House hunting and spouse hunting are more similar than you might think…
Both processes are filled with uncertainty, doubt and emotional upheaval. It’s a journey that can force the most centered person to question who they are and what they want in life. One day your hopes might be so high and in your heart you know that this is ‘the one’. Then the next day you see unfix-able flaws and realize you have to move on. You’re jealous of all of the people who have successfully navigated the journey and wonder how they did it. Were they discriminating or more open minded? Were they decisive? Or were they just lucky?
If you’ve been through the process of buying a home, you have probably experienced some (or all) of the sentiments above. You have to admit it – finding a home is a lot like dating.
What is fortunate about buying a house is that you don’t have to make a lifetime commitment. Most home owners stay in their house for an average of 5-7 years – and then they start this process all over again.
Here are 7 truths about the search for love and the search for real estate.
1. WHAT YOU SEE ONLINE IS NOT REAL.
It can be fun and convenient to search from the comfort of your home, but the information presented online often raises our hopes with the promise of something that does not actually exist in real life. Nobody uploads a bad photograph. Online, people are younger and thinner, and homes are larger. Every description or profile is ad copy. The only way to really know if a home or person is the right match for you is the old-fashioned way: face to face.
2. QUALITY INVENTORY IS LIMITED.
On the surface, it may seem like there are a lot of options, but a closer examination reveals that quality inventory is limited. Sometimes you have to sift through a lot of coal to find the diamonds.
3. YOU MAY NEED TO COMPROMISE, BUT YOU MUST NEVER SETTLE.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if only you had more money or better credentials, you could get everything you want. The truth is that even buyers with unlimited budgets compromise on something. The same is true in dating. The key to moving forward is to know what you value most, and refuse to settle on what’s really important.
4. “PERFECT ON PAPER” DOESN’T ALWAYS MEAN “WORKS IN REAL LIFE.”
Sometimes, everything lines up on paper. The home seems to meet every criteria on my client’s wish list. The guy (or girl) sounds perfect. You schedule an in-person visit with your hopes high, only to discover that this is not what you wanted.
5. YOU’LL PROBABLY FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMETHING THAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR.
This is the corollary to #4, above. How many times have you heard about people who fell in love with a person or home that — on the surface — did not meet any of their criteria? I see it happen all the time with my clients, and it proves that the only way to know if something is really a match is to experience it in person.
6. YOU MUST BE APPROVED.
Even when both parties are committed, a lot of other people need to weigh in and approve the “deal” before it can move forward. You’ll need approval from the bank; the appraiser has to agree that the price is right; the home inspector must make sure it’s safe. And don’t forget to get the opinions of your friends and family.
7. YOU CAN’T CONTROL THE TIMING.
There is no set amount of time that must pass between when you start looking and when you find your home or mate. It can happen on the first day or your search, or when you’re not even looking. Sometimes, we dismiss an option only to discover later that it was really what we wanted; we simply did not know it at the time or we weren’t yet ready for it.
And a bonus:
Throw away your pro/con lists and your spreadsheets, and listen to your heart. It will steer you to the best investment every time.