One common theme in residential real estate is that people don’t buy “houses” they buy homes. We use the term home-buying (or selling) to help remind us of the context: these buildings are important to our clients. A real estate agent needs to be sensitive to the unique impact a home can have.
Because a home is…
It’s true that a house, on its own, is one of if not THE biggest single purchase most people will ever make and most valuable item that they’ll ever own. As such, it is a integral part of their financial stability. Equity becomes the perception of “return on investment” – a concrete value from the property that can be borrowed against and a “piggy bank” that will be cracked open whenever they sell. When home values increase, homeowners feel more financially secure, and when values decrease, as we’ve seen all to well, a homeowner can be bankrupted. That’s why so much can ride on the sale of a home. For the seller, they are cashing in a huge investment, while the buyer is just beginning one. These acts both come with a good measure of risk, rolling fear to excitement to disappointment to triumph up into a nervous ball.
A person’s home is a physical embodiment of their personal space. It is the walls, roof, and doors that protect them from the world outside; not just the outdoor elements, but the people and personas that inhabit public space. A home is the ultimate sense of privacy and control over the owner’s environment. Security is also comfort, familiarity, ad the feeling of belonging that come with claiming a territory, making it your own, and putting down roots. Home is the quintessential “port in the storm” where we all go to feel safe. This makes owing a home such a powerful act; buying is like securing the (personal) premises, while selling is in many ways surrendering the castle to invaders.
Home is closely bound with a person’s identity. From the way it is styled to the way it is used, a home reflects its owner’s personality, lifestyle and values. After all, people naturally surround themselves with the things that make them comfortable and shape their surroundings to suit their needs. The pictures on the wall, the tools and gadgets, the accessories of work and play… all the things that fill up our lives can be found filling our homes. Homes are shaped to suit lifestyle choices, from cook-friendly kitchens to high-tech workspaces, craft areas to kid-spaces, manicured lawns to vegetable gardens.
Neighborhoods also become a reflection of identity. People are naturally attracted to others like them: neighborhoods quickly form around similarities, not just in economic status, but culture, age, values, and personalities of the residents. People look for homes and neighborhoods that make them feel “at home” – places where they fit in and can pursue their interests.
Understanding the context surrounding a home is crucial for real estate professionals to navigate the complex issues behind buying and selling a HOME.
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About Tom Davidson — Tom Davidson is Vice President of Express Schools, LLC. which operates online education providers Real Estate Express, Insurance License Express and License Tutor. Follow him on Twitter.