As a real estate agent and an appraiser, I spend my days looking at a lot of homes here in Connecticut. Nice homes and ugly homes. Clean homes and messy homes. Large homes and small homes. Extravagantly updated homes and homes with just the bare essentials.
They all have one thing in common: They're not just houses, but rather, they're homes. There is a difference.
When you are selling your home, it becomes a house. You clean it, fix it, stage it and present it as a commodity: a house for sale. Of course, you do so in such a way that potential buyers will be able to envision it as becoming their new home.
But marketing your house for sale is so very different than living in your home. When you live in a home, there are imperfections that you let slide. You hold off on repainting, because you know the kids are just going to ruin the new paint job, too. You let your family room sofa continue to deteriorate, as the kids are still young enough that they're going to jump on it and ruin the next one anyway. You don't always repair the brown patches in the lawn, because the kids will now use that spot as home plate. Or is that just in my home? Am I the only one with kids that trample through their home like wrecking balls?
What makes my house my home?
The wall damage caused by the kids pushing my chair into the wall every time they sit in it. Of course, the chair hits the wall just below the chair rail, which I now refer to as the "Above-the-Chair Rail."
Sure, I could spackle and repaint this area. But not yet. Not until I get a taller chair. Or until the kids move out.
The handprints on my windows. This one is upside down. How did they do that? Was it planned? It must have been.
I go through a lot of Windex. Though, I've learned that baby wipes are quite good for quick window cleanings.
Of course, the kids can't play with just one or two toys at a time. Instead, they dump out a box of toys and then play with the ones they want. At least they now clean up after themselves...usually...
Crayon Art. This has to be my favorite. Though it wasn't originally...
Two weeks after we moved into our brand new house (it was still a house...we hadn't turned it into our home yet), my then-4 year old son snuck his crayons into his room...and created this masterpiece while we thought he was napping.
His artwork is still there. I figure we'll leave it until he's old enough to know better. I think that will be when he hits the age of about 32.
Of course, it's not all bad. And, I do know that if the above is the worst I have to deal with, then I really don't have much room to complain. My home does have some bright spots...
There's the gas fireplace that doesn't put out much heat, so we can enjoy it all year long. Of course, we can't use it again until we find the remote control that turns it on and off. Where could the kids have put that?
The many over-sized Disney items...yeah, I enjoy them as much as the kids do.
There's the Jacuzzi tub, because the kids do eventually go to bed.
And with careful reconfiguration of the cushions, my family room sofa can be made to be kid-sized, with room to spare for the dog to supervise.
Did you notice there are no pages in that book he's "reading?" He ripped them all out. I guess the book cover is more fun than those silly words on all those pages, anyway.
A house is what you buy and sell.
A home is where you live. Warts and all.
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Don Fabrizio-Garcia, REALTOR
Connecticut Real Estate & Appraisals
Connecticut Real Estate and Homes for Sale