Thanksgiving always makes us notice what we’re grateful for. As real estate agents, we think a lot about what home means to us and to our clients, whether it’s a triple-decker investment, a luxury apartment downtown, a 500 square foot condo, or a Colonial in the suburbs. But what about those who don’t have reliable shelter? This is what we found ourselves talking about at our most recent weekly meeting. Our conversation uncovered a deep thankfulness that we have shelter, and led us to explore the idea of home from each of our perspectives.
Ellie Homelessness is a very real thing. I have seen a neighbor go from a stable household with her family to having absolutely nowhere to live with her 11-year-old son. It’s devastating.
I am grateful and humbled not to be in that situation. As a child, I was aware of homelessness and poverty, and worried that I could one day become homeless. This childhood concern helped me to develop a strong appreciation for all that I have, and I am proud that now, as a real estate agent, I help people find homes.
For that matter, I spend much of my time outside of my work in real estate providing shelter (in my home) to dogs from southern states such as Alabama and Tennessee. I am part of a network of volunteers who foster these furry friends until they are adopted. Some people build up walls around their homes, but my like-minded neighbor and I tore down our fence instead. We opened up our backyards so we could share dog care responsibilities, have since become closer friends, and both of our homes are happier and more vibrant. From puppies and mama dogs giving birth, to senior dogs needing love, if you’re ever looking for a puppy or adult dog to foster or adopt, please let me know! Providing shelter and safety is important for everyone, not just humans.
Liz When my husband and I bought our first home in 1998, it was a practical affair. My uncle had advised us to invest in a two-family home and rent out one of the apartments, so we approached that transaction as a business proposition. But one lucky day in 2007, I walked into an open house and fell in love with what is now my current home.
It was very eye-opening for me to realize one could fall in love with a house—for many years I had worked with buyers every day but didn’t really believe in that possibility. I’m grateful to have had that experience because there are so many ways people approach their home search: practical investment; private retreat from the world; a way to build equity. All of those approaches give your home value in different ways, but the essence of a home is to provide shelter, and I feel exceedingly lucky to have this basic need met. With news of the fires in California, in which several of my colleagues have tragically lost their homes, and as it grows colder and therefore more difficult for the homeless here in Boston, this essential definition of home is very much on my mind.
I am grateful for my home because it provides a stable base for my kids—a place they can fly away from but always come back to. I’m grateful to have an extra bedroom that allows us to welcome family, friends, and even strangers. We have hosted graduate students from almost two dozen countries over the years, and we always learn from them: a traditional recipe; a new way to celebrate the holidays; a different perspective on the world. I’m grateful for more mundane things, too: the way the prior owners, architects, added a decorative opening in the stairwell that provides an unusual perspective. The huge windows that allow light to pour into the living room. The alcove under the eaves in the kids’ room that’s perfect for giggly sleepovers. The massive linden tree, its trunk scarred with old vines, that towers over the back yard.
Thank you, house, for being my home.
We both wish you a warm, delicious Thanksgiving, and urge you to spend some time thinking about and appreciating your own home sweet home.