The Biophysics of Home Ownership

After spending years on the sidelines of conversations between real estate professionals, I know you guys like to talk shop just as much as I enjoy nerding out about grammar and publishing platforms with fellow writers and editors. People who are passionate about their craft want to share thoughts and ideas with others in the same position. (Also, it keeps us from constantly boring our partners and non-industry friends by talking about stuff they may not be quite so passionate about, am I right?)

Photo: Greg Rakozy, 2015 (Unsplash)

Photo: Greg Rakozy, 2015 (Unsplash)

That’s why I recommend picking up Matt Parker’s Real Estate Smart: What Your House Does to Your Life, and Why You Should Learn About It. From the title, it’s clear that Parker’s self-published book is targeted at consumers. He positions it as something home buyers should read when they’re trying to decide whether they should buy their own domicile, and what they should be looking for. It offers a great deal of deep thinking in terms of how our homes define our lives and bodies (alongside research references to back it up). But it’s important to recognize that the book is also something of a manifesto from Parker, as he seeks to convince readers of his points of view on purchasing real estate (don’t buy more square footage than you need, put health and well-being first, etc.)

And that’s all well and good, but I’m more interested in what makes it worth reading for you as a real estate professional. As a new home owner, of course I found myself reflecting on his points as a reference for how my home might influence my future. But as someone who writes for the real estate industry, I found Parker to be the type of thinker with whom I’d like to sit down and debate important issues facing property ownership at large. These two points of view merge when Parker emphasizes some of the smart practices you should urge your buyers to undertake before they make an offer, such as walking around the neighborhood, and paying close attention to the amount of greenery, noise, and amenities around a house. He does some really novel math with the downsizing argument, offering up equations that purport to measure the amount of money, time, and energy that each extra square foot of space will cost a person. He also makes some very interesting observations about real estate niches he’s had contact with (he explains why it’s hard to find modestly-sized new construction and why you should avoid waterfront property in areas where neighbors are likely to have inherited their property, for example). Overall, it’s fascinating food for thought, even if certain parts come off as a bit random. After all, every good conversation has to be allowed to ramble a bit!

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

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  1. Sounds like a great book to recommend to buyers, especially first-time homebuyers. Perhaps agents should keep a few copies handy as gifts to those on-the-fence buyers who seem to take months or years to make the decision to buy, as an unique way to keep in touch.