What does “it’s not just a house; it’s your home” really mean?

The writer's father in his gardenA commentary by Susan Harrison, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, EXIT Realty Corp. International. 

I’m thinking about Father’s Day – more specifically, about my Dad and the dozens of Father’s Days spent in our family home. 

We in the real estate business use phrases like, “it’s not just a house; it’s your home” to tug at the heartstrings of the buying and selling public.  But what does that really mean? 

When my Dad passed away in 2006, my parents were married for 62 years, the last 48 of which were spent in the same house; a little bungalow in a suburb of Toronto.  The garden was my Dad’s pride and joy and he spent countless hours moving perennials from one spot to another and pulling any weed that dared to poke its head above the soil. 

My Dad was always finding little jobs to do around the house.  One day in particular I remember coming home as he was replacing a light fixture in the front hall.  As I entered, the door smashed into the new pendant, the depth of which he had miscalculated.  Always one to see the funny side of things, he burst out laughing, so hard he nearly fell from the ladder.  That was one of the best lessons I learned from him – never be afraid to laugh at yourself. 

Our home was never fancy but it was a warm and happy place where grandsons and eventually a great granddaughter came to visit.  Mom always kept their favourite cookies in a special spot affectionately known as Granny’s Cupboard. 

My Mom passed away in 2010 and my sister and I sold that dear little house last year.  On the day of closing, I made a special point of walking across the kitchen floor to commit the squeak to memory.  I left a note for the new owners, wishing them the same happiness our family enjoyed within those walls. 

So when I see the words, “it’s not just a house; it’s your home” in real estate hyperbole, I think of that place, those times.  And as we approach Father’s Day 2012, I’m grateful to my Dad and to dads everywhere who prove it isn’t just hype after all.


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