“Wasn’t that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted.”

– Abraham Vergese, Cutting for Stone


For those of you who read part one of this article a few newsletters back (I love you, return readers), I thought it might be a good time to address a key factor in a buyers home buying process. Where, and what, exactly, is “home?”

Our company deals with transient professionals and relocating homebuyers on a daily basis. Quite often, we work with young couples whose careers have led them into Rhode Island and away from the proximal support of their families. Some quickly settle into their new lives, kind neighbors, new friends, and new children. All the new fills the familial void. Here becomes “home,” and wherever they left their relatives behind becomes a place to visit during vacation weeks.

For others, our lovely state remains a temporary place where they are obliged to remain, and their residences maintain the status’ of “houses” only. Every time I meet a prospective client, one newly uprooted from Philadelphia, California, Washington, you-name-it, I muse over which attitude they will adopt.

I fall into the first group. Give me a new town and I will have a network of friends and pseudo-family members in a week. But my nearest and dearest – my sister, falls into the second group. As her and her longtime boyfriend begin to dream up their life together, they have already decided to focus on towns that are within an hour of their respective families. Their careers, and the appeal of a particular place, are secondary to the priority of maintaining this closeness.

Truly understanding your buyers priorities early on in a transaction is a key factor in both establishing a trusting relationship with them and in ensuring a successful purchase. Every buyer’s priorities when it comes to purchasing a property are wholly individualistic. Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I eventually have to accept that a client will never fall in love with Rhode Island’s offerings, because their heart is elsewhere. Quite often, with those of my sister’s kind, it’s back in Omaha with their family, and their motives are going to sharply differ from those enthusiastically looking for a forever home here.

Of course, and even though it is usually out of my control entirely, I am absolutely thrilled when relocators embrace Rhode Island as their own. Their enthusiasm enables them to enjoy all our good, and accept all our bad. I am grateful that my experiences in real estate have enabled me to fully appreciate, and recognize, when something feels right to a buyer. Whatever their priorities are, once understood, can be satisfied successfully, whether or not I help them find their forever home.


Rita Danielle Steele, Managing Broker