Perfect House, Perfect Spouse? How Finding Your Dream Home Is Like Dating
Do you prefer them long and narrow? Clean and well-maintained? With heavenly hardscapes and a nice backyard? Most women don’t know what they want in a home until they have explored their options. Sound familiar? Shopping for a home isn’t so different from dating, as I learned firsthand while trolling New York City for the perfect match. I ogled and objectified my way through Wall Street’s condominiums for one year, lacking a real sense for what I wanted, or rather, what I needed. Increasingly, the two concepts became distinct, pulled apart like taffy until they’d hardened into resolute towers of adjectives and declarative statements. I’m not even picking up the phone if it doesn’t have two bedrooms. No view? Don’t waste my time. These kinds of deal-breaker absolutisms eventually gave way to softer, more seasoned requirements, like, give me good fixtures and I can forego the tub, and if the association fees are fixed for five years, I can go higher on my monthly mortgage.
With the forming of this second list (my needs list), I was becoming savvier and more sophisticated — a woman of the real estate world. But damn! Early on in the process, I wish I’d had a fairy godmother, or better yet, an app to guide me. The entire home-buying journey was a soul-baring process that required unprecedented confidence and perseverance to prevail against scrutiny, disappointment, deception and, of course, rejection.
If dating and finding an apartment in New York City has taught me anything, it’s this: It doesn’t just happen. It takes knowing yourself and knowing what makes you happy, and knowing that no house will satisfy all of your hopes and dreams. And that’s OK. Like a great partner, the right home will likely fulfill needs you didn’t even know you had. The biggest challenge is being able to identify this match. Sometimes it is right under your nose, buried between the old haunts, the turnoffs and the plain lanes. Somewhere out there sits your house, and finding it will make all of those past heartaches worthwhile.