Over the years I’ve noticed that house hunting shares many similarities with dating. With dating, you look for someone that catches your eye, that you can enjoy spending time with, and hope that, as time goes on, that person becomes your forever love. Dating is all about finding the match. Such it is with house hunting.
Think about it: When you are in the dating arena, how do you meet new people? Maybe you do a little searching online, maybe your friends make recommendations, and you frequent certain restaurants or social activities, all in the name of meeting new, interesting people. When house hunting, we do the same thing. We scour websites like Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com. We talk to our friends to see if they know of any houses in our desired location and to be on the look-out for something new, and we venture out to open houses and drive around neighborhoods hoping to see a sign in a yard.
Starting out in the dating world takes a little preparation. You have to have the mindset that you are ready for this, and that it’s going to be fun sometimes, and challenging at other times. Maybe before you put yourself out there, you decide to lose a couple pounds or get a new haircut. Maybe you buy some new clothes. When you are starting the home buying process, you have to be equally as prepared. You have to get pre-approved by a lender, make sure the savings account has a little extra cushion, and choose the Realtor® you want to work with. As with everything in life, a little preparation builds the confidence needed to move forward.
After meeting some people and spending time with them, you start to learn the traits you like and those you don’t. You are able to quickly evaluate if this person has potential or not. This is also true for house hunting. After a few showings, you feel a little more comfortable with the type of space you want, whether it be a ranch or a two story, if you need a walk-out basement or no basement, if some work needed is okay or if you need it to be turn-key, and if you are really okay with one and a half baths instead of two. When you grow more confident in what you are looking for, your search will narrow and become more laser-focused. This is good because you know what you need, but it can also be frustrating if you can’t quite find what meets those needs.
This is where patience comes in to play. Like dating, new listings come on the market every day. Some will meet your needs, most will not. But the ones that warrant a “date”, will make you feel hopeful. As you’re getting ready for the showing, you think to yourself, “On paper, this house has everything I’m looking for.” Once you’re in the home, you start to wonder if this is the one you can get serious with. You think, “Am I comfortable enough with this one to meet my friends? Can I hang out and be myself? What will my family think? Do I see myself being able to weather the good and bad times with this one? Most importantly, is this the best match for me?”
Every date and every showing is preparation for the next. You take the good and bad from each one and apply it to your search. Finally, when you get to the point of making a decision on “the one”, it will feel easy and exciting, instead of exasperating and confusing. It won’t feel like you are trying to force anything to work because suddenly you feel at peace with your match. The right match is out there, and as long as you can be patient, it will find its way into your life. And when that finally happens, you’ll realize it was worth the journey and the wait.