An agent of mine shared a Wall Street Journal article with me a few weeks back that explored the increasing phenomenon of homeowners who believe they are buying or living in a home that will be their “forever home” only to find out that the story isn’t over yet and, yes, they will be moving once again. The reasons were different in each case; socially they no longer fit in with the neighborhood, medical needs changed their living situation, financially they were not where they thought they were, etc.
It resonated with me on a more visceral level than my agent intended. I thought about the upcoming weekly Torah reading, specifically what was going through Yaakov’s mind when he found out that Yosef his son was “gone.” Rashi delves into the mind of Yaakov and suggests that after all the travails he had been through with his father-in-law Lavan and his brother Esau, Yaakov was simply searching for some peace and tranquility; understood in our modern-day language, he was looking to retire to his “forever home” and finally enjoy the fruits of his labor. But sure enough, the story of Joseph befalls him, ending any chance of enjoying the “peaceful” retirement he so longed for.
As a real estate agent I have always viewed my job as trying to lay out the home-buying process with as much clarity as possible, always with an eye toward the bigger picture. I believe it helps my buyers internalize what is truly important to them versus what is just a “nice thing to have.” One of the most pressing issues that potential homebuyers face is, essentially, the question of “how long do we see ourselves living in this house?” If purchasers plan on living in their new home for five to 10 years, that really changes the perspective as compared to buyers who believe they are purchasing a home for 20-30 years and/or through their final days—whenever that day may come.
And while we all have these speculative conversations as part of the natural course of our lives, it’s not really a news story to find out that for most of us, the concern and effort spent on planning our futures may well have been energy put to better use! Many of us know the old saying that “man plans and God laughs,” yet plan we must. Yes, buy home insurance, buy life insurance...and then sit back, put a log in the fireplace (you didn’t buy a house with a fireplace??) and then...remember that Yosef reappears!
Nechama Polak is the Broker of Record and owner of V and N Group LLC, located at 1401 Palisade Ave in Teaneck. [email protected] 201 826 8809.