be forever carried in our hearts, inseparably connected to the memories we have made here. 

And maybe, just maybe those memories will continue to echo within these walls even long after we are gone. I like to think that this home will remember us, because we will certainly always remember it.

1 comment:

Mom said...

This is beautiful - brings tears to my eyes. Well said! A whole lot of living has taken place in this house and turned it into a home.