Where The Heart Is

What can a home do for us? Home can be the place where we begin our relationship with the world: increasing numbers of couples are bringing their babies home the day they are born, choosing in so doing to bring serenity and comfort into their post-partum experiences. Home can literally help us live longer: there is increasing evidence that gravely ill patients who return from hospitals to hospice care at home often live weeks or months longer than their prognosis would suggest. Home can enhance our mood, as anyone who returns there at the end of a difficult day can attest. And home is a shelter from the storm, the cradle to which we entrust our most authentic selves in the knowledge that we are safe to be who we truly are once we walk through that door.

One of our Warburg agents, confronted recently with the loss of a beloved parent, confided to me that her father’s return home a few days before he died made a huge difference in that experience, changing it from an institutional into a spiritual departure. She suggested to me that the enormous resonance surrounding the concept of “home” deserves more attention and should be the topic of another blog, and acknowledged that she herself felt a new appreciation for how important connection to place is during her recent experience. For this agent, it created an inspiring moment of rededication to her work and her industry. While I have written extensively on this topic in the past, I was inspired to re-visit it in terms of its importance to many of life’s significant moments and transitions.

For myself, I am never home more than a few minutes before I have changed out of my work clothes and into a t-shirt, flip flops, and sweatpants (preferably brightly colored); it signals the shedding out my “outside” persona to relax, cook things, chat with my family, listen to contemporary classical music on YouTube, and watch (bad) TV. Each evening is a little vacation between my long days at the office, a time when I can sit in my spot (does everyone have a particular perch to which they gravitate in their own home?) and review the day with my wife, open my mail, look at my art, or browse through a book I have picked up from the always overflowing bookshelves which seem to have crept into every nook and cranny of the place.

Whatever your relaxation rituals may be, chances are they rely on feeling anchored in a sense of place. The job the best residential agents do, business details aside for the moment, requires a sort of channeling, enabling us to intuit what will work for a particular buyer. We need to hear the real story, often not fully understood or acknowledged even by the buyer who is trying to impart it, as to where he or she will truly feel at home. Then we get to work sorting the different priorities, both articulated and not, into a coherent picture of where this person, or this family, will feel most at home. Where they can experience life’s joys and sorrows, which then somehow imbue the spaces with resonance which lingers like a patina in the memories of everyone who has lived there, no matter where they may go next.

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