House hunting is like dating
Sept. 21, 2015
by Ivan Raconteur

After several peaceful years in the bachelor pad, I have begun the search for a new residence.

During this process, it occurred to me house hunting is a lot like dating.

There was a time, not so long ago, when if a person was looking for a house or a date, he relied on stumbling across a likely candidate by blind luck, or on the recommendation of a friend.

Today, however, one can shop for dates or houses online from the comfort of home.

It’s a fairly painless process to check out numerous profiles or listings online.

We can screen candidates based on age, size, and the features that are most important to us.

It is not necessary to spend time on models that are too old (or new). We don’t need to bother with any that have too much space, or not enough.

It’s interesting to note society has very different standards when it comes to age. People of any age can like houses of any age, and that is considered perfectly normal.

On the other hand, people are generally expected to stick with people of their own age group. When it comes to dating, if a young person likes old people, or if an older person likes young people, it might be considered creepy. We are more broad-minded regarding houses than we are with humans.

At any rate, we can do our research, and find out quite a lot about the candidate, house or human, online.

We can study photos without the risk of offending anyone. If we spend a lot of time studying people in public, we might make them uncomfortable.

After all of that research, if we find one that looks like it might have some of the magic we are dreaming of, we can check it out in person.

Realtors are essentially matchmakers. They listen, get to know us, and then try to hook us up with someone, or rather, someplace, that is likely to be a good fit.

When our Realtor calls and tells us about a place we might like, and asks if we’d like to see it, the situation feels a lot like when a friend says, “I know this girl, and I think you’d like to meet her . . .”

A showing is very similar to a first date. We know a little bit about what we are going to see, but we are anxious to see it for ourselves. We arrive with great expectations, and a healthy dose of curiosity.

I suppose one difference is that when we go to a showing of a house, we don’t need to worry about whether or not the structure will like us. Houses are indifferent. They don’t care if we are young or old, tall or short, fat or thin. Our sense of humor, or lack thereof, is of no interest to a house.

I don’t know how other people approach showings, but I am always optimistic. That might be difficult for some critics to believe, but it is so. I start out expecting to like the place, and add or subtract points based on what I find when I get there.

The degree of importance we place on this first meeting may vary based on what we are looking for. If we are casually checking out places that will fit our needs for a short time, we are probably going to be less critical than if we are looking for a long-term commitment.

We might visualize how compatible we are with the house. Perhaps we consider what our family and friends might think of it. Some shallow people might think about how the house might improve their image (or hurt it).

If we are looking for a long-term commitment, we might reflect on whether we can see ourselves and the house growing old together. Perhaps we’ll just sit together quietly for awhile to see if it feels comfortable.

It’s likely we will try to learn as much about the house as we can in a short period of time. With houses, as with people, there are certain intangible factors that may enter into the decision.

There are nearly always trade-offs. We balance the factors we like against those we don’t.

If we really like the layout, we will overlook other things. Similarly, if we find a person attractive, there is an acceptable level of crazy we might be willing to tolerate in a date.

If, after we have asked all our questions and looked at everything we can see, it still feels right, we may be prepared to take the next step, and put our relationship on a more permanent basis.

One thing is certain – with house hunting or relationships – if we rush into things, or fail to do our due diligence, there might well be consequences and repercussions. Our mistake could cost us a lot of money, and misery and misfortune might rain down upon us.

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