July 23rd, 2008 Categories: Book Report
The not-so-long ago heady years of real estate often seemed to be about making an investment, making a profit and moving on.
TV shows like “Flip this House”‘, blogs on flipping, and even a “Dummies Guide to Flipping” added to the idea that houses were little more than commodities for consumption.
But what about the old fashioned notion of buying a house to make it a home? A place to grow and nurture family and friends? A place to create memories and experiences? A place, that no matter what, is always “home.”
Akron, Ohio resident David Giffels (a journalist with the Akron Beacon Journal) has written a funny, heart-warming and, at times, heart-breaking memoir about that very process: All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-Down House.
David and his wife, pregnant with their second child, and desperate for more room, finally settle on a run-down, soon to be condemned, early 20th century mansion. The once grand residence lacks functional plumbing and electricity, leaks like crazy, and is infested with all manner of wildlife. There is also beauty – an old staircase, a fireplace in the master bedroom, brass hinges, carved moldings. What follows is a heart-breaking/heart-warming story of how the work, the process of a house becoming a home, affects all their lives.
As I listened to Diane Rehm interview David the other day on her nationally syndicated show, two things caught my ear.
One was a caller who asked about the couple’s realtor and did he “push” them into buying what could easily be considered a “bad investment” just so he could get his commission. David’s response was what I hope we all aspire to.
The realtor did not want them to buy the property at all and thought it was a terrifically bad idea. But, once the Giffel’s made up their minds, the realtor did everything possible to make it a smooth transition – even going to bat with the Department of Health when it was declared uninhabitable!
The second thing? David says that when he is asked how much is house is worth now, he can’t even begin to answer the question. It’s no longer a house, it’s a home – for friends and family and memories.
Do you want to make a house a home for your family? Call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s see what we can find.