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Owning A Home Is Not A Free Ride

Make the most of your home!

Dekalb County has the highest rate of foreclosures in the state, thus leading to our declining home values.  Why? 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, partially due to predatory lenders, but the buyers have to take responsibility as well, which leads me to my next, most concerning, issue.

News Flash: Owning your own home does not mean you can do whatever you want!

What it does mean, however, is that the money you’re paying every month will hopefully be an investment and if you decide to move, you will glean funds from your investment.  The important side of that coin, however, is how you maintain that investment.  If you never lift a finger to maintain or even upgrade your investment, what makes you think it will be worth anything if and when you do decide to sell it?

The reason government has code ordinances is to maintain quality of life and property values. I have heard so many people say “This is my home, I can do whatever I want."  Nothing is further from the truth than this statement. Two houses side by side. One has overgrown grass and weeds, peeling paint, debris in the yard, clutter and a broken down junked car in the driveway. The other one is in perfect repair, “yard-of-the-month” lawn, clean and appealing. Your first thought might be “I’d rather have the clean home” but what you should be thinking is “that home in poor repair looks so bad, it’s bringing down my property value”.

In the face of our declining economy, and some folks' misdirected priorities, homes are being abandoned and neglected. The rest of us are paying the price.  My advice to you: Make the most of what you have. You must have a home/shelter, why not the one you’re in?  Why not make it just what you want it to be?  Why not continue to invest in a home that right now isn’t worth what you have in it?  It doesn’t seem to be able to get worse, but if you take the initiative, and continue to improve what’s yours, it can only increase in value and appeal. And we ALL have to take this attitude and act on it! Imagine your home in Buckhead, you know the value would be better, why? Because the majority there takes pride in their homes and will not tolerate the decline!  Yes, it’s depressing knowing we paid $150,000 for a home that’s now only worth $60,000, so why not do everything in your power to help increase its value? Why not make your little piece of heaven your haven? 

It does take effort, and interest, and work, but isn’t your home worth it? Make the most of what you do have! Personally, I wish I could find a home like mine in any other place for the price

I paid…I consider myself lucky, and for that very reason, I will continue to do everything in my power to maintain the home, keep everything in good repair, and make it appealing.  I know I would take a huge loss if I sold, and the increased cost and headache of moving just isn’t worth it to me because I already have a beautiful place I feel lucky to call home. Now, because I’m “upside down” in my home, I think only of things I can do that will make this home what I want it to be, no matter what it is.  It can only increase the value.

So, when you’re thinking that your house has declined in value, rather than take flight, stay and fight!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brian Crowe May 19, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I agree with your thesis in general, but I think there is an often overlooked factor that leads to declining values and poor upkeep. Many people who bought houses with yards are really are not suited for this type of property ownership and would have been better off in an apartment, condo, or town home. Unfortunately, there are both social and financial biases against multifamily dwellings, so some people ended up with more space than they needed and could adequately maintain. When money gets tight, one of the first things cut is lawn maintenance. If the homeowner does not have the time, inclination, or ability to perform the work, it doesn't take long to see the result. The same goes for less regular exterior maintenance. Another problem with buying a house instead of a condo is the (usually) higher cost of utilities. This leaves less money for things like plantings, lawn care, etc. As interest in the big house/big yard mode of living declines, maybe there will be fewer people buying more property than they are willing or able to properly maintain.

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