Fourteen years ago I was living in Pasadena, CA. I had just gotten married a few years before, and like any young couple we had the dream of buying a home. I had just started working as a social worker and he was starting his own career. We were living the American dream, except for the fact that we did not own a home.
One day, while visiting my parents in Fresno, we drove by some homes in the Fresno High region. Out of pure curiosity we called the number on the sign to see how much they sold for, and after being used to the Los Angeles market, it seemed like a steal. Fresno was going to offer that opportunity that we could never have attained in Southern California and we felt that there was no better option for our new family. We loved the area and the home filled with character, charm and a bit of quirkiness. So before you knew it we were packing up our goods and moving into our little part of the world, our tiny little house on the corner. The dream was complete.
Fourteen years later life had changed for so many reasons and I found myself in the home with my son on our own. I had held on to the house for him. It was to be the constant in our lives. So I loved my house, took care of it the best I could. Tried to keep up with all the monetary requirements and did my best to decorate it to feel safe and warm, and it was.
Then one Sunday I was outside as I always was working on the yard, my son came out and asked if we could go to the movies. Without looking up I responded, “I can’t. I have so much to do around the house. You know weekends are the only time I can do it.” He looked at me and then quietly started helping me plant flowers. That is when I realized, that the weekends were the only time I had to enjoy him and my life outside of work. That started me on the voyage of selling my home.
Like any intelligent person it all started with a Google search. Right? I researched buying vs. selling articles until I basically could write one myself out of sheer memory. All of them of course stated that owning a home was the best monetary investment. I looked into renting it, but I owed too much to get what I needed out of a rental. I was looking into all my best financial options I had. At the end of it all it just took my son to tell me, “ Mom, we don’t need this house. It’s ok. Sell it.” And just like that I was dialing my phone trying to get recommendations for a realtor.
The process has been long, and I can’t say easy or simple. The sign going up, felt like a knife in my heart. Each signing of a paper felt as if I was erasing all the memories in my head that would play back like movies. The moving, sorting and packing has been overwhelming.
Yet the most surprising thing about this experience has been how freeing it has been. There have been carloads of stuff to different charities, giving away things to family and friends, and realizing what was a want vs. a need in my life. Why did I have three crock-pots? Seriously.
So I moved this week into my very cute and smaller condo. I am renting for now, and I am sure that I will buy a smaller, newer home with no yard within the next couple years. We will stay in Fresno, because still after all these years the housing market is still one of the most affordable in the state. Plus this is home for us.
The family that is buying my home will now make it theirs and make new memories in this house. They will love this house, decorate it to make it safe and warm, and no doubt it will be. This size home will be perfect for their family and they will use every portion of the home.
I know that people will ague that owning a home is a great investment, and that I have made the wrong choice. I totally agree, that having a home is a great investment. Yet, as I sit here in my new little place writing this article and watching a super hero movie with my son, I realize the amazing lessons I learned through all this. First, that all I need in life is sitting right here next to me on this couch and that nothing I could ever do will give me my time back with him. Second, that I really didn’t need all the material things I had in that home. Most importantly, that I can make new memories somewhere else. A home does not define a family, those that live in it define the home. So I sold my house to downsize on the material and upsize on all the other things in life. For us that is our new American dream.