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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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Sarah Hendricks

As a now retired military family, we moved many times and purchased several homes as we traveled around. When we sold our first home, our agent told us to be sure the sinks weren’t full of dirty dishes, but to leave magazines, in-process craft projects and especially family photos on display because people were more likely to buy a home that looked homey. As the years passed and we sold other homes, somehow “staging” a home became a big deal. We were told to get a storage unit to store any personal photos, furniture, dishes, kitchen appliances, etc. that were not absolutely necessary and to stop buying more groceries than we would use up within a week. Pretty much take ANY hint that anybody lived in the property and “hide it” in a rental storage unit off the premises. We were told that buyers wanted to be able to imagine their belongings in a home they were considering buying and our things would be a distraction. One time, it was suggested by the realtor that we also store much of our furniture and rent smaller pieces to replace them so the rooms would look bigger. I guess I was never in such a desperate need to sell a home that I had to follow the whole idea of staging my home. If potential buyers couldn’t see potential without the owner needing to hide things, bring in smaller furniture and keep their pantry empty, they didn’t deserve to buy the home I loved. And, we never had a house on the market for more than a week before it was sold and in some circumstances for OVER the asking price. Maybe people in the past had more creative brains than people now days do…I can’t imagine being focused on the present owner’s “stuff” while viewing a home I was considering purchasing. I’m for a comfortable, homey home where the owner’s personality shows.

Cindy Williams

Sarah…..great information you shared! Your track record of selling homes so quickly speaks volumes of how your homes exhibited warmth and livability. In the past I rarely gave advice to homeowners in regards to their home furnishings because the homeowners usually know what works and what doesn’t in their home. A lady recently called to tell me that a realtor told them they needed to remove a “custom made” tractor replica bed in their son’s room in order to sell their home. I told her it was up to them to decide what to do, but I personally would not be turned off from buying a home if a child’s bed looked like a tractor. I could easily visualize one of my bedroom sets in the same room. Hopefully you can continue to share your experiences with others and encourage them to sell their homes as you did taking pride in your decor and design.


Not all of us can own the place in which we live (flat, unit or house). But, as a long-time renter, I have still made this place my home. When tenancy laws changed (in Australia), I pulled up the old, worn carpet, polished the floorboards & painted a feature wall in the bedrooms. I had already changed the curtains, bought outdoor furniture & planted lots of lovely plants in the garden. 🙂

Cindy Williams

Jen…..Your home sounds very inviting and no doubt your personality makes it a true “home”. I can only imagine how your custom wall feature, polished floorboards and outdoor living area with plants make your home feel warm and welcoming to you, your family and all who visit.


When I bought a house 4 yrs ago, the interior layout mattered to me but not the cosmetic appearance. I knew that even a “move in ready” was not me and not my taste. No matter what I would change things…to make the house “mine”. I would put my imprint on the house to make it my own.


I want my home to always say “ Wecome guests! So glad you are here! Relax and feel comfortable”
It is furnished eclectically and hope it is always a place for family and friends to feel loved.

Cindy Williams

Suzanne…..Me, too! You house sounds fun and welcoming! I have an 8′ tall wooden giraffe greeting guests when they walk in my front door. He gets a lot of attention from visitors and truly makes me feel happy! I have a feeling your home is a place your friends and family love to visit!

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 williamsandassoc@gmail.com.

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