10 Homeownership Traditions With a Twist

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Becoming a homeowner is a really big deal, whether it’s your first time or hundredth time. But some of the big moments can fly by before you know it. It’s important to take time to commemorate those milestones and be proud of your accomplishments. We found some homeownership traditions from around the world and decided to give them a more modern twist to help you make the most out of your time in your home. Which one are you most excited to try?!

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1. Pick a lucky day to move in

Most cultures have very strict rules about which numbers and months are lucky or unlucky. Some even dictate that certain weather can be a good or bad omen. When a closing date for the sale of a home is selected, these factors aren’t usually considered. However, if it happens to land on your most unlucky number, you can always postpone the move-in to a date that works for you. We recommend taking a personal day and moving in on a Friday, ideally a nice and sunny one! But don’t be discouraged if your only option is an unlucky date. Instead, use this as an opportunity to make that date special. Your “home-iversary” can be celebrated every year to remember the day you accomplished something truly spectacular.

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2. Let a cat or a cow enter the home first

In Russia, its considered good luck to let a cat enter a new home before its owners. In India, they have a similar tradition, but with a cow instead of a cat. Most likely you don’t have a pet cow that will be living with you in your new home, but a more common pet is pretty likely. Moving is going to be a big transition for them, and they’re going to need your help acclimating. Instead of having the pet enter the home first, maybe bring their bed or a toy in ahead of time so they have something familiar to find when they arrive. Remember that it is important to make sure all members of the family feel at home. After all, it wouldn’t feel like home without them.

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3. Never bring an old broom into a new home

There is a Feng Shui principle which states that you should leave your old broom behind when moving into a new home. The idea is that you don’t want to carry “dirt” from one house to the next. We highly recommend taking this a step further. From a practicality standpoint, keeping a home clean is usually a habit we could all get a little better at. When a house is empty, that is the perfect time to set yourself up for success in building better habits. Take stock of where the best place will be to house your cleaning supplies. Gather everything you’ll need. Then when move-in day comes, you’ll be prepared! The best part is, you can reap the benefits of this habbit long past move-in day, opening up more time to really enjoy the home.


4. Light a candle or burn sage

Almost every culture has a “purifying” tradition when moving into a new home. Some will shine a light in all the corners to guide the spirits away. Others will light bundles of sage to rid the air of the previous occupants, allowing you to claim it as your own. Our suggestion would be to pick a scent that always makes you feel at home. If candles or sage aren’t your thing, maybe try an air freshener or even baking your grandma’s famous cookies. Whatever you plan to do, be sure to do it safely!

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5. Plant a pomegranate or orange tree in the front of the house

According to Greek mythology pomegranates are a symbol of fertility, as they have hundreds of seeds in just one fruit. In China, orange trees are considered lucky because the word “orange” sounds extremely similar to the word for “wealth.” Whether your ambition is to raise a family or find career success while in this home, we can’t guarantee that certain plants will be able to bring that for you. But the outside of your home is the first thing you and guests will see, so designing it to your taste is imperative in making a house feel like home. Make a plan of what you like, what will grow in your zone, your level of sun or shade, and how to care for them until they are established enough to live on their own. Need some help? Reach out to your local nursery for pointers. They may even introduce you to things you would have never considered!

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6. Throw a “pendre la crémaillère”

You’re probably asking, “what is a pendre la crémaillère?” In French, it literally translates to “hanging of the chimney hook.” This may possibly be the origins of a housewarming party. The idea was to invite everyone who helped build the home over for a thank-you meal and to all take part in the final step – hanging the chimney hook! While its very likely you didn’t physically build your home, there were certainly people who helped you on your way to it who would love to celebrate with you. Maybe your parents helped with a down payment, or a nephew did all the painting, or your Realtor and her team helped you get a great deal while making sure the entire process was seamless and fun *wink wink.* If your lucky enough to have a fireplace, have the group gather around to welcome in your future with warmth and good food (as long as you’ve had a proper inspection, and everything is good to go)!

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7. Bring a loaf of bread and salt, or a festive gelatin mold

It’s always nice to bring a new neighbor a housewarming gift. An old Bulgarian tradition is to bring an elaborately molded loaf of bread and salt to a new homeowner. The bread would say “may your home always be bountiful” and the salt would say “may your life here be full of flavor.” America decided to do things a little differently by bringing new neighbors a fancy molded gelatin when Jell-O became more popular and accessible after WWII. They are also a safe bet for people who may have nut or gluten allergies. You may have noticed this tradition fall a little out of fashion. Instead, stop by beforehand and ask if anyone has any dietary restrictions before making your world-famous chocolate chip cookies. You could even avoid food all together and bring by something practical like helpful information about the town, a list of your favorite nearby restaurants, or fresh cut flowers. Any neighborly gesture at all will help them feel more at home.

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8. Paint your door red once you’ve paid off the mortgage

We’re always a fan of any excuse to give a front door a fresh coat of paint. But the Irish have a tradition to paint the front door red once the mortgage has been paid off to indicate that you’re “out of the red.” Of course, a red door isn’t for everyone or every home. But this is a huge achievement to commemorate. So paint your door whatever color you choose or have a celebratory dinner. Whatever you do, make sure you take the time to acknowledge this milestone!

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9. If building the home, put coins in the foundation

Builders, possibly as old as roman times, would put coins somewhere in the foundations of their buildings. In some cultures, it was in the hope of gaining wealth. For others, it was to serve almost as a time capsule, so if it were ever to be discovered, a small piece of the home’s history and the people who built it would be remembered. If you’re building your own home from scratch, or even if you’re doing work to an existing home, don’t forget to leave your calling card. You will always be a part of that home’s history, and it could be an interesting nugget for someone else to come across in the future.

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10. Leave the home through the same door you first came through

Another Irish tradition is to make sure you leave your home for the last time through the same door you initially came though. If you leave out a different door, you take the home’s luck out with you. We’re not going to get into the moral debate of stealing the luck out of a home. That’s for another day. But we do like the idea of remembering the early days of homeownership when that journey is coming to an end. We suggest taking a photo or video of you entering the home for the first time. How fun would it be to have that image alongside a recreation upon leaving the home for good. We could think of no better way to bookend this memorable relationship between home and homeowner!

Homeownership usually comes with a lot of milestones. Taking the time to acknowledge them often helps the memories last longer. We hope that these suggestions inspire you to make the most of every moment you spend in your homes. Do you have any traditions that you’d like to share? Reach out and let us know! We’d love to spread the word to the rest of the Donna Lerner Family!


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