Sunday, November 4, 2007

Home Decorating Costs: Housing Myths Part 11

Previous: Homeownership Cost Cliches: Housing Myths Part 10

The Million-Dollar Paint Job
Peculiar Priorities To Justify Spending a Million Dollars

Those who concede that homebuying is not always financially better than renting often switch the argument from financial bottom lines to unquantifiable personal preferences that cannot be tested by Excel spreadsheets.

One of the favorite intangibles that you “can’t put a price on” is the “freedom” to do no end of unpaid labor, such as painting walls.

Bone Is Freedom. Eggshell Is Slavery.

This obsession with painting houses is very strange:

  • Others consider painting to be a chore, on par with having to empty the chamber pot if there was no indoor plumbing ("But if I rented I wouldn't be able to empty my chamber pot and the landlord would get to do it every time.").
  • Few people confess to jealously resenting the landlord’s “freedom” to repair the plumbing or shovel the driveway yet we hear people eagerly protest the cruel fate that denies them the right to spend their free time spreading liquid on a wall.
  • These color-minded people must be very highly accomplished in life to be able to say, “Darn it, I spend way too much time playing with my children. Spreading liquid on a wall is a much higher priority.”
  • Few people express the same compulsion to change the color of their car yet we see people shake their fist against the tyranny that denies them the right to spread liquid on a wall.
  • Few people express the same compulsion to trim the hedges in particular shapes yet we can imagine people pacing their floor while seething with burning resentment at the anti-artistic conspiracy that denies them the right to spread liquid on a wall.

Oh, the repressed self-actualization.
Oh, the humanity.

A House Is the World's Most Expensive Canvas

Customizing your home, whether rented or not, is understandable.

Less Expensive Solutions for Frustrated Artists:

  • Even extremely customized/specialized decoration does not require paint at all: Most people would guess that a room with beige walls and pink drapes, pink sheets, a pink dresser, and a pink telephone is a girl's room.
  • The fixation with hammering holes in walls, instead of the “tyranny” of placing your pictures on a mantel or bookcase, is equally perplexing. Given that houses often cost several times their “sticker price” (initial value) by the time they’re paid off, how many thousands of dollars per hole is that (more expensive than wildcat oil drilling?)?
  • Compulsive painters could rent while changing professions to become house painters/remodelers to get paid for their hobby, or volunteer to paint walls at homeless shelters or Habitat for Humanity.
  • Even if a landlord does not allow temporary color changes, the color-obsessed occupant might find that forfeiting the renter's security deposit is much cheaper than the million-dollar paint job of buying a house.

(Even a non-"jumbo loan" house can cost a million dollars after you add the mortage interest costs to the initial price: $400k @ 8% 30yr = over $1 million.)

Cheaper than a House:
Landscape painter Bob Ross' The Joy of Painting Basic Paint Set

The Myth of Landlord Color Tyranny

Some landlords let you paint and add picture holes. Some landlords let you repaint to a weird color as long as you return to a neutral color before you leave.

Homeowners Do Not Escape Color Tyranny

The irony is that homeowning is no different from renting and experts recommend that you the homeowner behave exactly like a landlord and repaint your purple kitchen to a neutral “landlord-approved” color if you wall to sell your home. This expert recommendation exposes the basic economic fact that color was never a landlord tyranny and always has been a customer tyranny.

Yes, the tyrant was YOU when you were the customer.

The homeseller is slave to the homebuyer.

The average American moves every 7 years (according to the real estate industry). The housing karma is that you were the tyrant when you were buying so you get to be on the receiving end when you try to sell.

Next: Payoff Mortgage v. Invest Stocks: Housing Myths Part 12

No comments: