I am in the throes of house hunting, and during this process, I have realized an interesting truth about looking for a home. It mirrors dating exactly—complete with all the anxiety and roller coaster emotions. I have identified four steps of house dating, and I would love to share them with you.
Step One: The App
For many years, house hunting meant following the old tried and true method of driving through neighborhoods with real estate listings on your lap. However, in our era of apps, we have created the real estate dating app, realtor.com. The red house is just a click away on your smartphone. On this app, you swipe up and down, looking for the house that meets your standards. You plug your wishlist into the filter and watch the houses populate on your screen. When you like a house, you touch the heart, moving it into your favorites. Isn’t this about how dating apps work? Then, your realtor makes the first move and calls their realtor. “I’ll have my people call your people?” Is that still a thing? Then the dates are set up.
Step Two: The Dates
These are also known as “Showings.” On a showing, the owners put their best looks forward. They hire professional cleaners. They declutter. They hide all the messy stuff they can. The house looks like it has always dreamed. Just like a person on a first date. The similarities continue. A showing can be a little awkward. Maybe there are things you like, but there are other things that are too glaring to seriously consider seeing the house again. You move on to another house quickly. Other times, maybe one feature is so attractive, you overlook some detriments. You fall hard despite the red flags. I can speak from experience. We found a house with an unbelievably gorgeous sunroom with huge windows and white brick walls. I was hooked. So hooked that I ignored the tiny closet, the tiny master bath, and the tile I didn’t like. I kept dating the house. I went to a second showing. I brought my kids to meet the house (BIG STEP). They liked the house and even started calling it “mine.” We moved onto the next phase with huge smiles on our faces. I was sending pictures and the listing to all my friends, talking up how great our future with the house would be. Sound familiar?
Step Three: The Engagement Period
So, we really liked the house. Dare I say love? We made an offer. It was accepted. Congratulations! We were engaged! The engagement period began, also known as the “Inspection” phase. During this phase, things get more serious. You hang out in the house during the inspection for a couple hours, in which a professional looks into every nook and cranny. They investigate any problems and make sure everything works. It’s during this period that you have 10 days to walk away. This is in place to protect the buyers in case something is found during the inspection. But it’s also during this time that you invest a little more. You pay for the inspection. You begin to dream about spending your life in the house. You start shopping for furniture and making plans for moving in. For me, though, this period brought sleepless nights and lots of doubts. I reconsidered. The detriments that I ignored started to grow in my imagination. And…the day before our time was up, we backed out, which was pretty much the equivalent of breaking off the engagement a few weeks before the wedding. Inconvenient? Yes. Upsetting? A little. But a whole heck of a lot easier and cheaper than the divorce/buyer’s remorse after we had closed.
Step Four: The Wedding
This is the day of the closing. Papers are signed. Pictures are taken. A celebration usually happens with a meal. I remember when we went through that ordeal with our current house, which resulted in an awkward meal with my husband’s ex as our server (a story I’ll save for another day). I cannot wait for this day with our next home. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on my experience with this yet, because alas, we are still single, ahem, I mean, we are still house hunting.
Single Again and Starting Over
I’ve started all over with step one again. Swiping through realtor.com, looking for the right ones that catch my eye and meet my standards. Wish me luck, and if you know of a cute place that’s available, let me know!