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Just a House or Real Honest to Goodness Home?

By Michael S Hatfield
June 1, 2015

homeFrom traveling a bit, it is easy to conclude there are other places than just my hometown where it would be cool to live. What is it that really makes the difference in a house being a home, or just a place to plop?

I say it is in the “feel of things”, pure and simple. Huh, you say? Yes, the feel of things. Trying on a new shirt, you first try to make up your mind: does it feel good, is the price reasonable, do I look great in it, and does it fit right? You know, the feel of things!

When entering a neighborhood, remember that location, to the third power, is key in real estate. Yes, location, location and location is the ticket! A house is much easier to sell later on when it is time to “right size” once again.

When you drive up to a property, carefully consider how the home fits your idea of what is cool and also try to tell if you can cook better in this kitchen than you do in your current one. Those are things that make a difference. The neighborhood must fit your perception of “hey, now that’s the way to live!”

Some like Country Club living for availability of golf, tennis, swimming, or socialization. I may prefer more of a rural, or urban setting. Everyone likes something a little different when it comes to the “feel of things,” and no one’s view is wrong. Actually, this is one of those occasions where everyone’s opinion is right!

Yes, it is true. Other people play an important element in where you might choose to live. You know the smile and wave from a neighbor as you drive by, or the quick stop and chat on the walking path while your respective pups “get the news.” These are all important things and are elements in a neighborhood’s appeal. Who is going to live with you in this new home has gotta make a big difference in whether it is just a house or a real home, too!

Driving up to a prospective home, did you know that 80% of a Buyer’s decision to look inside the house (or not) is decided from the first impression he gets from curb appeal? Nowadays, where Buyers first see home photos online, they may just make the “curb appeal decision” on the internet without even driving up to the property. However, let’s keep in mind that photos do not always do credit to a property, or sometimes they make it look better than it actually is. Best to “go see” if the home is “possibly lookin’ good.”

A real estate professional advises that one can expect to find a home that fulfills about 85% of your requirements. The new homeowner should take on the remaining demands of making the house an awesome home. Of course, that is unless you are building a super cool custom home that meets 100% of your dreams and expectations.

When you call up your realtor for a “go-see” and if your darling kids are gonna live there with you, lug them along to be a part of it all. You know the old adage, from the “mouth of babes” wisdom may flow and just might keep you from missing something of importance. Forgoe taking Fido with you as he is tough on someone else’s floors and you are probably ably qualified to decide where his dog house is to go anyway.

I prefer tall ceilings, glass and views, and a quiet and peaceful ambiance in a home (pilot views). Some like living “where the action is!,” downtown, in the middle of Zona Spectacular.

What elements make a home a home for you is the real question as everyone is different. I imagine, like me, it boils down to be a matter of whatever you like best.

*Michael S. Hatfield thoroughly enjoys working in Residential and Commercial Real Estate as a Broker Associate with RE/MAX Accord in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. He has a passion for working with quality people and delights in applying his experience as a Home Builder, Developer, former large company CEO and President to his clients real estate goals.

Michael has also served as a Captain and FAA Designated Lead Airline Check Pilot for one of the nation’s largest Domestic and International Airlines. His position placed him center stage in the safe operation of large turbine-powered Commercial Passenger Jets for 25 years inclusive of the tragic 911 era. As an Aviation Consultant, he authored articles and Newsletters on Airline Passenger Safety.

He may be reached at (925) 984-1339 or at His offices are in Danville, California.