A million dollar home ain’t what it used to be

IMG_3368Last week, I was enjoying another beautiful day in Southern California by taking a quick walk during my lunch hour. Just near my work in Santa Monica is an older neighborhood of small bungalows encapsulated on all sides by businesses, busy streets, and a huge freeway ramp. Most of the houses on the tree-lined streets are modest and well-maintained, but some are in need of serious love. My point is, this is not what most would consider an expensive neighborhood.

A realty sign in a tidy yard caught my eye, so I stopped to check out the listing details on Redfin. “Who knows?”, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a three minute walking commute to work each day?” Oh, how foolish this girl can be.

I quickly found the listing and some factoids:

  • Just under 1,000 square feet
  • 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
  • Kitchen is clean, but appears to be original with yellow tile counter and cheap appliances.
  • Bathroom is also clean with original pink tile counters, floor, and shower.
  • Hardwood floor in living room, carpet in bedrooms.
  • Detached garage

Doesn’t look too bad, right? That’s just what I thought until I saw the list price:

$1,050,000

“SAY WHAT!?!”, I said out loud to nobody. “That small, average, completely non-upgraded house is more than a million dollars!?” I can only guess that the high price is largely due to it being in the City of Santa Monica (although it’s on the east edge of the city limits, as far from the beach as you can get and still call it SM). The home’s close proximity to the new Metro line opening in the coming months has likely boosted the value, as well.

Regardless, I thought about how stuff like this makes me sad to live in LA and doubt that I will ever be able to afford a house in a decent neighborhood. Sigh.

“But wait!”, I thought. “That’s just the asking price! Maybe buyers will laugh it off and it will end up selling for less!” Well, my hope was dashed yesterday when I checked the listing again and the home was gone from my “for sale” search filter and into the “sold” one. Final price was $1,060,000.

Good thing I love my condo so much.

If I force a little optimism out of my frowny-face and find the lesson learned in this small experience, I would say:

It’s great I’m so committed to this journey to financial freedom! Even if I could afford to buy such an expensive home, I know that a fancy address, car, or other possessions don’t define who I am and they certainly don’t relay my value to others. Choosing to live within my means is a totally rad way to be!

Yay me.

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