Andrea Schmutz, M.S.
USU Extension Assistant Professor
One year, my sister’s family embarked on a crusade to celebrate as many national holidays as possible. They celebrated everything from National Cheeseball Day to National Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend Day. It wasn’t always easy, but they found something to celebrate almost every day for a year. Now, whenever I hear about a national day or month celebration, my thoughts immediately turn to my sister and the fun her family had that year.
June happens to be National Homeownership Month so I tried to emulate my sister and figure out a way to celebrate such a noteworthy event. I thought back to the purchase of our first home and I can remember the anticipation after submitting an offer, the excitement of turning the key and walking in the door once the deal was closed, and the thrill of staring at the kitchen walls knowing I could leave the “so-ugly-it-was-cool” fruit-themed wallpaper or I could start peeling it off without asking anyone else for permission. I also remember little surprises as I discovered the joys of home ownership such as needing to buy a lawnmower when I realized that no one else was going to come mow the grass. As I reminisced, I recognized a pattern in my thoughts: home ownership offered many solutions to some of the challenges we had been facing as renters, while at the same time, owning a home brought with it some unexpected trouble and complications. To borrow from the Greeks, homeownership was both a panacea and a Pandora’s box.
According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, panacea means “a remedy for all ills and difficulties.” Pandora’s box, on the other hand, originates from a Greek myth and refers to something that could cause problems if handled incorrectly. The two meanings fall on opposite ends of the spectrum - one is a remedy while the other is the cause of trouble. So, how exactly does homeownership fit into both of these categories? Let’s take a look at a short list:
Determining whether home ownership classifies as a panacea or a Pandora’s box is a glorified way of weighing the pros and cons of buying a home. You can keep the needle pointing to “panacea” and enjoy the many benefits of homeownership if you do your homework and make informed decisions when looking to purchase a home. Familiarize yourself with the common expenses incurred with homeownership, ask questions, make a plan to incorporate maintenance funding in your budget, and look at homeownership as a great adventure.
Parting thought: “The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” — Maya Angelou
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