Monday, June 14, 2004

The Cult of Home Ownership

I have succumed to peer pressure (and a good buying opportunity) and bought a house in Santa Clara. I'm supposed to sign the final escrow papers tomorrow. The whole thing is still a little bit scary -- I'm going from having no debt and a nice fat cash reserve to owning this chunk of land and wood that I can't unload easily and whose drop in value could suddenly wipe out all the money I put in to it and more if the pressures driving high housing prices in the area were to go away.

Obviously, I don't think those are going to happen, otherwise I wouldn't be buying the house, but it's still a little nerve-wracking to be tied down.

Another thing I've been noticing is that houses are supposed to be like hot rods -- they're no good unless you've somehow customized them. Everyone is asking me "what am I going to do to the place?" and I feel like saying, "well, nothing's broken..."

And in case you're wondering what I'm going to do the place, what I had in mind was: 1) move in, 2) install garage door opener, 3) install sprinklers in back lawn. Not terribly ambitious, I'll admit.

The most radical things I'm planning on doing with my new house is what I'm thinking about not doing, which is getting a phone line. Pretty much the only reason I have a phone line now is so that the DSL can come on top of it, and Covad sells DSL service for about the same price as I pay now. The biggest problem with this isn't that I need a phone (my friends can call me on my cell; if you don't have my cell #, I don't want to talk to you), but that when you order services, they will freak out if you don't have a phone number to fill in the phone number box.

It will be a great experiment.

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