Thoughts on Homeyness and the Home in 2016

A home is so much more than just a shelter, according to the most recent Life at Home report.

The 2016 report, which is published annually by the IKEA global home furnishings company, says a home is defined by what inhabitants experience through their senses: sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch. Together, these five senses make a house feel, well, homey, and create happy memories.

After surveying thousands of people around the world, the Life at Home report found that a whopping 63% of respondents said they cook to feel at home, while 59% attributed their home’s comfortable vibe to music. Interestingly, when the sensation is not a pleasant one – too bright or too noisy – that homey feeling is challenged. And, thanks to a society that prizes outdoor kitchens and living rooms, some 42% of individuals say they now feel more comfortable outside their homes.

The home is now a place of relationships and connections, both personal and virtual; the report found that 48% of respondents described their home as the “place where they have their most important relationships.” However, 23% noted that having Wi-Fi is more important in their homes than having a gathering space to bring family together. It makes a strange sort of sense: Loved ones can move away, but, realistically, they’re as close as the nearest Internet connection. A wired home is a happy home.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report found that people highly value their “tchotchkes”: 53% suggested the objects in their homes hold memories and/or reflect who they are, while 43% said they assigned importance to objects that facilitate meaningful activities – for example, the kitchen island is where the kids do their homework, creating daily memories.

The report concluded that, no matter who we are or where we live, our feelings of home are all remarkably similar (if clich├ęd): we love our homes because “home is where the heart is.”

A Home Buyer’s Guide to Making It in a Competitive Market

In hot real estate markets, buying a property may feel like a nearly impossible feat. Skyrocketing prices, low inventory, and bidding wars can make a prospective buyer feel dejected.

But becoming a homeowner in hot cities can happen, if you employ the right techniques. A recent article in RISMedia outlines tactics for buyers to use when shopping for a home. For example:

Don’t be naive. Understand the market realities. Instead of obsessing over prices, value, and comparables in the area you’re considering, focus directly on what it will take to get the home you want.

Work with someone you trust. It may pay to find an agent who is sufficiently skilled to develop a rapport with sellers and their listing agents. Or you may need a superior number-cruncher to get you the best deal. But whatever the agent’s strengths, ensure he or she is a person you feel comfortable working with; the journey to finding a home can be long and arduous. You’ll need a friend.

Be realistic. Be very realistic. If you’ve only seen one home in your desired market that fits your budget, then that market probably isn’t in your price range. Accept that and either pick another area or be prepared to boost your budget.

Finally, try to relax. Expect that all will not necessarily run smoothly, particularly in a highly competitive market. Don’t get worn down by the process. You can become a homeowner if you relax and go with the flow!