According to a recent survey done by Mphasis, 66% of people under the age of forty-six check out how much their friends’ houses are worth by looking on home valuation websites. Hey, it’s public record and readily available, so what’s the big deal, right?
Well, the survey also revealed that 79% of those who do end up feeling stressed, concerned or upset. So why do people do it if it makes them feel bad? The main reasons those surveyed gave for peeping on their pals property values were:
- 59% said they use it as a benchmark for their own earnings and net worth.
- 42% just wanted to get a feel for how much their friends earn.
So if you find yourself dashing to the computer the next time a friend buys a house, or to check out where someone lives the next time you meet someone new in town, know that you’re not alone!
Comparing yourself to others is natural. People have probably always been this way. It’s a timeless tradition to measure ourselves by what we have compared to others. While we may not be able to easily see how much our friends or neighbors have in their bank accounts, the size, location, and condition of their house is a pretty good way to size up a person’s wealth.
It’s Become a Little Too Easy to Compare
Not too many years ago, it would’ve been difficult for most people to even find out how much their friends’ houses were worth. While they’ve always been public record, you had to put in effort to get your hands on the data. You either had to go dig through your local government office that kept the property documents, or ask an agent to get you the data.
But along came the Internet to make it easy for you to put in an address, and find out not only how much a friend’s house is worth, but also see pics of the interior if it sold in the recent past.
Keep in mind that the estimated home values these sites come up with are notoriously inaccurate, so don’t put too much stock in what they say. If you find yourself doing this, know that your friends’ houses may not actually be worth what the computer is saying. (And that goes for your own house as well of course…)
That said, most of the sites will show you how much they paid for it, which is probably what you actually care to know, as opposed to an algorithmic guess at what their house is worth on any given day.
Focus on What You Have… and Can Afford
Money and belongings are often a measuring stick of success, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with striving for things you want in life. But homeownership alone is a relatively new thing for the majority of people to be able to achieve. Years ago, only the very wealthy were able to own land and homes. But now, while it isn’t easy or possible to achieve for everybody, it’s achievable for many people. In fact, 74% of respondents to that survey indicated they currently own a home.
What you can’t see about your friends when peeking at the value of their homes is how happy or financially sound they are. As the saying goes, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. For instance, the survey also revealed that 28% of the respondents use a home equity line of credit to pay day-to-day expenses, such as food and utilities. In other words, they need to borrow against their house to buy food and pay for the electricity they need to keep the lights on in the house.
Not that you should hope they’re unhappy or have financial hardships, but for your own peace of mind, know that just because someone paid more for a house than you did, or it’s nicer in some way, doesn’t mean they’re doing better than you in life. For all you know, they could be struggling to pay their mortgage and bills and wish they didn’t have such a big house or expenses — especially when you consider that the survey also revealed that over half of the people surveyed said their own home-buying decisions are affected by looking at how much their friends’ homes are worth. It’s the old “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality, fueled by a new and easy way to find out exactly what the Joneses have.
You can’t control how much other people have in life, but you can control how you feel about what you have. Striving for a bigger or nicer home than you have is fine, but it’s also important to be content with what you have at any given moment. It’s not a race or a contest. Buy or rent what you can comfortably afford, and let everyone else get stressed out over what their friends have!
Sixty-six percent of people under the age of 46 are routinely looking online to see how much their friends’ houses are worth. This makes them stressed, concerned, and upset. While it’s natural to compare yourself to others, and even envy what they have, you’re better off not looking at the home valuation sites to find out how much your pals have paid for their house. Buy or rent the nicest place you can comfortably afford at the moment and enjoy it… because there’s certainly someone out there who wishes they could afford to have what you have!