The houses in astrology describe where the action is going to take place.
The houses qualify and define the different areas of your life, and enable you to know when events will take place and what they will entail. Each house is assigned to a specific area, [which you will read more about below in the keyword section]. For example, the 2nd house is money and the fifth house is romance and dating.
When you go out to buy or rent a home you can tell quite a bit about the house by location, size, building materials, and neighbors. So too, each house has its own characteristics based on the sign on the cusp, the planets in the house, and the aspects with other planets. [This does not mean that each house is related to a building of some sort; this is only an analogy.]
Think of the sign on the cusp as the street on which the house is located and the size and materials. It may be a large mansion or a small cottage, it may be on a busy street, a cul-de-sac, near the water, near a university, or on a mountain. For instance, Aries is a busy sign, always moving ahead and if it is on the 2nd, money may come and go quickly, and you may not pay much attention to it, however, if Sagittarius is on the 2nd, money and possessions are expansive, you may have a lot of money or large expensive things, and you want to enjoy them. If Sagittarius is on the 4th house cusp you may prefer living in a large house, and feel too confined in a small house. On the cusp of the 3rd Sagittarius likes large cars.
The planets are like the people who live in the house and how they act. The Moon in the 4th house brings constant changes in the home and often frequent moves, when it is in the 2nd house money fluctuates, either incoming or outgoing.
Aspects between the planets in the houses tell how they will react to each another. Do you get along with your neighbors, or do they cause upsets? Look at the aspects between the planets in the 1st and the third house. How do you get along with your co-workers? Look at the relationships between the 1st and the 6th houses. Is your car always breaking down? Study the planets in the 3rd house. Do you spend a large portion of your money on health care? Look at the relationship between the 2nd house to the 1st and the 6th. You may have to dig a little deeper, and go further than just the planets in the houses to get this information. You may also have to look at the ruler of the house.
The sign on each cusp is associated with a planet that rules the sign. See my article on Signs. This is a very important piece that is frequently missed by beginning astrologers. The ruler of the cusp further describes the house and what will happen, and is often more important than the planets located in the house when making forecasts.