These days, the process of looking for a new home, whether to rent or to buy, is very similar to looking for the one we want to date, mate or even marry.
I just discovered that looking for a new house is very much like looking for a new boyfriend (not the casual Saturday night date, but when you’re earnestly looking for “the one” — that long-term relationship). Yes, cruising Westside Rentals or zillow.com is just like being on match.com. You log in, you study the photos, the year it was built, what neighborhood it’s in, you read the descriptions and try to figure out if this one could be the one for you.
You have your list of must-haves: garage, backyard, dishwasher and then you decide which ones to meet … I mean see. Then you review your notes, pull yourself together, remind yourself of your mission (to find a home you can make a commitment to) and go see if the house you saw online measures up to its online profile.
Usually, one of three things happen when you’re looking for the one:
1. As soon as you arrive, your heart sinks. You wish you could just drive by and not even stop. But the realtor you spoke to is waiting there and they have your phone number and there’s nothing you can do but make it as quick and painless as possible. And yes, it’s just as terrible as you already realized it would be — but you’re polite and take the tour and dismiss yourself as soon as you can, aghast that someone thinks you or anyone else would ever live in such a place.
2. You arrive and feel hopeful. It’s not exactly what you were looking for, but you rationalize that your expectations were probably unrealistic anyway. You imagine how it could be improved — doable ways. The house does have potential and maybe with a new carpet or the right window treatments — a little work on your part —and it could become something you might actually love. You see a few of these and lay in bed at night weighing the pros and cons, telling yourself it wouldn’t really be settling.
3. What a beauty! It’s exactly what you dreamed of finding. All the essentials are there. It feels like home, it’s almost affordable, it’s in a great neighborhood and you can immediately see your life unfolding happily inside this house. It’s a match. You make an earnest effort to fill out your application, revealing all of your personal information and profess your love. Then you get the call — they’ve decided on somebody else — or maybe they changed their mind and want to stay off the market (not ready for a commitment). For whatever reason, you wanted it but it didn’t want you.
Now I’ve always been a renter. Maybe it’s a sign of being singular (avoiding those 30-year commitments) but there are many times that my relationships have lasted a decade or more (with men and with rented homes). And now that I’m looking again, I’m struck by the obvious similarity to dating. Especially when there’s a deadline to move, that ticking clock, and the need to find “the one” before the lease ends (or in the case of dating, before your eggs dry up). The entire process can be so depressing!
Postscript: Well, I’m happy to say, I did find my new house and I love it. The first time we met, I liked it but it didn’t strike me as being “the one.” But I went back, spent some time there and fell in love.
I don’t feel like I’m settling for something less than what I wanted — which isn’t to say the house is perfect, but it is to say that I can love it completely, even with its imperfections which I see as “character” even though I’m sure others might call them flaws.
Maybe this too is a fitting dating metaphor. It’s not about finding the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend (or house). It’s about finding the right one for you, one you can love and appreciate because of the things that make them special and unique – even if the relationship might not last forever.
Copyright © 2013 Kim Calvert/Singular Communications, LLC