What’s a Home Worth? A View From the Other Side of the Table

DSNews  By: John B. Montalbano   June 19, 2015

As a mobile notary, like McDonald’s, I have served millions and millions. I have met homeowners grateful they will lower their mortgage payments by hundreds of dollars or get rid of high interest credit, or finally in retirement able to afford that dream vacation. Most exhilarated and exhausted from the weeks of giving over their life’s work to ask, “Am I worthy?” In the end, that is where I make my appearance. I see their joy of home ownership just a little more, and enjoying what they own. We talk about the savings for college while the collegiate is crawling on the floor next to the dining room table. My office is the borrower’s home. Without homes, there are no loans and without a savings there is no future.

Loans are not for the banks or investors or GDP; loans are for the good and well-being of the homeowner. A home’s worth is not a value an appraiser gives a lender; it is so much more. Memories are made burnished in photo albums and three times painted walls adorned for a lifetime. Families are born in the third bedroom down the hall. Kids’ achievements are measured on door jam. Fifth grade bad report cards shoved behind the bed making friends with the dust bunnies only discovered upon eviction of said hares.

So, with that said, what is a home worth? Comparing generations is out. Millennials vs. Gen X vs. Baby Boomers is not possible. The value of a home is not at all based and compared with the same gravitas and numbers.   A $5 value buck box at Taco Bell today is not the same as a $5 value buck box at Taco Bell 50 years ago. That encompasses all three generations. And that also goes for homes, cars, durable goods, and disposables as well. Traditional credit score methods cannot be used to compare the risk and benefits of the past 75 years of formal lending practices. Politics have tried to direct policies and procedures from the Making Home Affordable program to the Dodd-Frank Act.

State policies offering redemption periods don’t understand time is the cause for foreclosure. That same time offered to redeem is the reason s house falls into ghoulish disrepair and distress and becomes a shell of the home it used to be. So, is the house the home it used to be? Or is it the credit card that doesn’t fit in your wallet? Purchasing power has become the turn of phrase. “Too Big To Fail” is an overpriced entertaining movie. And every Christmas a new iPhone downloads our ever shrinking dollar.

The value of a home is the blood and sweat and tears born every day of love and effort families put into maintaining their American Dream.

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