Are you Looking for a House or a Home?

DSCN4282Are you looking for a house or a home? This question seems redundant. Is there a distinct difference between a house and a home? Houses exist everywhere, they are easy to find. Finding a home is more elusive.

Looking out my kitchen window I can see two houses across the street. Opening my KW app (download the app here) on my phone it’s easy scroll “nearby houses” with photos and prices of houses in Williston. Jumping in my truck and driving to Shaw’s at Maple Tree Place I pass village houses, neighborhood houses and a condominium community all within my four-mile drive. These are all physical places where people live.

A house is a building where people live. Location, size, bedrooms, bathrooms typically define a house. For example, a friend may call and ask me to look for a 4-bedroom house within walking distance of UVM Medical Center. Moving involves changing your physical location from one house to another. Often, when showing a house I am asked, “Why are they selling?” In all cases, it’s simply because they are moving.

DSCN4717When it’s time to change your physical location, or move to a new house, many real estate agents will engage you in a “Buyer Consultation.” Notes from this meeting include your wants, needs, and wishes for your new house. Most of the time, this involves the components or features of a house. For example, small yard, space for a garden, privacy, flat driveway, ½ bath on first level, walk-out basement, two-car garage, pool, etc. Most important, though, is your preferred location. Discussions about location involve a particular lifestyle that will, eventually, lead to finding a home. Another conversation follows involving personal questions. These are lifestyle questions, which, may sound intrusive or prying, but this is what I need to know to help you find a home. To assist in this quest for a change in location, there is a need to assess your lifestyle. Hence, the need to tell me about yourself. From parrots to parties, please “tell all.” No need to feel self-conscious as I am not judging you, just trying to help you find a home. Include your preferred forms of recreation, shopping, eating, traveling, exercising, etc.

Finding a home is more elusive than finding a house. The word “home” elicits an emotional connection to a physical place where one reads, cooks, relaxes. Your home does not need to fit the physical definition of a house. It can be an apartment, a boat, a trailer, a cabin, a room over a garage, or a yurt.

600x600bb-85If you’re still skeptical, watch one of my favorite HGTV shows, Love It or List It. A simple premise of “should we stay or should we go?” The “Love It” portion involves designer Hilary. “List It” features David a real estate agent. While it may seem counterintuitive for me to cheer for the “Love It” part of the show, let me explain. David finds them a physical house that seems to meet their expressed need to move. Yet, the physical house that he finds does not meet their lifestyle needs. Either the commute is too long, the schools have changed, they are no longer near their favorite gym, restaurant, juice bar. In the end, the talented Hilary has revamped their living space to make it truly a “love it” and the place that they call “home.” In conclusion, the perfect house may not be the perfect home.

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It’s All About Location

100_3644It’s all about location and lifestyle. Do you see yourself living in this house? When you walk into a house for the first time you will have an immediate reaction, “Yes! This is what I’m looking for” or “Ick! Who picks that color for a countertop?” Many objections relate to cosmetic issues. Appliances, countertops, vanities, toilets, floor plans, lights, even floor plans can be changed.

As fans of all HGTV and FYI network shows, The Weaver Team at KW Vermont stays up-to-date on trends all over the country. We are especially attracted to shows that feature “fixing up.” From Love It or List It to Flipping Boston the theme of the shows is to increase the value of the house through renovations. Love It or List It, though, also focuses on whether or not the current homeowners will stay in their current house (post renovation) or sell their current house. These Canadian homeowners are trudging through the snow to see if they can be persuaded to list and move. More often than not the homeowners “Love It” rather than “List It” due to the main factor of location.

Before kitchen remodelThe homeowners love their neighborhood. They love the proximity to amenities. They feel comfortable where they live. They enjoy their lifestyle. What they don’t “love” is the outdated floor plans and lack of updated decorating. Not to sound cliché, but in real estate location is everything. After kitchen remodelWhen looking at houses it is important to look beyond the items that need updating, changing, or fixing to accommodate your needs. As evident in these “fixer” programs, you can change just about anything to suit your tastes, however, you cannot “fix” the location. Depending on your priorities, say, Green Mountain views for here in Vermont, you are limited to the number of houses that meet that criteria.

When you find a house that meets your criteria such as views, schools, size, price, access to amenities, etc. then you need to think like the “Love It” part of the show. If the house is in your desired location and meets your requirements in almost all categories then you should purchase it and focus on changes that you will make to suit your taste and lifestyle. So, look at that house that doesn’t quite meet your living needs, decorating taste or ideal floor plan, then imagine the possibilities.