How Much Do You Love Your Home? Enough to Turn Down a Million Dollars?
Do you love your home as much as Edith Macefield, the 84-year-old Seattle woman whose story is remarkably similar to the plotline in the movie “Up”? She turned down a $1 million offer in 2006, then forced developers to build their five-story shopping mall around her little cottage.
Do you love your home as much as my friend Anne Robinson who turned down $5 million for her home and 18-acre lot abutting a 1,000-acre wildlife conservation area in suburban Baltimore?
Robinson chased more than one would-be buyer off her property. Once she literally swept a determined developer out of her house using her broom. Just as determined, she held on to her home until her death, eventually leaving it to the county so it could build a nature center there.
I wish I shared in this sentimentality. I can’t because I’m the mother of a high school junior who keeps finding things to like about very expensive private colleges. If you know a developer who’d pay $1 million for my 3-acre lot and 1970s ranch home, give him my number. I could have my family packed up and out of here by this weekend.
It’s not that I don’t love my home. I do. In fact, I love it more than pretty much anyone I know. But what I really love is homeownership itself and all its possibilities. Being a homeowner has surrounded us with neighbors who became true friends and brought my family financial stability.
My husband and I were serial home renovators for years. We’d buy a fixer-upper and live in it for two or three years, remodeling on the weekends. When the home was updated, we’d rent it out and move on to the next project.
We finally stopped because moving homes, and therefore schools, made our daughter unhappy. Now that she’s a high school junior, Hubby and I are discussing where we’ll move when she leaves for college.
She, meanwhile, is going all Anne Robinson on us. She tells us we can’t move because she needs to be able to come home to this house for at least five more years. My argument that home is any place the people you love are living doesn’t fly with her.
I think most people tilt toward Anne on the home-love scale. Selling the home would mean walking away from a place with treasured memories of raising their children, or even of their own childhood.
I actually still own my childhood home, a townhouse, which I inherited. Now, I rent it out. It’s just a few minutes from where we live. Hubby and I might just end up moving there after Emily leaves for school. After all, we loved that house and those neighbors, too.
What about you? How much do you love your home?
By: Dona DeZube
Published: May 13, 2014
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