Which door holds your story? We all have access to the tools, information, and ways to help you find the right home. If you know more about prices, properties, and location of homes, you’ll find that home faster, easier, and in a more meaningful way.  The best experiences are the ones that stay with us. Most of us rank our most memorable experiences at home among the highest and best. When you set out to buy a home with focus, purpose, and care, you make a place for yourself where your real estate story ranks among the most meaningful chapters in your life. This post isn’t just another realtor “how-to” find a home. The story behind the home is a meaningful experience for professionals, government officials, and military families so they can connect to the best properties, prices, and communities in our area.


It’s important to expect more if you want the best results. Making home happen demands more from all involved. You have to be willing and informed with honest, real, and relevant information that goes beyond the basics. Set up the search on your own terms. Use key words that will connect you with the right professional so the process is focused on your preferences with an honest, transparent, expert approach. Know what you want and why you want it. It’s in the details. You need to know what’s behind the four walls, within the city limits, and what the sales, data, and lifestyle mean for you.There’s so much more to every home, every neighborhood, even every professional you interview. Introduce your story with enthusiasm, expectations, and analysis that will help you connect to the story behind the home and write your own story.


When we search for a house online, it’s almost impossible to know if the house will look the same in person. Despite the photos, virtual tours, HD Video tour or walk-through videos, there are ways to know more about the house than the photos. There are definitely hints in online listing images that can help distinguish one home from another. For example, watch out for what you don’t see in the photos. There’s been a trend toward photos that only feature certain aesthetics. That is, a snapshot of a granite counter or cut away to gas cooktop, recessed lights or built-in art niche. These photos tell a story about details that can be found in the listing text and description. Particularly if a floor plan is notably absent from the story line it will be difficult to know if the house fits your lifestyle and meets your goals. Yes, photos, preferably professional ones, should show off special features of design and detail. However, aesthetics can only get you so far. The substance and value of a home is the story of style and comfort on display via photos, videos, tours, and descriptions. It’s important to start off with that in mind.


While we’re searching, watching, and sifting through photos and videos online, we can quickly find out that there’s basic information, property details, and listing criteria. Every. Single. Time. It’s easy to find number of bedrooms, baths, for example. The basic features are important elements that provide a survey of the real estate inventory so you can identify number of listings based on that basic criteria. I hear clients say, “We would love a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath colonial on the corner close to the Mount Vernon or W & OD trail so we can run or bike to work.”  Or, “We are downsizing for a 2 bedroom condo on the orange line.” “We dream of buying a cape cod on a large lot that we can expand over time.” The basics are a good starting point for telling the story behind what’s available.  We start there but it’s important to know how to make sure that the results are overwhelming and the process frustrating. It’s my mission to make sure that this is not the story behind the home search for you. The right professional with a keen understanding of how to take your search beyond the basic criteria of an ordinary online property search can make the difference. When we uncover the story behind the architecture, design, and community, the story behind the home creates a a purposeful, meaningful place where people know more than the basics. When people are encouraged to examine the entire property, location, and community, there is real value, meaning, and a lasting return on the planning, preparation, and process for all involved.


There’s more on the inside than just square footage. Numbers are important when searching for bedrooms, baths, and even the amount of living space. But, it’s really how you live or intend to live in a house that’s important; livability makes the most of the living space and square footage. For example, instead of focusing on how much square footage you have now, think about how, if and when you use certain living space. How do you live in the rooms you have now? Do you need more space or less? Think about how you live know and how many bedrooms, baths are important. Then, consider why 3 bedrooms is more important than 4 bedrooms as an example. These elements will only mean something to you if you know how you will use the rooms, which rooms you will use everyday. Do you work from home? Do you want or need space to entertain? Do the kids need a separate playroom? Consider how the entire number of bedrooms, bathrooms, office space, garage, for example will work or not work according to the way you live now.  How you live defines your lifestyle at home and adds more meaning to basic elements of a house. When you focus on useful space and the way you want to live in your new home, the story behind the home tells about your lifestyle and increased livability of the house and your story will take shape so you can connect with the best properties, location, and communities.


As the search results bring up great options to consider and maybe even visit in person, there are considerations about what’s behind the four walls of the properties and information to gather in the listing details. At home, we can all recall the setting of our most memorable life experiences. When we describe our childhood home, for example, we remember the experiences. Memories at home can also include the dining room set where your family shared Thanksgiving with favorite recipes. So, when you start your search, it’s important to understand what’s behind the four walls in order to know at step one if certain spaces will fit and foster old and new memories inside your home. Did you know that depending on certain floor plans and architectural styles there may not be enough space for a grand piano or antique sideboard? If you boast an impressive art collection or aspire to such a display, you may think twice about window placement, interior layout, and/or plaster walls in older, historic properties. For pet lovers, a spacious, fenced yard is often at the top of the priority list of features but have you considered the value and how much you would pay for a pet shower in a large mudroom? Add details, key words that relate to style, products, design, and features to your search to locate properties that show you more about what’s behind the four walls. You’ll start to see results that can really tell the story about how your plan to live at home and create meaningful experiences.


Hopefully, you’ve found helpful and insightful ways to think about your search. Are you ready to get started? Try it as an introduction to the process. An honest, deliberate and informed approach to your home search will make your search faster, easier, and more successful. The real story behind the home combines process, industry, and results so you can write your story. Add comments about your success, challenges, and even suggestions. I can’t wait to hear from you!