A House or a Mansion?

Definitely a mansion. And it was already sold!
Definitely a mansion. And it was already sold!

My husband and I enjoy strolling through houses that are under construction and imagining what the floor plan might yield. Even before we owned a home, we went to the neighborhood home shows sponsored by the utility companies in our area.

Summer spawns these shows like tadpoles in a mud hole. Recently, we enjoyed a trip through a mere five houses in Clark County, Washington.

With price tags between $500,000 and $949,000, I might be able to argue that these weren’t mere “houses” but drew nigh to mansion-esque status. Of course, with the Street of Dreams coming up in August, an argument could be made that those homes, which make a million dollars seem reasonable, are the actual mansions.

I have to say that they’re excessive. How many rooms can I occupy at one moment in time? Let me think for a minute: one. How much space will I take up in that room?  Less than a six by two foot rectangle if I’m laying out flat.

If I had a family of four which is statistically the average in America, how many square feet do I need in my home? The smallest house we looked at had 3,400 square feet and the price tag was $650,000.

I remember when that price tag was on the 6,000 square foot mansions Jeff and I toured in a secured community on a private golf course. Do people really require bigger homes to be comfortable? I know most people can’t afford this sort of home because of all the repossessions and the fact that homes stay on the market for months.

Still, we think we need bigger. We convince ourselves bigger means better. It is there, so we want it. Everyone else has a new house, so we should have one too. The banker says we can afford the mortgage payment, so that means we should buy it.

As Jurassic Park proved, just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

This is the one he wants.
This is the one he wants.

When my husband says, “If we could afford that house, wouldn’t you want it?” I have plenty of answers:

“Do I have to clean it? Then no” or “How many people are going to live there? Two? We don’t need all that space!” or “What will it cost to heat that thing?” or “I guess, if it means I get new furniture.”

Generally, the practical side of me says: we just need a house. Something smaller than the 2200 square feet we have now is perfectly fine with me. After all, our first house was only 1200 square feet and we raised our boys there until they were four and six.

Do I have that side that says: that fancy house sure makes a statement? Of course. That’s the side I want to gag and forced to clean three toilets every day for a month. If we take a hard look at the federal deficit, we can see where our gluttony for bigger, better, faster, shinier – in other words MORE EXPENSIVE – has gotten us.

As pretty as those houses mansions were, I’m content to live within my means. I might want to fly to Europe or spend a month in Hawaii in January or do something besides clean toilets and mop floors day after day sit at home in my fancy house.

What do you think motivates people to buy a mansion when all they need is a house? What are you tempted to spend more money on than necessary?

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.