When entering a model home of new construction, one will typically be greeted warmly by a salesperson who rather quickly will ask about desired price range, square footage, and home design. Interestingly enough, while the salesperson may have limited ability to fulfilling one’s wishes pertaining to a new home, the buyer holds all the power in this scenario. I am not referring to the negotiations that lie ahead, but rather the fact that the buyer has the ability in part to create his or her destiny…beginning with the purchase of real estate.
Whether or not we, as humans, have tapped into the realization that we do have the capacity to manifest our own realities to some degree, it is not until we really make a conscious effort to do so that the changes will take place. As seen through the eyes (my own) of a real estate industry professional for two decades, quite a bit in life begins and ends with real estate. Certainly, more basic needs and wants are there for the taking, and should take precedence over finding the perfect home. Nobody is saying that sticks and bricks are the be-all end-all to peace and happiness. (Would that 3,000 square foot Normandy-style cottage in the Swiss Alps not be blissful, though?) I digress.
It starts with the imagination. Reminiscent of the Dr. Suess book “Oh, The Things You Can Think”, the imagination knows no boundaries and is capable of producing unlimited ideas. Take this blank canvas that is one layer of your subconscious mind, and begin your creation. Beyond the basics of how many bedrooms and baths, more than room sizes, and surpassing thoughts of price points and budgets – find a starting point.
Location is a great starting point. Do you long to be in the hustle and bustle of the city, perhaps because you have been a hermit lately and need some culture and excitement in your life? Check out the urban lifestyle – go see some artists’ lofts or hi-rise condos. Embrace it. A panoramic view of the skyline at sunset, a glass of red wine in hand, Luther Vandross playing on the surround sound speaker system…got it? Good. Are you more of a nesting type? Does a little Tudor cottage in the historic district sound more your speed? Perhaps your inner fantasy might look more like this: the pleasing scent of honeysuckle and magnolia trees greet you at your front door, leading you up slate steps to an eight-foot wrought iron and wooden door with a speakeasy (so Renaissance-like!), and into a foyer with arched doorways and natural stone surrounding them. Something wonderful is baking in the oven, and the kids are playing with Rufus in the small yard in the back. Bliss in Suburbia.
Getting the hang of this? How about a lake lifestyle? Sailboat races every Wednesday night, pretty incredible sunset views from your three-story condo, walk the hilly topography in the gated community to the yacht club for dinner and mimosas. Note to self: must own plaid golf shorts or a tennis skirt. Bite the proverbial bullet and purchase a golf cart. The dog and the kids will thank you. Or…maybe you need to kick on some riding boots and a felt hat and set some roots down on an equestrian home where your dogs AND your horses would thrive in tandem. Somewhere that the nearest neighbor would be at least five acres away…a hidden treasure out in the country, in a tranquil remote setting with only the noise of wildlife in the evening. Is that a peacock strolling across the street?
Part II of the location/lifestyle focus is about envisioning the practicality of it all. Reality and life experience tells us that a typical morning in single life could mean a nice walk around the [lake, pond, jogging trail] or just rushing to get dressed for work and making it there with five minutes to spare. Stopping at the nearest Starbucks for a latte is crucial, and maybe even catching the rail system to avoid traffic hassles. On the other end of the spectrum, family life could mean having a functional and large enough kitchen to cook Star Wars-shaped pancakes for all the little ones before having them catch the bus at the corner. In the Golden Years, mornings might be spent fishing or boating, and later coming home to create a painting of that beautiful landscape that was just enjoyed.
Drill down a bit more, and think about how each room will be used. Kitchens might be for late-night homework assignments and fresh-baked cookies for stamina, entertaining family and friends, celebrations of important life events and the little everyday joys, and for de-stressing after a long day with a lovely culinary delight. Outdoor kitchens add a whole new element to building memories with family and friends, and a fire pit surrounded by rocking chairs suits the mood nicely. Will elderly family be visiting often or even moving in? Is there easy access for wheelchairs, with ramps and such? Functionality is the focus.
Paint color scheme and interior finish-out are both very instrumental in creating your life blueprint. If you are prone to taking stress home with you and suffering from insomnia, a soothing blue or green color palette could do wonders for your soul. If you are someone who has always aspired to go to Tuscany but it might not be in the budget at this time, paint those walls yellow and do some faux finishes or Venetian plaster and bring Italy to you. If yoga and meditation is your thing (or going to be your thing), mirror the game room walls, add a surround sound speaker system, and add a water feature. Voila – your own private Zen studio. (Think what you could accomplish if you mediated your troubles away daily - Namaste!) Maybe a sleek, contemporary theme suits you best, and would prompt you to clear clutter with a less-is-more attitude. A clutter-free house breeds a clutter-free mind.
Further ideas to expand your life-transforming house-hunting: do you want to go back to school and get that second Master’s Degree? What colleges are nearby? Want to take pottery classes with your friends or start up a bowling league? Identify local landmarks and see if you can envision making those a part of your life. Are they within walking distance? Do you like the facility and the shopping center where they are located? Is it well-lit at night? Can you get most of your errands done without having to travel a long way?
Architects use specific terminology that relates to their industry, and often weave it into their everyday conversations. Become the architect of your own life – draft a plan, refine it, build it and make it happen!