From community to commodity.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Weisser Realty

The old Homeplace by Richard WeisserI was checking out the old neighborhood of my youth on the Internet the other day. I was amazed that a lot of the names of property owners there were still familiar to me.

It seems that about half of the homes were still owned by the same families that lived there in the 1960s. Which led me to draw several anecdotal conclusions:

Back then, a home was not a commodity. It was part of a community where you lived, worked, retired, and eventually passed on to an heir.

The houses were simple and sturdy, and always well maintained. Even after 50 years in the extreme climate ofWestern Pennsylvania, they still look much the same as they did when they were constructed.

Society has changed. We move a lot more now. We rarely know our neighbors beyond the immediate contiguous lots.

So it’s no wonder that a house as a commodity is considered to be nothing more than a financial asset or liability.

I liked it better when it was just HOME!


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Peter den Boer
Atlanta Communities - Woodstock, GA
MBA,GRI, Associate Broker, Realtor

Richard - I agree. The home where I grew up was in a neighborhood where everyone knew everybody. It is where all my friends live. I miss those times.

Feb 19, 2013 10:24 PM #1
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

They did build sturdy homes back then...all wood and plaster. I notice the funerals in those towns are well attended too...One has to wonder a bit about funeral for this next generation ...they move so often and do not obtain too many life long friends any longer..

Feb 19, 2013 10:27 PM #2
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Richard, Some of my childhood homes are long gone (we moved a lot).  Others I can see from Google Streetview and a few things have changed, but the core of the home and the neighborhood is still the same.  I do wonder how well some of these tract homes will hold up.  What will they be like when they're 50 years old?  I'm skeptical that they'll hold up as well as the older homes have done.  Bill

Feb 19, 2013 10:28 PM #3
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I did the same this week as well!  We lived in ranch on a 1/2 acre lot and there were only a few small trees. Now I couldn't even see the house because of all the foliage.  All I remember is that the house cost $15,000 in the early 1960s.  

Feb 19, 2013 10:45 PM #4
Bob Jakowinicz
National Realty Centers Livonia--Bob Jakowinicz - Livonia, MI
Michigan Real Estate Agent-- MI RE Adventures

I guess I really have not looked at it this way as for the most part I'm pretty active with my neighbors.  I do think this is exactly how things have gone as many are moving much more often and don't really know all their neighbors the way they used to.  

Feb 19, 2013 11:54 PM #5
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Richard- I do agree with you.  Gone are the days for the most part, when you had the family home... where we would all return for the holidays to the house where we grew up.  Now the old homestead may have had more than one owner since you lived there. 

Feb 20, 2013 12:47 AM #6
Jordon Wheeler
The Jordon Wheeler Group - Fairburn, GA
J W Group Real Estate Sales and Service

Hey Richard,

My original neighborhood in Toccoa was a housing project, and in the 60s people were happy to be in those homes and took great care of them.  My mom treated our two bedroom one bathroom like it was a mansion.  Nowadays those housing project look a lot different.  This post is awesome and helping me to be thankful today.  Have a blessed day sir!

Feb 20, 2013 01:04 AM #7
Nancy Conner
Managing Broker - City Realty Inc - Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
We've definitely become such a mobile society that the home that stays in the family for decades has become really, really rare. And there were definite benefits to a neighborhood that was truly a community of people who knew each other. I'm glad I got to grow up in one like that, but over the years, all the familiar family names have been replaced and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't know a soul. (though I reconnected with my childhood best friend on Facebook!)
Feb 20, 2013 04:09 AM #8
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


I miss those times a lot. THX.


Interesting observation and oh so true. Thanks for jumping in.


Oddly enough, we moved into our "new" Ryan home exactly 50 years ago. From what I have seen on Google it still looks pretty good today. TYVM.


Yes, in many cases the trees became so big they had to be cut down. But the houses stand tall and true. Thanks so much,.



Feb 20, 2013 04:55 AM #9
Harry F. D'Elia
Real Estate and Beyond, LLC - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Some people just like staying in one small city. Most people want to move for change and opportunity

Feb 20, 2013 05:41 AM #10
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

It made much more sense when it was just a home.

Just like for me a car is just trasnportation.

Feb 20, 2013 07:09 AM #11
John G. Johnston
John G. Johnston & Associates, LLC - Westcliffe, CO
An Exclusive Buyer's Agent ~ Westcliffe, CO

Richard  You just made me realize I have lived here longer than anywhere.  April will be 10 years to own the Courtyard Country Inn B & B...home!  Great blog for bringing back some great memories...and values!

Feb 20, 2013 08:12 AM #12
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Richard, those days are gone. It became a commodity when homeowners saw that they could make a profit. Maybe those days will come back, when home meant something.

Feb 20, 2013 08:40 AM #13
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Where in western PA are you originally from Richard? Sounds a lot like where I am, in eastern PA. Families own houses for generations and most keep good care of them.

Feb 20, 2013 11:03 AM #14
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Richard - It would be nice in many ways if houses were more about community. I think you're right about them being more commodity with people moving more.
Feb 20, 2013 02:13 PM #15
Maria Gilda Racelis
Home Buyers Realty, LLC-Manchester, Bolton. Vernon,Ellington - Manchester, CT
Home Ownership is w/in Reach. We Make it Happen!

Hi Richard: Excellent thought. Instead of looking a home in an economic perspective, we should treat it as an integral part of ourselves. By doing so, it enhances the sense and value of a community.

Feb 20, 2013 07:25 PM #16
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

I often wonder why so many are now insisting on new construction down here in FL, while they come from areas where the 100 year old homes are prized and in demand.

Feb 20, 2013 09:45 PM #17
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Richard, I agree! Houses are purchased today for their appreciation value. Many people buy homes so they can acquire value to move up to a larger more expensive home. Homes have become a commodity.

Feb 20, 2013 09:56 PM #18
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Richard. .having just sent out a lot of post cards "What's my house worth? . .

I'm hoping that your old neighborhood does not resemble my farm neighborhood. .

I need people to move! lol

Feb 20, 2013 10:22 PM #19
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Today there is no reason why everyone in a neighborhood doesn't know each other. This is a strength that can only help us all


Feb 20, 2013 10:37 PM #20
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Richard Weisser

Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional
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