Essay on real estate value’s vaporizing penache.

The ghost story — as told to children the world over, has its uses. Makes children appreciate the comfort and security of home and family. It is ultimately a normalizer for the status quo. Fundamentally conservative and sounding soooo common-sense, it teaches us what is scary and to be avoided at all costs. Which way is north, and which way’s south. It really has nothing at all to do with whether or not ghosts actually exist. It’s awful but it works.

The concept of “value” in the American real-estate world is similar. It too normalizes attitudes and quells genuine critical thinking for child-like consumers in a scary world where the truisms of  “family” and “home” and “security” that dwell deep within the dogma of ever-rising “value” in the housing market has flown away. But the grasp of the real estate myth hangs on as a power center, it is part of the gospel and is still a credible “channel” of wisdom among the masses. Here’s an example of this “normalizing” propensity at work, meaning now to calm frantic sellers of homes. Again, sage advice from an expert. I was tasked with entering this on an advice web site today. It’s my job.

Sprucing up your house can help it sell, but don’t go overboard. Most major home improvements — including kitchen and bath remodels — don’t pay for themselves. These days, for every dollar you spend remodeling, your average return is just 64 percent.”

I see, in this, that the bedrock credo around [the] American Dream home’s “improvements” of grotesque granite kitchen counters and obscenely giant bathrooms, once taken as given determinants of “value” are no more. What was once absolutely certain to raise home resale “value” is now “overboard’. What got you $1.50 of value for every $1 spent now gains you 64¢. Amen. And poof. It doesn’t matter if that comes off your net worth, your credit rating or your divorce settlement; it’s gone. And there’s is a huge pile of it missing from the land. It’s almost funny. That’s the desperate real-estate expert’s tale tonight kids. Now that’s scary.

Data shows Americans choosing small homes over the previous McDwellings. It’s outed as an economic measure to cope with the economic situation. Now THAT’S spin! The wide open spaces are closing up in the American Dream’s mind’s eye. As more and more mature in a crowded, urban, congested environment, space is not missed so much.

Russell Imrie is a sometimes content producer, webmaster and American Indian self-styled social critic now living in the Washington DC area. He owned then sold off his  interest in a home in California’s hot real estate market. A more recent article notes reports in the Washington Post of an emerging? culture of stringent? financial oversight.

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