It Feels like Home


“Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest” – Robert Montgomery


“This is the one. We want to make an offer!”

As a real estate broker, it is of course not unusual for me to hear these words. And while I usually have a good sense of which properties my client’s will be attracted to, I have on more than one occasion been completely thrown by some of the properties that left my buyers weak in the knees. Like parents struggling to accept their teenagers tattooed boyfriend, these transactions are often the roughest for my “I know better than you on what’s good for you,” realtor mentality to come to terms with.

The “one,” sometimes fails to satisfy every item on a buyer’s must-have checklist. It may even be a property I tried to convince them would be a waste of everyone’s time to see.  Or it may be overpriced with unrealistic and stubborn sellers.  Whatever the circumstances, their attachment to such a property always leaves me perplexed.

Sentimentality is often a clue, and it is simply impossible for a realtor to know what will trigger a happy childhood memory during a property tour. Is the faded wallpaper the same design that covered your buyer’s childhood bedroom? Or does the house bear a striking resemblance to one that the buyer used to see in an old favorite picture book?

Much more often than sentimentality, however, I get this line: “This house just feels good,” or this one, “it just feels like home.” That’s it? It “feels good?” What feels good? But I have, on more than one occasion, felt that way myself, pulling up into a driveway, or stepping through a threshold of a surprising place. So how, I propose, do we explain or define that?

My current temporary residence in Italy has given me, among the countless wonderful things the Tuscan countryside holds for anyone passing through, a fresh perspective on this notion. During ancient Roman times, the Romans were painstakingly careful when selecting the locations where they built their homes. They would, and I will keep this brief as it is a bit gruesome, pay attention to their animal herds and keep them divided over all prospective home sites for a long period of time. They would then slaughter and dissect animals from all divided sections of the land, and look for evidence of ailing health in each animal. The section with the healthiest swine would then become the building site.

Other philosophies address this same concept of the earth’s energies having an effect on people in less gory ways. Anyone familiar with the timeless arts of Feng Shui or Vastu can appreciate the seriousness with which the placement of us and our possessions should be laid out to ensure harmonization with the earth’s polarities under each art’s principles. Countless cultures, both those lost and some still thriving, respect and pay attention to the power and the draw, or repellence, of the earth’s energy in any given location, and its’ influence on our actions, health, and day-to-day lives.

Those more science-minded can look to university departments of Geobiology (From USC and Stanford to Penn State and MIT – most affluent schools have one). Researchers have established long standing evidence of different locations possessing varying energy wavelengths, something which may explain a person’s draw to one place over another.

In Rhode Island, attention to the earth’s alchemy may seem to be far beyond the scope of most realtors and consumers awareness. But I propose that, in the very least, professionals, buyers and sellers should all consider a property’s organic “feel,” when making decisions about it. To pare it down to bare bones, if you are a seller and you have been told that your house gives someone the creeps, brighten it up. If you are a buyer, and a house just feels right and you are having trouble putting your attraction to it into words, make sure that you are working with a realtor who is willing to respect your feelings and work with them. And for those of you who would love to delve into a deeper discussion about Geomancy, biology, or alchemic principals, I would be happy to get you started.

~ Rita