Why do we love our homes?

Why do we love our homes?

Key takeaways

  • Home is more than just a building — it's an emotional feeling humans crave.
  • Many buyers describe “falling in love” with the home they ultimately purchase.
  • Real estate agents who understand the psychological connection to home can be more empathetic to their clients.
  • Real estate agents can help clients protect the homes they love by recommending home warranty coverage.

What's love got to do with it? A lot when it comes to home. People with happy childhoods love to visit the place where they grew up and even peek into their old bedroom. Home shoppers often have a visceral reaction to a home and describe it as "falling in love" or "feeling like this is the place they belong."

While platitudes such as “home is where the heart is” may seem old-fashioned, they reflect a true sense of how most people feel about where they live now or in the past.

“Homes are more than places to live in. They might keep the rain off our heads but they also house a whole host of other issues, things that resonate with us on a deep and symbolic level, a kind of physical manifestation of all our hopes and fears,” according to psychological research by architect Sam Jacob.

Home provides a sense of security that comes from familiarity and the knowledge that this is one place you belong, a place that can provide refuge from a sometimes-overwhelming world. When you meet someone new, you often talk about where you’re from — and a home is part of establishing your identity. Love of home can involve every sense, from the scents you associate with home, the sounds of birds, music or nightlife, the feel of a comfy couch, the sight of your favorite chair or the taste of homemade food.

Homeowners and love of home

When researchers dug into what love is and how it works, they found that love can be separated into three categories: lust, attraction and attachment. All three types of love stem from hormones in the brain. Even with "house love," all three come into play. Buyers are more likely to experience lust when they see a house that matches their dreams and aspirations, even if it may be out of reach. Similarly, buyers are often attracted to a home or its specific features, sometimes without really knowing why. Homeowners express deep attachment to their homes — and sometimes sellers do, too, which can make it harder for them to move on even when logically they know it’s the right thing to do.

All you need is love — and a home. An article on PsychCentral describes Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a pyramid with basic needs such as shelter at the bottom, followed by security and safety, and then the need for love and belonging. Our homes clearly have an essential role in fulfilling each of those needs, as well as the upper levels that represent a need for esteem and self-actualization.

While renters aren’t immune from loving where they live, homeownership typically brings a deeper connection. Psychologists point to the role a home plays in developing a sense of control and the ability to create a space of your own.

According to psychologists, people have images of their "possible selves," and a home provides a place to develop them. "It can become an expression of personal choices and aspirations as well as history,” according to psychologist Roni Beth Tower.

A home that expresses the personality of its owners helps to create agency — a person's sense of personal power — for them, which inspires efficacy, optimism and imagination, according to positive psychology expert Martin Seligman. “Individuals who have a sense of agency and a positive outlook have stronger immune systems, fewer infections, their bodies heal faster, they have less inflammation and live eight years longer on average,” according to Seligman.

Real estate agents and love

There's one more element of love related to home, which involves you and other real estate agents. What do you love most about your job? For most real estate agents, it’s not paperwork, although many enjoy digging into the statistics that explain their market. More often, it’s seeing the joy and excitement on clients' faces when they buy a home — and the knowledge that you helped them find a place to live that they love, where they will create memories and build their financial security. Real estate agents love seeing the relief sellers experience when they know they can move on to their next place and someone new will appreciate their home.

One of the best ways your clients can love their homes is to ensure a Cinch home warranty protects them. See cinchrealestate.com to learn how you can help your clients show their homes a little more love.