I think we have all felt it… some homes feel 'homier' than others, places that make you feel you would be happy living there. It's what spurs buyers to feel 'this is it'! But what is it exactly that makes a home feel happy and homey.
Some scientific studies highlighted in a recent realtor.com article noted these things that can make a difference in how happy you feel in a home.
It doesn't matter if you buy or rent
Don't buy a home assuming that buying will make you happier. A study by the University of Pennsylvania found buyers and renters were about equal in emotional well-being. Renters don't have to worry about home maintenance so that may be a factor. But it could also speak to doing what is right for you. Buy because you want to be a homeowner, not because you are being told that you should buy.
People seem to be more aware of commute times than ever. While how long is too long can vary… some people like the decompression time between work and home, and people who take mass transit may like the time to just sit and read with nothing else to worry about. However, most people are happiest with a commute under 15 minutes, according to a study from the Office for National Statistics. Over 15 minutes, commuters get anxious while commutes longer than an hour tend to lead to depression.
Green or yellow walls
This one surprised me. A study from Vrije University in Amsterdam found that green and yellow evoked the most feelings of happiness. Green gives a feeling of comfort and serenity, while yellow brings out creativity and playfulness… think which rooms you would want in those colors…
Clutter can cost you both emotionally and financially
I have long felt that clutter can both cause and reflect emotional stress. The UCLA Center on Everyday Lives and Families found that clutter creates stress, especially in women. It can also affect you financially if clutter is taking up usable space that you are paying for but not able to use.
Do renovations now, not later
I can't tell you how many sellers I have worked with who have renovated their homes to get ready to sell. After they are done, they invariably ask why they didn't do it sooner so they could have also enjoyed it before selling. If you are longing to redo your kitchen or bathroom, it can mess with your peace of mind. When researchers at UCLA talked to 60 couples about their homes they found the more 'undone' the home was perceived to be, the less happy its owners were… both with themselves and in their relationships!
Pay off as much of your home as you can
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that people with no mortgage are happier than those with mortgages… duh! But did you know that making only one extra mortgage payment a year on a 30-year mortgage could pay off your loan in 25 years? Don't be surprised if your mood rises as your debt dwindles.
Get to know your neighbors
More and more home buyers are telling me they want to be part of a community. Make it a point to get to know your neighbors and you will be happier… and so will your neighbors!
Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results - Twin Cities Realtor