6 Unexpected Things Real Estate Agents Say Should Spark Joy in Your Home

published Jan 8, 2020
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Who doesn’t love house hunting? The excitement of stepping into someone else’s world and seeing the possibilities of making it your own can be lots of fun. But spending time on the hunt for a new home can also be an important lesson in trusting your gut instincts. The place you choose should emanate positive vibes, and as Marie Kondo might say, have elements that “spark joy.”

It’s not just the obvious things, like a walk-in closet or a sparkling swimming pool, that make our hearts swell. (Not that we’d turn those down.) We asked a few real estate agents to weigh in on the unexpected things that should spark joy in your home—for you and for potential buyers.


“The good feelings that a house evokes can’t easily be quantified, but they certainly offer inherent value,” says Matt Dolan, a Realtor with Team Harborside, Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Massachusetts. He says anything that triggers a sense of nostalgia tends to receive a positive response. “Spaces that make people nostalgic can be instant joy sparkers. One client fell for a home with a quiet sitting area that reminded her of a room at her sweet grandmother’s house,” Dolan says.

A fireplace

Everyone wants to embrace hygge, and that’s why having a spot to cozy up tends to spark major joy in prospective buyers, says Sarah Maguire of the Maguire Group at Compass. “Having a gas or wood burning fireplace really evokes a warm, inviting feeling,” Maguire says. “This allows potential buyers to envision themselves gathered with family enjoying the holiday season. Once buyers start to envision their own belongings in a home, it’s usually a good sign!”


“The room that gets just the right amount of natural sunlight,” says Ed Deveau, a realtor with Century 21 Mario Real Estate in Boston. “It’s totally cliché, but it’s the stuff that really makes a house a home that should spark joy.”

Open windows

If you’re selling a home in the spring or summer, the power of an open window can also instantly improve the mood. “The more windows, the better,” says Maguire. “Nothing feels better than the first few warm days of spring after a long cold winter, especially in New England.  Opening the windows and allowing potential buyers to get some fresh air on their skin should put almost everyone in an instant good mood.”

A singular feature

The aspirational quality of a home tends to make people happy, too. “People get excited about a home when it represents the lifestyle they want to have,” says Dolan. “Some may want a swanky loft to throw swanky parties, others may want a family-friendly neighborhood and a close-knit community, and others might desire a cozy condo to enjoy retirement. Depending on the person, something as simple as a butcher block counter, a cobblestone walkway, or a cheerful entryway could seal the deal.”

Quirky imperfections

Even the things that may be labeled as imperfections could serve as positives for your home, says Deveau. “It’s those homey characteristics that really warm hearts. A nick or a notch on an old staircase that has a terrific story behind it,” he says. “Those are the first things people point out to me when I’m in their home, not the Viking appliances.”