Finding Your Housing Value System

By Lois A. Vitt

house for saleAre you stuck trying to make a housing decision? Small wonder. Your housing decisions are about everything in your life, not just the design and location of your home. They involve your inner motivations, desires, and well-being as surely as the objective circumstances of managing your housing-related finances or the logistics of a prospective move.

As Congress proposes new laws to force bankers to modify mortgages, and help many of those who single family houseare battling with foreclosure more home buyers are expected to come out of the woodwork to look at purchasing homes.

Consider this: Our relationship with our home is the most personal nonhuman relationship we may ever have. Home is something we “provide” for ourselves and our loved ones. It offers control over our physical setting and our leisure. It provides security and independence. In the best-case scenario, home is our sanctuary.

suburban houseIn the worst case, the loss of home is felt as a disaster whether caused by bankers, Wall Street, financial hardship or by personal trauma. In fact, many of the housing choices that confront us have emotional consequences, so feeling anxious or indecisive during the home buying process can happen to anyone.

The psychology of housing decision-making is rooted in our past. That history starts with childhood dreams of a safe, secure, happy home, dreams that persist long into adulthood. Identifying childhood relationships to selecting a home will help give you insight into your current feelings. Take a few minutes to remember the past and you can discover and push through what may be holding you hostage about your decision today. The goal is for you to make a housing decision that fully reflects your adult values rather than “needs and wants” that might be mired in your childhood.

Everyone has a “housing profile.” Discover yours and you are on your way to making a smart decision, whether that decision involves buying, selling, remodeling, investing, or moving in with family temporarily. Your unique housing profile consists of four areas:

Personal factors that deal with your identity, desire for autonomy,
need for personal safety, security, and other aspects of the
“real you.”

Social factors that refer to your concerns about others: your
partner, family members, friends, neighbors, and the people in
your community.

Tangible factors include the physical comforts that are important to
you about where you live. The home itself and its surroundings,
convenience, commuting time to your job or business, schools and
other aspects of your home’s location.

Money factors are what you think or believe about your financial
affairs: how you handle money, savings and investments under your
current circumstances.

If you can prioritize your housing preferences using these four housing value areas, you can more easily make choices in tune with your inner wisdom. Your housing value system is your best tool for making good housing choices. It can help you stay focused and maintain your objectivity, guiding you through all that really matters. It can help you counter frustration and anxiety so you can sort through your alternatives and make your best decision.

Most importantly, it can guide you to decisions based on your true housing values and needs rather than on subconscious wants or other people’s “shoulds.”

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

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