What a bargain!

September 14, 2012

I was scrolling through houses on the internet recently, as I am wont to do, and found an astounding price on a home a few miles north of us.  “Astounding” as in $100K cheaper than the other homes for sale in the neighborhood.  I assume it was a foreclosure, and as I scrolled through the photos, I was amazed at how genuinely beautiful the house still was–even with carpeting pulled up, and flooring missing in some rooms, you could see it was going to be a gorgeous home for someone; probably very soon.  Someone, somewhere, is about to get an amazing bargain.

I do wonder about the consequences of that choice, though.  If it’s a family who will slide right into the neighborhood effortlessly, or if it’s a family trying to reach up, just a bit, and finally score a house “in that neighborhood;” a house that would normally be out of reach but which suddenly is surprisingly achievable.  That house purchase could start the dominoes falling…

Now that they have a bigger house, in a nicer neighborhood, they have to furnish it, and fill those extra rooms they didn’t have before.  Then they’re sending their kids to school with other kids who are better off than they are, who have x and y and z, and suddenly they feel the need to get the same for their children.  Every day they’re surrounded by people who have “stuff” they don’t have, “stuff” they aren’t able to afford….but somehow that doesn’t stop them from buying it.

Maybe not.  Maybe the house will be filled with the “just-right” family; a perfect fit.  Or maybe it will be filled with a family who truly doesn’t care to keep up with the Joneses.  I just hope whoever moves in thinks through their decision.  It could be a really expensive bargain.

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2 Responses to “What a bargain!”


  1. I just found your blog through the Year of Less blog, and I really like these thoughts. I purchased a tiny little studio in a nice neighborhood a couple years ago, and while I’ve been grateful for the purchase, I also have to work at the issue of “keeping up with the Joneses.” At least in this case I’ve found that it’s great to live in a neighborhood with a lot of amazing resources (such as a mom’s neighborhood listserve where they are always giving away tons of amazing things so that I hardly had to buy anything to clothe my daughter), as long as you know when to say “no” and when to not (or never) pull out your wallet. It’s a challenging balance, and I love that you noticed this!

    • jenfletcher Says:

      Thanks for checking in! I think you describe it perfectly with your word “balance”…knowing when to say “no” and when it might be okay to say “yes.” (Especially with a listserve like that…what a blessing!) And I think why we might say “yes” is important to think about, too.

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