I am shocked at the sheer volume of charts, graphs and heat maps that try and focus consumers on the stats and appreciation trends in home buying and selling. Now, the dollars and cents and crime stats are all a part of the decision to buy a home, but its not the only or even most important reason. Why do people buy homes? Its for lifestyle. It’s personal.
There were two things I wanted more than anything growing up on the Jersey Shore in Ventnor, NJ: a new car and a house. My mom had an old Chevy Bel Air that was always breaking down. Dates were always a challenge when you are trying to impress a girl but didn’t know if the starter would work. We rented a series of apartments during my teens because the landlord(s) either sold the building, gave the apartment to their kid, hated our dog, or raised the rent to the point where we had to move. I never was able to paint my room a color other than “off white”. I couldn’t do anything in the backyard like plant a tree/shrub, put a swingset there, or even mow the lawn when the grass got too long. The kitchens were always “apartment grade.” Things always broke and you had to wait for the landlord to fix it, if they ever did.
Fast forward to today, and I’ve had the pleasure of working for two great companies that in a bizarre way, allowed me to get what I had been looking for all those years ago. For 15 years I worked for a car company, and got a new car every year. That was sweet! And now, I am the chief marketing officer for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. And not only do I help our brokers and agents make home ownership possible for hundreds of thousands of people each year, we have just developed a new television campaign that I believe really hits at the heart of home ownership. And after the past four years of doom and gloom, we need a little heart right now. We have to get back to the “why” that people buy homes.
We have a :60 anthem (see below) that explains our unique view of the value of a home. The voice on the spot is the great Tom Selleck. Not only is he the star of the hit CBS series Blue Bloods (at Coldwell Banker, it is rumored, we bleed blue), and has a wonderful, trusting voice that adds a great texture to the commercial…but the backstory is even better. You see, Tom’s dad was a vice president at Coldwell Banker for 38 years, and he was the only member of his family that wasn’t in real estate…until now!
So 3 months ago, I bought a small, dumpy 2nd home down the shore, about 2 miles away from where I grew up in Ventnor. I never checked the crime stats. I briefly looked at the appreciation charts for this house and the neighborhood. I paid more attention to how many blocks away from the ocean it was and asked “would we walk or ride bikes to the beach in the summer?” Did it have a backyard for BBQ’s and hanging out? Was it close to a Starbucks and the local sub shop, Dino’s? Was it big enough to have tons of friends and family bunking up on long summer weekends? The price was good, the interest rate low and for a monthly payment that was the same as a car payment, it was a great deal. My Coldwell Banker agent, Bracken Markins, was great. I’m painting it now — any darn color I want. I’m fixing what needs to be fixed, and what I can’t fix, I “gotta guy” that can. My dog is welcome to be there anytime. I’m going to plant a tree. My kids will bring their kids here someday in the future. I’m going to fish in the bay A LOT. My wife and I will grow old there together.
That’s the value of my home. Share yours in the comments and take a look at our new TV ad below that we call “The Value of a Home.”