Advice for people wanting to buy a house:

You know how a tale sometimes has someone living in a big manor seemingly alone with their butler? Like Batman with Alfred? Ask yourself: who dusts the miles of shelving? Who vacuums the long hallways? Who mows the grass? Who rakes the leaves? Do you ever see the butler doing that work? Do you ever see anyone doing it? The answer is usually no.

In times past such houses would have included live-in servants, such as my old house, whose entire third floor, back staircase and kitchen facilities had been the domain of two servants, long since gone. When my family lived there, upkeep was everyone's responsibility, and some tasks, like raking the leaves, cleaning the garage in the spring, putting new asphalt on the driveway, or shoveling the sidewalks, were all hands on deck, all five of us. Mowing the lawn both front and back took half an hour. Vaccuming the carpets, I don't want to know how long that took my mother. Emptying every single wastebasket from all three floors was a whole chore. Cleaning all four bathrooms, I barely ventured to help. Yeah, the place was a mansion after all. When I was a kid raking leaves I vowed to never own property if I had to put up with that much work.

These days, since rent is high and landlords are stupid, I wonder if it wouldn't make more sense to have a house after all. But something tiny and made out of bricks. I'd rather deal with tuck-pointing the mortar once every 50 years than painting the slats every other year.

Whenever you buy a house you have to look at the size and estimate the added cost of upkeep. You're either paying extra money to have someone come in and clean, or you're paying extra time to do the work yourself. That part is never included in the sticker price.

And, to be frank, NOBODY has the amount of time necessary to clean some of these giant-ass houses that people are building these days. Houses that are built on the scale of the mansions of old, except without anyone remembering that those mansions were built specifically to contain a large family, a full set of servants, and multiple groups of guests at one time. Do you know what a nuclear family does when they move into a place like that? They barely use a quarter of it. The rest lies quiet and empty, rarely visited.

If you can find a tiny house, get one. Trade up for a slightly larger house later. Don't go as big as my family did. We never even needed as much space as we had.

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