The allure of finding a new home to buy
Buying and selling real estate has a special allure for many of us. Just look at the endurance of all the TV shows about finding new homes, renovating and selling them. For some, like those who actually flip homes, it's a means to make money. For others, it's an investment meant to hopefully grow over time or a legacy for their offspring to inherit. Even though home prices historically go through booms and then bust, we keep buying.
Buying and selling a home also satisfies a restless spirit, the need to conquer new horizons or create a change of scenery every so often. Others simply find it necessary when they experience certain life events: they find a partner, have children or take in their aging parents. They follow and reconnect with far-flung family members. Retirement, too, often forces financial decisions that make a move necessary.
A legacy of home buying
When I was growing up, the post-World War 2 baby boom was in full swing. Suburbs sprouted on the outskirts of many cities and builders were turning out bigger and more enticing home models all the time. The middle class had money to spend, and their families were growing.
One of my mother and father's favorite weekend pastimes when we weren't taking day trips was to visit the latest new home developments and tour the models. I don't remember whether this was something I initially enjoyed, but as I got older I recall it with great pleasure. Imagining myself in a new room, surrounded by new furniture and décor was a passion I must have shared with my mom as she was always the one scoping out new building sites in the newspapers and urging my dad to "take a drive to see the new model homes."
Together they bought four homes during the 63 years they were married. Mom loved the idea of a new home, and once she found one they liked she threw herself into customizing the floorplans and decorating with an enthusiasm that never failed to refresh her spirit each time. I totally get it. Nothing dampens my zest for daily living as much as feeling trapped in the same old space with no opportunity to either redesign my surroundings to satisfy my imagination or find new digs. I'm afraid it's in the genes.
My mother had the Sunday newspapers to scout for homes. I have the internet, and I have to admit that when I run out of listings in my favorite locales, I start casting my net wider. As long as it's within a 100-mile radius, I'm willing to look.
While I wait for my home sale to come to fruition, I've been spending the last several months with my fingers on the pulse of the particular markets I've chosen to explore. I watch Realtor.com relentlessly, and it's a great way to see the trends unfold in real time.
So far I've been very fortunate in all my home acquisitions and sales. My mom didn't play the real estate market to make money so much as to pursue her dream home. When it came to financial investments, she was a Wall Street whiz, but from her I must have learned the art of being patient, observant and sensing when to make my move…buy low, sell high.
While buying or selling a home definitely isn't just about the money for me, it's certainly a nice perk when I can manage to pull it off. Ultimately, however, as it was with Mom, it's about finding just the right home.