What do you enjoy? Selling houses...or selling homes?

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Family Gathering

I know sometimes these words are interchangeable, but I have always had a clear definition of each word in my mind.  A house is a building;  walls, studs, cabinets and a roof.  A home is not necesarily a thing, but more of an emotion.  It is the family inside, the dream realized and the happiness that comes with calling a place your own.

Last night I was invited to a client's house for a barbecue.  Juan had a family gathering and had invited me because he had just moved into the house I had worked to help him find and purchase.  This is a person I have known for years, so even though it was the most difficult escrow  I have ever been in (almost 5 months), it was well worth the effort.  He was a first time home-buyer who had moved from a rented place where he, his wife and three kids had to share space with another family.

As we were sitting there eating some of the best carne asada and roasted chicken I have ever had in my life, Juan stops eating.  He looks at the kids playing and running around in the living room.  He says "That is what makes me happy.  Seeing the kids running around in MY home, enjoying themselves.  Having family come over like this and feeling comfortable".  We went on to discuss the difference between having a house...and having a HOME.  Juan is usually a serious person, but he was smiling from ear to ear and I could see that he was completely content.

Why do I tell this story?  Because this is exactly the reason I first got into real estate.  Sure, I love working with investors and working the large deals.  They help pay my own bills and mortgage.  Sometimes when we get so busy selling houses, negotiating with sellers and buyers, burning the midnight oil sending out e-mails to escrow and getting that huge pile of paperwork under control...that we forget what we are selling.  For investors it may just be a sticks and drywall to make money.  For a homeowner it is a chance to own peace of mind and make a life the way they want it.

KeysWhen it comes right down to it, the most satisfaction I get in my career is seeing someone who never owned a house before turn it into their version of their dream.   I guess I am an old sap, but I still get a bit teary-eyed when I hand over the keys to a home to a client.  I think that God has put me in this career to do that as often as I possibly can. I can still remember clearly the day I got my first set of keys to a house and how it felt to say... "I'm home!"

Comments (15)

Jonelle Simons
Windermere Real Estate - Park City, UT
That's part of the great thing about our job!  Helping people truly find... not only a new HOUSE that fits their needs, but somewhere that truly will become their home!  Good post... 
Mar 30, 2008 02:50 AM
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate
Mark - good post about homes versus houses. I am glad you found your friend Juan a home.
Mar 30, 2008 02:56 AM
Roger Smith
Real Living Advantage Realty - Fort Worth, TX
Mark,  Well I guess I am an old sap too.  After twenty plus years as a paramedic I needed a new career.  Partly for my own sanity, partly because I had gone as far as I could go as a medic  and partly because I just  always wanted my own business.  I  could have become a computer consultant like my father,  or gone back and gotten a  Phd  and followed in my mothers footsteps  to be a therapist. Instead I "broke the mold" and ventured into real estate.  But when I sit down and examine my motives it still comes down to helping people.  I may have become cynical as a medic, but deep down I still had the motivation and desire to help others.  Real Estate is a business first and the bottom line is very important.  Just ask my CPA and my attorney.  The day to day routine is designed to meet the bottom line.  But some days when the phone rings or the e-mail comes you find that you just need to help that person.  They become more than a business client with a paycheck at the end.  They become someone who has dreams and desires for themselves and their family, and they need someone to guide them to that dream.  There really is no feeling like handing someone the keys to their very first home.  It may not be the home they will live in for the rest of their lives, it may not be their dream home, but it is the first step on that journey.  With a little luck we will get to see their dreams grow and be there with them as they do. So everybody do yourself a favor.  Next time you close for a buyer, don't leave the keys with the escrow officer to hand over.  Meet the family at their new home and hand them the keys yourself.  Then just lean back against your car and watch their dreams come true. 
Mar 30, 2008 03:13 AM
Mark Hawley
Keller Williams Realty - Indio, CA

Jonelle:  It really is the best part.   I have always enjoyed helping people and this is one of the most powerful ways you can do that (outside of the church)

Sharon: I am glad you enjoyed my post.  It was from the heart. 

Roger:  Congratulations on making a move that makes you happy as well. If you read my introductory blog, you will see that I came from a similar situation and realized where my life needed to change.

Mar 30, 2008 03:24 AM
Royal Goodman
Royalty Home Solutions - Madera, CA
"We Treat You Like a King"
Good post Mark. I always thought that you sell a house and you buy a home. Royal..
Mar 30, 2008 03:29 AM
Mark Hawley
Keller Williams Realty - Indio, CA
Royal: That is a good way to put it.  I appreciate your compliment :-)
Mar 30, 2008 03:35 AM
Mark Hawley
Keller Williams Realty - Indio, CA
Any other feel good stories Active Rain would like to share here??
Mar 31, 2008 02:59 AM
Todd Clark - Retired
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

Selling houses is easiest, but making them into someones home is what I really enjoy!

Apr 01, 2008 06:10 PM
Robert Machado
HomePointe Property Management, CRMC - Sacramento, CA
CPM MPM - Property Manager and Property Management
Congratulations on helping that family find a home.  Hopefully you will have many more to come.
Apr 01, 2008 06:15 PM
Michelle Pimentel
Empire Home Staging Solutions - Upland, CA
ASP, IAHSP Empire Home Staging


Congratulations! Isn't this what its all about?  Sure we all enjoy making a living, but its stories like this that make our jobs worthwhile. Not only have you provided this family with a home to make memories in, but you have just built up your clientele list.  This family will be happy to refer family and friends to you because of your outstanding service. Continued Success! 

Michelle Pimentel, Empire Home Staging Solutions-So. CA

Apr 01, 2008 07:44 PM
Leesa Finley
RED Properties - Wake Forest, NC
RED Properties - Raleigh NC Real Estate
What a great story!!!  I very rarely use the word house with buyers.  I always say home.  Thanks for sharing the story - it is a great example of "what we do"!
Apr 01, 2008 08:22 PM
Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate
RE/MAX Suburban - Cary, IL
SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL
Mark...I agree...I get a huge reward from seeing them happy in thier new home.  Real Estate is not just an investment for most people and we and our buyers need to look at it in both ways to help them as best as we can.
Apr 02, 2008 12:45 AM
Jessica Bigger
Bigger Communications - Reston, VA
Freelance Real Estate Business Writer
Mark - Wow what an incredibly touching story.  It is so rewarding to see my first-time home buyers in their first home.
Apr 02, 2008 04:12 AM
Arlene Trunzo

After 25 years in the residential Real Estate market,people sometimes ask me how I keep doing it.  what you wrote about is the part of our industry that keeps me going.   I also love to help people achieve their goals. I try very hard to stay in touch with the families long after the sale is over.  I enjoy seeing families grow and prosper. I also like being part of such a special event in their lives. Over the years I have gone to buyers weddings and parties. I consider it an honor when I am invited to attend one of their functions.


Arlene Trunzo  www.atrealestatespecialists.com

Apr 03, 2008 12:31 PM
Mark Hawley
Keller Williams Realty - Indio, CA

Wow, I take a couple of days away and look at what happens!  Sorry, I had a fever and haven't been on to respond.  It is good to hear that so many of you share the feeling of pride in your career that I do.  I am busy trying to catch up from two days of lost work and will respnd to the new posters soon.

God Bless,


Apr 03, 2008 12:41 PM