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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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?