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What Your Home Says About You

By Cindy Williams October 25, 2022 Lifestyle

Over the years, I have had a unique opportunity to visit many homes as a real estate appraiser and broker. Looking back, surprisingly, the most memorable homes that I visited were not the most expensive, largest or grandiose!

They were the homes I visited where it was obvious that people took pride in where they lived, regardless of the size, quality or price of their home. It was simply pride of ownership that made their homes shine.

The Feel of a Home

Typically, the homes that I visited which were super expensive, larger than large and lavishly furnished looked absolutely gorgeous and shined in the luxury home magazines but did not portray the feel of a “home.”

My favorite “homes” were those with numerous pictures displayed on the walls of family, friends or adventures! These “homes” also had furniture from many different eras that may have represented gifts from family or friends in the past, finds from different areas visited or pieces of furniture that the home occupants just could not part with.

The furnishings may not have been perfectly matched, or trending, but they reflected the occupants’ taste and personality and obviously made the occupants happy.

A Home Says a Lot About the Owner

A duplex home I visited one day helped me to clearly see how a home can and does reflect the owners and create a feeling to guests. A duplex home is a home consisting of two dwelling units connected together with a shared wall. Most often, duplex homes are rentals used for income to the owner; however, in this case, the owner of the duplex home chose to live in the entire home, occupying both units.

Something Missing

I had been given access to both sides of the duplex in order to do a home appraisal. As I entered side A of the duplex home, I saw a sparkling marble tile entry floor, pristine faux painted walls accented with bold moldings, exquisite furniture, artwork and fine pieces adorning every room and almost zero clutter.

The kitchen was open with shiny, spotless quartz countertops, top of the line appliances and an eating area fit for a king. The two bedrooms were similar quality of the living and kitchen area with fine mahogany flooring, grand wood trim and fine furnishings.

It was definitely magazine worthy and looked like a home for royalty. I was impressed with the quality, the furnishings and the detail that was reflected from floor to ceiling! Did I feel “at home” in side A? Would I want to reside there? The answer to both questions was a resounding “No.”

The Real Home

Now, let me tell you what I saw in side B of the duplex home! As I entered the home, I saw an entry foyer with a slightly dated wood parquet flooring covered by nice throw rugs. Many varieties of home furnishings consisting of old, new and homemade pieces in the living areas.

There were a pet bed and food dish, magazines scattered about, collections of figurines, family photos, and a bit of clutter. The kitchen of side B was the same size of side A, yet the countertops were filled with typical kitchen power tools such as blender, toaster, waffle maker and more.

A few potholders, hand-towels and trivets were lying about. The appliances were typical and nothing out of the ordinary. The two bedrooms were carpeted and contained older bedroom furniture sets covered with family quilts. Loads of family photos and family adventure photos were on display as well.

Did I feel “at home” in side B? Would I want to reside there? My answer to both questions was “Yes.” I felt at home and comfortable. I later learned that the owner of the home actually lived in side B and only used side A to entertain guests occasionally.

What This Means

I was impressed with side A, yet wanted and preferred to live in side B. What does that really say about a home being a “home”? When you are looking to purchase a home, do you want a home you are super impressed with or a home that you feel at home in?

All too often, I think we, as home buyers, may purchase homes based on our first impressions and find out later that the home may not be the home that is most livable and suitable for our needs. And if you’re looking to sell your home, keep this truth in mind as well.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What type of home would you really prefer to live in: a home that impresses or a home that really feels “lived in or livable”? Can your home be a bit of both? Should your home reflect how you live or how you want to portray your home to others?

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Spot on!

Cindy Williams

Thank you, Barbara!

Patricia Constance Bird

My home is very different from my sisters. Her’s is spotless, fine furnishings with a bohemian look. Mine is awash in items of meaning. A wall of family photos, pictures of my foster dogs, a framed jigsaw puzzle, paintings from an artist where I used to work, framed aboriginal art, a model of an airplane that my uncle flew in ww2 and more. I am relaxed and comfortable in this environment.

Cindy Williams

Patricia…..Your home sounds so lovely and inviting. Just imagining your home based on your description makes me feel relaxed and comfortable! Thank you for sharing!


At my age I don’t feel the want or need to impress. I do want people to enter my home and feel comfortable and enjoy being in all rooms. Where I live I want it to reflect myself that when you enter you can figure out what I’m about. I have changed over the year and today my home is minimalist for a reason. My walls are neutral and bright so I can see, limited decorations so I don’t waste time dusting and furniture easy to get up out of. Important pieces in my home that are visible are a sewing machine, easel, tool box and plants. Most important a kitchen filled with exposed cooking and baking appliances and treats on the table ready for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Come join me….

Cindy Williams

Nina….I totally agree. My older brother often told me that the older he got in life, the less he found the need to impress. He, like you, surrounded himself with items that were necessary and useful in order for him to enjoy life. Your home sounds absolutely wonderful and I’ve got a feeling everyone who visits you will want to stay and enjoy a cup of coffee or a glass of wine!

Margaret Main

My ideal home would be an older cottage with worn flagstone floor, wooden latch handle doors and a selection of old furniture with kilim style throws and rugs. A wall of old family photos and a lovely ticking clock. Not everyone’s cup of tea but it would bring me such peace and tranquility.

Cindy Williams

Margaret…..I think reading about your ideal home will give most of our readers a sense of peace and tranquility, too! I know that the older I get the more peace and tranquility I need in my life! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Catherine Klas

Everyone has their own idea of what a home should feel and look like. Sometimes when a home reflects the sellers personality and tastes to the extent you write about, a prospective buyer can’t see past the current owners “things”. A buyer needs to be able to visualize their personality, lifestyle and “things” in the house. If they are able to visualize, then it won’t matter. But I’ve found that few people are able to see past the current owners stuff and visualize it as their home.
Sometimes, less of the sellers personality is better when it comes to helping the buyer see themselves in the new home.


Typically when a house is put on the market for sale those “things” are removed and often even colors are changed to appeal to sellers. But for a home, it should reflect who lives there. Represent them. And invite one in.

Cindy Williams

Lori…..Often folks have asked me if they should change paint colors, replace older appliances, etc. before selling their home. They may be tired of their decor and think shiny new trendy things will be appealing. Like you, I think changing colors and replacing things is most often unnecessary. Most buyers will have a list of items they will want to change just to make the home truly theirs. I have sadly witnessed freshly painted home interiors be repainted within weeks after a buyer takes ownership. Every person has their own ideas and personality! Thank you for your words of wisdom…..I totally agree!

Cindy Williams

Catherine…..I agree….less stuff can be often be better when selling a property to give buyers a chance to imagine their personality taking ownership. Sellers are often advised to move out extra personal items, hobbies, themes or fads before selling their home. A cleaner slate, so to speak, is easier to visualize than a cluttered one. Thank you for your comment.

The Author

Cindy Williams, investor and recently retired 40-plus-year TN-licensed real estate broker/appraiser, enjoys empowering people. Cindy has written articles for local newspapers, co-hosted a radio talk show, owned/operated a dirt race track and looks forward to more adventures. Any questions are welcomed at

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