And most of the responses had one thing in common.
What makes a house a home?
It’s a question that’s often on the minds of new homeowners or tenants as they start to furnish their spaces with trinkets and treasures, seek out the finishings to complete their renovation or invite loved ones over to visit. It’s also one that RE/MAX has been exploring over the past few months.
This fall, the real estate company launched a contest asking people in Western Canada to think about what qualities make their homes feel sweeter, and how those qualities could be shared with their communities. To enter, participants had to record a short video of themselves explaining what makes their home unique.
Since then, the responses have poured in. Overwhelmingly, the common thread in their answers was their loved ones — family, friends and furry critters they share their homes with.
Of the 15,000 submissions, the winning video selected via random draw was from Glory Hartmann, a Vancouver resident. Hartmann had just sold her house in Winnipeg the day that she entered the contest, with the help of RE/MAX Realtor Dave Johnson. For her, the timing makes it feel like this was all meant to be. As the winner of the contest, she received a $500 gift card to Home Depot to make her family’s space even sweeter.
Some of the entries were inspired in part by Vancouver-based musician, Kyprios, who recorded a spoken-word video for the campaign. Working with RE/MAX, Kyprios positioned the material aspects of a home — square footage, a room with a view, a backyard pool — in contrast with values that transform an empty house into a place of love and respect.
“You can build a house. You can’t build a home,” Kyprios recites. “Because values, responsibility, community and culture are homegrown.”
As a musician and poet, Kyprios pays great attention to the importance of word choice, and how different phrases reflect our truest emotions. In the behind-the-scenes video for the “Home Sweeter Home” project, he discusses how the way we talk about where we live carries meaning beyond the words themselves.
“Nobody says ‘there’s no place like house,’” Kyprios shares. “A house you can buy and sell. You can build it and tear down a house. But when it comes to family and to being raised and learning the fundamentals of being respectful and loving and giving and nurturing, those are the qualities that you learn in a home.”
The clip below also shows Kyprios in the recording studio, putting down the track for RE/MAX’s final video.
If these contest submissions have taught us anything, it’s that personal values far outweigh material possessions when it comes to making your home your own. Whether you’re looking for a new place to rent or finally settling into your forever home, remember that where you live is more than a house or a condo. It’s the home cooking and stories you share around the kitchen table, neighbours that feel like family, the greeting you receive from your furry friend when you come home, or your kid’s most cherished childhood memories.