Home Is Where The Heart Is, And Also The Collateral
Ester Bloom

For me, the rent/buy dilemma doesn’t have much to do with money, but with how often I relocate: I’m never in a place for enough years to make buying and reselling worth the fees and stress involved. At the same time, I’m extremely romantic about buildings, in an almost Jainist way. I think of them as beautiful long-lived organisms I want to help and/or train. (In Casino Royale, I don’t mind it when James Bond is tortured or kills someone, but when a house in Venice crumbles because they don’t take proper care on the scaffolding, I’m appalled.)

So far I’ve mostly squared this circle by renting dilapidated buildings from older couples, with a kind of handshake agreement that I won’t lawyer up on their code violations as long as they’ll act properly delighted when I upgrade their hardware, rip out rotten cabinets, patch the plaster, tinker with flukey plumbing, etc. My compulsion to do this is kind of similar to the hobby-hustle dynamic detailed in another piece today. It’s not exactly sweat equity since I’m not making any money out of it; it’s how I relax. The one time I was persuaded to live in a newer place, where everything already worked but I had to leave it in its initial condition, I was miserable. Life without home makeovers is not a life for me.

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