The Value of a Home

I had an appraiser come by earlier this week to check out the house as part of refinancing our mortgage.  Sometime next week, I’ll find out what she thinks my house is worth.  My family and I live in the same house in which I grew up and, whatever number she comes up with, I know it will be wrong.  A home is so much more than the dollar value of an upgraded bathroom and a new stove.

A big part of the value of our home comes from the memories that we have in it.  The section of wall where I punched a hole the day before a previous appraiser was to come inspect the house.  The over-sized attic closet that was the “office” of my detective agency when I was a pre-teen.  The patch of ceiling beneath the crawlspace through which my brother’s pudgy legs suddenly appeared while my mother was hosting a tea party in the living room below.  These are the features that give a home its value.

Today, my kids are making their own memories in this house.  Stair surfing whenever we get a big package in the mail.  Falling out of loft beds.  Having a picnic on the rock bench in the front yard.  And, yes, putting holes in walls.  They are living and growing in this house and making memories that will form the basis of the “Rover stories,” as my eldest calls them, that they will tell their own children someday.  And, if we’re lucky, their kids will be making memories as well in this house even as they hear their parents’ and grandparents’ stories.

So it’s not the size of a house (our place is a modest two-bedroom house, less than 1700 square feet) that matters or even that its a house at all — I have fond memories of a high school friend’s apartment and the girls across the hall — it’s what happens in that house or apartment or yurt that makes it worth so much.  The life and the love of a family adds value for which there is no box on the standard appraisal form — but there should be.

P.S. Sadly, that’s not my house in the picture.

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