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    The House that Built *Me*

    The house that built Heather

    This week, I did an interview with the folks at Century 21’s corporate office for their blog, which was a lot of fun. They had asked me about where my love of real estate came from, and the more I thought about it, I kept coming back to the house on Elizabeth Street in Salisbury. The house I grew up in.

    It’s no surprise, really, that I ended up in real estate. My love of houses and architecture came from that house, a turn of the century home in the Newtown Historic District in Salisbury, Maryland. That house, and that neighborhood, shaped so much of who I am today. (The photo above is of my dad’s mom holding my sister by the front steps, and was probably taken around 1977.)

    Some of the houses were more ornate architecturally than others, but most were what us kids called ‘mirror houses’…at least one other house had exactly the same floorplan. My best friend across the street and my sister’s best friend around the corner had matching houses, although we always thought it was odd that the front parlor opened onto a staircase in one area in one house and didn’t in the other. The adults thought it was odd too, and during one evening of drinking decided to open up the wall that should have had the opening…and found the original stair treads hidden in the wall, along  with the original carved wood trim that framed those risers at the top. (The whole wall then came down and the stairs and trim were restored.)

    photo credit: Tiffany Lloyd Severtson

    As a child, I loved the possibility that you might find something hidden under a floorboard, or in a crawl space. I thought it was amazing to dig up a 1902 penny in the backyard. The sense of history and craftsmanship within those homes was evident even to a little kid.

    Flash forward to 2004, and I moved my growing family into a Queen Anne Victorian. Well, not exactly…a new construction home built to look like one, with a wraparound porch and turret window bedroom. It was the same year that I got my license to sell real estate in Virginia, and the fascination with craftsmanship and unique architecture hadn’t left me. (My first A in college was in Architecture 101.)  One of my favorite features of our home is an octagonal side window…not something you find on many non-custom homes built in Loudoun.

    I’m sure that people end up working as Realtors for many different reasons, but for me, the reason I enjoy my job so much is that I know how deeply your heart is intertwined with your home. In the end, buying or selling a home is very much a business transaction, but it’s still a very personal decision and experience. If you haven’t ever listened to Miranda Lambert’s song “The House That Built Me”, take the time. It speaks from the heart about how much a house can shape a person. A snippet of the lyrics:

    I know they say you can’t go home again
    I just had to come back one last time
    Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam
    But these handprints on the front steps are mine…

    …If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
    Won’t take nothing but a memory
    From the house that built me.


    Happy Friday,



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    13 Responses to “The House that Built *Me*”

    • Jamie Koppersmith via Facebook

      Written on

      Very cool article, Heather. I remember visiting my old home 7 years ago with my baby girl in my arms. It wasn’t an amazing house architecturally but it was home. It may have informed me about what I Luke and don’t like about houses.

    • Jon Bunn

      Written on

      Fun post Heather… This post caused me to consider that my love of the industry came by moving around 18 times in 16 years in a town of only 40,000 people. My family wasn’t even Military! Keep up the good work.

    • Gina Chatham via Facebook

      Written on

      What a lovely story, Heather. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Lori Bee

      Written on

      I can so relate growing up in an old brick house built at approx 1900 in West Virginia. It really wasn’t that amazing as far as the architecture, but the stories it told… The old newspaper used as wallpaper and insulation during the depression, the stories we heard about squatters who lived there, the secret storage (we heard stories about the squatters & prohibition), and the infamous brass spittoon NAILED into the floor in my brother’s room under the carpet (What the heck?). It was a total mystery in so many ways.

      I remember on several occasions families coming back to see the house much as Miranda asked in the song. The amazing thing was, this was during my childhood in the 70’s & 80’s and my grandmother had lived in the house since 1947 ! I loved having one of them in particular, showing us a picture of the ornate Italian mural that was painted on the wall of my grandmother’s bedroom, that had been covered at some point by the newspaper & wall paper. It fascinated me that such artwork was under there somewhere.

      Wow, what a trip down memory lane… Thanks Heather for taking me on that stroll. Love ya.

      • admin

        Written on

        That’s awesome…reminds me of that HGTV show “If the Walls Could Talk”! I recall a couple of people coming by to revisit our home when I was little, too, telling stories of walls that had been later removed and such. Glad you enjoyed the post, I’m crediting Miranda for the inspiration. 🙂

    • Sex And Real Estate And The Future Of The Industry | Jeff Turner

      Written on

      […] If you made the time to read my first two posts about this book, The House As Beloved and House As The Perfect Mother, you already have a basis for understanding the major cultural reasons why buying a house is such an emotion filled process. “Buying or selling a home is very much a business transaction, but it’s still a very personal decision and experience,” Heather Elias wrote in The House That Built *ME*. […]

    • The Site That Heather Built -

      Written on

      […] When I present, teach a class, or give a Webinar I LOVE providing examples and scenarios that demonstrate the strategy being discussed. One of my most favorite and extraordinary examples of raising the bar in real estate has always been Heather Elias. […]


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    Michael and Heather Elias are full time real estate professionals and licensed REALTORS at Century 21 Redwood Realty. They sincerely hope you enjoy reading this blog, and would love the opportunity to work with you.

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