American Home Week 2014

Where you live matters

By From page AHW4 | April 05, 2014

Where we live and how we feel about it play a vital role in our well-being. Home location has a significant affect on how our lives are shaped. This makes real estate one of life’s most inspiring subjects.

A home is our sanctuary from the rest of the world, the place we go to rest, to feel safe and be with the ones we love. But the definition of home goes beyond the four walls that provide us shelter. Our home is part of a neighborhood within a city, a county, state and even a country. Each of these elements deeply affects our quality of life and well-being.

Take a moment to think about where you live right now and how everything about it affects your daily life. What do you love about your home, your neighborhood, your city and your county?

Imagine for a moment how different life would be if you resided in an urban area like San Francisco. Even within Solano County, there are so many choices of neighborhoods with lifestyles to match: You can live in a condominium complex, in an older historical home, on the waterfront, near the golf course, on big-acre lots in the beautiful rolling hills or even a home with a vineyard. Each of these environments shapes your life in different ways.

So how do you choose where to live?

Whether you rent or buy a home, each of us have different preferences and priorities that influence the decision of where we live. Number one is usually affordability. Pragmatism about work and price narrow down which cities and neighborhoods we consider.

According to the National Association of Realtors recent study “Home Buyer and Seller National Trends” (Research Division, July 2013): “Younger generations of buyers, convenience to jobs, affordability, and quality of the school district play a bigger factor than to older generations who place higher importance on convenience to friends and family and health facilities. While younger buyers placed a high importance on commuting costs, older buyers placed higher importance on landscaping for energy conservation and environmentally friendly community features.”

Most of us can easily make a list of home features we desire but prioritizing and defining all other aspects of choosing a home location can be a bit of a challenge. Local Realtors can be a fantastic resource to help define what is important to you and locate matching homes.

That said, anyone who has ever looked for a home knows that compromise is a necessary step in the home-buying process. Often choice becomes a balance between cost, size, amenities and neighborhood. Many focus on square footage and flashy features while few realize how deeply the neighborhood will affect and define their daily lives.

When you finally settle into a home, it may not be exactly what you imagined. Maybe the view from your window is not what you would have preferred it to be. Maybe you have a noisy neighbor. Either way, recognize that you are now part of a community. How you live and choose to contribute (or not) becomes part of your life experience.

Being part of a great community increases your well-being. But it takes effort and engagement. Even if no community exists, you have the power to create it.

Wherever your home is, reach out, be kind, contribute and appreciate the things that are unique where you are. Your environment affects your happiness and you in turn affect the happiness of your environment. That is why where – and how – you live matters.

Three simple ways to affect where you live:

  • Do something to make the front of your home signal that your home is loved and cared for. If you have plants, nourish and water them. Clean off dirt and dust and buy a nice “Welcome Home” mat for your front door.
  • Decide to be a good neighbor. Challenge yourself to do one friendly gesture that a neighbor would appreciate. It could be as simple as picking up after your dog or bringing in the trash cans when your neighbor is away. You’ll be surprised how great it feels to get a smile from a neighbor every day on your way home from work.
  • Join or create a neighborhood committee. Building community in and around your home is one of the most efficient ways to create a space of safety for you and your family. Homeowners’ associations are driven by neighborhood volunteers and they can be a great way to create a positive dynamic in your neighborhood. And yes, you can choose to just volunteer for a few hours or a day.

Nadia Dumas is Realtor/principal with Alumni Real Estate Group. Reach her at 631-0571 or [email protected]

Nadia Dumas


Discussion | 1 comment

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  • Rich GiddensApril 05, 2014 - 8:52 am

    I don't believe the people of this community are willing to subscribe to the values presented in this article. I don't believe local government is really interested either.

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