As we are approaching (or depending on when you’re reading this, perhaps in the middle of) the holiday season, I thought it would be appropriate to tell a real estate-related fable—enjoy!

Once upon a time, there was a cute Cape Cod on a quiet side street in a bustling little city, a three bedroom/two bath charmer with nearly 1800 square feet on a ¼-acre lot, great schools and many recent upgrades—but that’s not important. For you see, inside the wood-sided, big-windowed home lived a mom and a dad, a boy and a girl, and a friendly puppy name Jack.

As time went on, both the boy and the girl had birthday parties and sleepovers, and there were lots of baseball players and ballerinas. Jack noticed the mom often enjoyed a cup of coffee or two in the mornings on the back porch, and the dad—after getting down on the floor to play with him and the boy and the girl—would often work in the study in the evenings. Sometimes the mom and the dad would have long conversations. And sometimes they looked…worried.

But then one day, the dad came home from work, and he was very excited. He told the mom and the boy and the girl some wonderful news! The mom seemed happy but also a little sad. And the boy and the girl both went to their rooms and were very quiet for a while. And then, a few days later, there was a strange sign in the front yard. Jack noticed he would have to go for a ride in the car, or for a walk around the block, a lot more often than normal. And the house seemed to be a lot cleaner and neater than usual.

Then one night, the mom and the dad had a guest who had a folder full of papers. She had a long conversation with the mom and the dad, and when she left, she gave the mom a hug and the dad a handshake. Then they had a talk with the boy and the girl. The girl cried a little, and the boy just sat quietly with his head down and his hands in his lap. But the mom and the dad gave them both a big hug, and they cried a little too. After that, everyone seemed to feel a little better.

A few weeks went by, and Jack noticed some of the family’s things were getting packed up. All the family photos came down off the wall, and soon the garage was filled with boxes. Then one day, a bunch of men came with a big truck and loaded everything in the house into the truck. The woman who had come with the folder came back and took away the sign in the yard. She gave the whole family a hug, patted Jack on the head, and then she drove away.

The big truck with all the family’s things also drove away.

And then the mom and the dad, and the boy and the girl, all stood in the empty living room. They talked, and then they laughed, and then they cried. And then they laughed again. Then they all quietly looked around one last time, before they walked out and closed the door. They put Jack into his crate and backed out of their driveway. And after a long, long drive, they pulled into a strange, new driveway. The driveway of a strange, new house.

The moral of the story is this: every home tells a story. Every home IS a story. While real estate often focuses on the properties themselves, at the heart, it’s really about the stories told within the walls we buy and sell. So this holiday season, may you and the ones you love tell (and retell) some great ones.

From my family to yours, I wish you all the best!

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By Dan Vollmer