Home and Your Social Lifestyle

By Lois A. Vitt, Ph.D.
Author of 10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling:
Using your Housing Psychology to make Smarter Decisions

house for saleYou might think of home as your castle, but a big part of housing decisions are all about other people. If you are calculating the costs of renting vs. buying, or trading up—or down—to take advantage of lower prices and interest rates, it’s also a good idea to think about your social lifestyle, also known as your “sociability style.”

Home is where most of us experience not only the intimate aspects of our personal development, but single family housealso the most important social interactions over our lifetime. Do you enjoy living alone and rarely entertain friends or family? Or do you enjoy the company of family and friends at home and being part of an active community? Either lifestyle is healthy and natural. The challenge is to identify and honor the social needs your home will be expected to serve.

Some people have a strong need for peace and quiet. When the doorbell rings, they sag momentarily at having been interrupted from rest or solitary time. Others love the hustle and bustle of people around them, and they are pleased and excited about who might be dropping by. Neither choice is superior to the other.

suburban houseThe important point is to claim your true social identity and to make your housing decisions in light of that identity. If you share your home with a partner or family members before making your next housing decision it is critical that everyone’s sociability needs be uncovered and addressed with sensitivity.

A home can support a variety of sociability styles, but your best decisions are carefully made by your castle is your homebringing yours—and others moving with you—to the light of day. Everyone’s housing history, habits, and preferences are rooted in their early social relationships and more often than not—you guessed it—were experienced at home! Ideally, uncovering your housing history will help you decide which preferences to keep and which to throw away.

When joined by others moving with you, differences can emerge that help explain those painful conflicts that sometimes erupt when you least expect them. Accommodating everyone’s needs and values will result in your happiest housing choices, so remember to check out your preferred sociability style before making your next move.

Do you prefer…


  • A solitary home life: You go your own way and do your own thing.
    Home is your refuge from social engagements at work or the place
    you need to be creative.
  • An accommodating home life: Your preference is shared living,
    giving and taking. Home is the place for nurturing others.
  • An essential home life: By choice or by necessity, you live very
    simply, without the array of modern conveniences many others take
    for granted.
  • A communal home life: You prefer community living arrangements,
    enjoying group activities with others who share your interests,
    hobbies or life stages.
  • A public home life: You influence others or you are motivated to
    lead and be active in organizations. You choose housing that allows
    you to entertain often and devote time to activities important to you.


Honor your sociability style as you look for your next home. Mix and match spaces—a quiet retreat in an otherwise noisy home full of growing children. Plan well so home can indeed become your castle!

Lois A. Vitt, PhD
About the Author

Lois A. Vitt is a housing expert and financial sociologist, and is the author of “10 Secrets to Successful Home Buying and Selling”, the first book to demystify the psychological forces behind our housing decisions. To learn more about Lois and this book, visit www.RealtyStudies.com.

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