Do You Want A House or A Home?

I just returned from visiting my oldest daughter and her husband in California.  Our first grandchild arrived on September 27th so our new grandson, Whitaker, was the star attraction of our visit!!  I've heard that grandparenting is the best but words hardly describe the feeling of holding a grandchild for the first time!

While there the headlines were all about the financial crisis and the ups and downs of the stock market.  The saying goes that "if it bleeds, it leads" and the media certainly never gives us a breather from day to day. 

I remember when my daughter and husband planned their move to California last April and considered buying a home there.  Was it wise to do so now or was it better to wait for the "bottom", whatever that was?  They decided to take advantage of the downturn in the market and were able to purchase what they wanted for much less than if they had purchased a couple of years earlier.  I tried to remind them that no one would know where the bottom of the market was; by the time anyone recognized the bottom it would be too late.  Reminding them that you can't buy where the market "was" only where the market "is", I suggested they could enjoy their new house now and make it their home.

As I watched them in the last week I was reminded that a personal residence is more than a house, an investment or tax deduction.  It is the "home" that we begin to personalize almost as soon as the first box is opened.  It includes the nursery that is lovingly and carefully decorated to which we will bring our newborn son.  It's a yard we make ours and and is the place our dogs will play and roll and where we will entertain our new friends and neighbors.  It is the place we return to each night after a long day of work.  It is the place where we make the many memories that will last a lifetime.

I always counsel the buyers with whom I work that if they can't see themselves in a house for a least 4-5 years than it probably isn't right for them.  But I also remind them that one can buy a house....never can we BUY a home....we make that for ourselves!

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