I love this new book, House Lust: America’s Obsession with Our Homes, by Daniel McGinn. And if you’re hooked on houses like I am, then I think you’ll love it, too.
Win a Free Copy of “House Lust”
I’ve decided to send a copy of the book to one lucky winner as a way of saying thanks to all of you who have been visiting my blog and helping it get off to such a great start. Anyone who posts a comment will be automatically entered to win (must have a US mailing address). My daughter Lily will choose the winner at random when the blog gets its 2,000th visitor. The more you visit “Hooked on Houses,” the faster the numbers will climb, and the sooner we’ll declare a winner!
NOTE: WE BYPASSED 2,000 ALREADY! But since we’ve still got so many visitors stopping by to register for the giveaway, I’ll leave it open for more entries until Sunday, Feb. 3, at midnight, and draw a winner on Monday.
Bonus Points: If your comment includes either 1) a reason why you’d like to have this book or 2) a reason why you like this blog, your name will be entered twice.
I was just contacted by Daniel McGinn, the author of House Lust, who read all of your enthusiastic comments about it on this blog and wants to donate an autographed copy to the giveaway. He has also agreed to let me interview him as soon as he has a chance to answer some of my questions. He is traveling and doing publicity for the book now, but check back for our Q&A. He has a lot of interesting things to say, so you won’t want to miss it.
What Is House Lust?
According to McGinn it is, among other things, “an irrational desire for cathedral ceilings, mud rooms, and natural stone countertops.” (Sounds perfectly rational to me.) To better understand the obsession with real estate, the author traveled the country in search of answers.
First stop: a D.C. suburb known for having some of the largest homes on the East Coast, where he asks, “Why does anyone need a house with 9,000 square feet?”
Next he visits Las Vegas, Nevada, where “Homes have been going up so quickly . . . that the landscape seems to change each month.” He visits model homes and talks to people who insist that “only new will do.” One salesperson tells him that many Americans “are absolutely horrified at the idea of bathing in a bathtub a stranger has used. No matter how well we scrub a preowned house, we know somebody else’s invisible grime still surrounds us. The only way to truly eliminate it is to build from scratch.” They want, as he puts it, “a virgin home.”
In Newton, Massachusetts, McGinn explores “Fix-Up Fever,” where the housing prices are so high and land so scarce that most people have no choice but to buy a smaller, older home and renovate it. Remodeling projects are stressing so many people out and so many couples are actually divorcing as a result that a new field has sprung up called “Renovation Psychology.”
At the National Association of Realtors convention in New Orleans, he investigates why so many people have turned to real estate as a career–and what will happen to that record number of agents now that the housing boom has turned to bust.
Finally, McGinn goes to Naples, Florida, where he discovers that more middle-class families are purchasing vacation homes than ever before (did you know that the average person who owns a vacation home earns $100,000?).
At the end of his travels, the author concludes that even though our homes are longer be making us as rich as they were when real estate was booming, “living through an era when we thought they might has resulted in a permanent shift in thinking–one that will leave many of us happily obsessed with houses for years to come.”
Take the test on author Daniel McGinn’s website to see if you have house lust (not surprisingly, my score was a bit high–let me know how you do). Has anyone else read this book yet? What did you think?