The Old ‘My Wife Made Me Buy It’ Excuse for the Mortgage Mess « The Washington Independent
When New York Times economic reporter Edmund Andrews penned his memoir of buying an overpriced house that led to his family facing foreclosure, he attempted to depict himself as an everyman caught up the financial crisis. If it happened to someone like him, it could happen to you.
This hasn’t worked out on many levels for Andrews, particularly since Atlantic blogger Megan McArdle turned up evidence of his second wife’s two bankruptcy filings — one while married to Andrews. Andrews wrote that one reason he bought a $460,000 home he really couldn’t afford, given his steep child support payments from his previous marriage, is that his new wife wanted the house. Now Clusterstock notes that Andrews’ tale has spawned a chorus of “But My Wife Made Me Buy This Crappy Overpriced House”‘ excuses on real estate blogs.
On StreetEasy, a New York region real estate blog, one soon-to-be homeowner already regretting his impending purchase wrote this:
I went into contract this week, and this is mostly a function of needing to find a place to live due to relocation. My corporate housing was running out. Wife pressure to close a deal probably also adds to the mix.
The wife made him to do it, too! Apparently, Andrews isn’t the first to make this argument. Clusterstock links to an infamous 2006 Century 21 television commercial titled “Suzanne Researched This” that espoused the same theory.
Basically, the commercial touts the fact that your Century 21 broker will team up with your browbeating wife and guilt you into buying the home you can’t afford. It must be watched. We still think it kind of might be a parody.
I can’t buy this theory in any form, because it’s nothing more than a sexist throwback. In the excerpt of his book, I thought Andrews dodged his responsibilities a bit by emphasizing his wife’s desire for the house; he’s the economic reporter — couldn’t he just have said the numbers don’t add up? Of course, as we pointed out earlier, families under financial stress sometimes stay together through a recession and fall apart when times get better. I’d imagine this is especially true for couples who are already blaming each other for home purchase decisions they made together.