Q: My husband and I recently found a home that we love, but our extended family seems pretty luke warm about our decision. Family is very important to us, but should we reconsider our decision or move ahead?
A: Ah yes, the ever troubling “Group Think.” I want to give your question the thought and attention it deserves based on your concern, but are you sure this is really a dilemma? Who precisely is buying and living in this house? If the answer remains you and your husband, then buy the damn house. Now if this was a communal living arrangement they might all be entitled to their uncensored opinions, but aside from a few pockets in Utah, I haven’t heard of such a thing in a good long while. In all seriousness, I need you to allow this to be as simple as it is. If you and your husband love this home as you say you do, then that is really all that matters. You can politely nod as the rest of your clan plays the role of architect, interior designer and sage real estate investor, but what matters here is what YOU both want. This is your home, you will be living here, and perhaps raising a family here and if the space feels good and right and warm to you then look no further. Don’t ask, don’t poll, and above all, don’t question your own desires and instincts. Greg and I are expecting another baby this December and the question gets asked daily, “have you thought of any names yet?” Sure we’ve thought about it, but do you think that for five seconds I’m going to put our thoughts on something so personal out there for public comment? No way! Why would I subject myself to everybody’s horror story about someone they knew in grades school with that name, or what it reminds them of, or the fact that they were once arrested for being drunk and disorderly by a cop with that very name? Not a chance. Our child, our choice, and I can value other people without being required to need or want their opinion on all things.
For all of its revolutionary effect on our society, social media seems to have conditioned us all to seek and in more critical cases, need the approval of others on so many various and sundry aspects of life. We post the ins and outs of our lives and decisions up for all of our “friends” to comment on. Now while I can see the many benefits of connecting and engaging with people, when we decide to lobotomize the decision making part of our persona in favor or some sort of group consensus we have just jumped onto a hamster wheel that we will be running on and relying on indefinitely. I think that being a good decision maker is one of the hallmarks of being a grown up. It is a skill that evolves over time along with our wisdom, our maturity and sense of assuredness in who and what we are. In case you were wondering, I do realize the hole I am seemingly digging for myself. That if I am suggesting that your family’s opinions shouldn’t trump your own, why in the world should you be in the least bit attentive to my take on the matter? The reality is that much as we love and adore them, family is rarely an impartial sounding board. Often their best intentions can actually add complications and an unhealthy urge to please. As my husband is fond of saying, things have a way of looking much more clear and definitive from a 30,000 foot elevation versus the emotional muddle that we all seem to experience when we are right in the thick of things.
Having said that, if family members are the funding source for you and your husband to buy this home, that changes things a bit. It certainly entitles them to an opinion if nothing else. As well, if you do have family members that are pretty savvy when it comes to real estate or construction, and they are speaking up about the three inches of water in the crawl space, or the addition that was never permitted much less built to code, then this is an entirely different proposition and in such a case I would strongly encourage you to take notice of their thoughts and expertise. You might love the old world charm of the sloping foundation, but listen to your Uncle Sal when he tries to warn you off of your impulsive attachment to the white picket fenced wonder that just happens to sit on a four lane arterial.
Bottom line, if this is simply a matter of too many opinions, value your own and don’t apologize for them. If you have resources that are simply piping up in the hopes of saving you not just money, but your future sanity, then listen intently. In the end, have faith in the fact that your home is about the hearts that dwell there. I am certain that at the end of the day, regardless of your family’s opinions about the house, they will be showing up to see YOU. A house is about dollars a home is about heart, so follow yours and the rest will take care of itself…