One of the pitfalls of falling in love with someone is that we
perceive them in a particular way. However, a fact of life is that our
perception may not be reality, which may be among the reasons our nation has a
divorce rate of over 50%.
However, when you fall in love with a house your perception can become a reality through the magic of home renovation. You can knock down walls, put in a new kitchen, or rewire the house. Sometimes, all you need is a coat of paint and some window treatments.
But if you have foresight and vision, and the most vital ingredient -- money -- you can redesign to your heart's content. So while our loved ones tend to remain as they are, our homes can be redesigned.
With that seemingly simple solution in mind, consider this warning: when you go hunting for a home, avoid immediate romantic entanglements. Don't fall in love the minute you walk through the door. Don't twirl around in circles of ecstasy when the real estate agent is watching you.
First, it's embarrassing. Second, it means the agent knows you like it and that you're likely to pay the full asking price.
Instead, treat the property like a perspective spouse. Sure it looks good. And the real estate agent is the matchmaker. She sees the stars in your eyes, and now she's going to get you two together in the love match of the century.
This may be a good thing, or it may not. But the only way to determine this is to back off.
So after you've given the house a thorough tour, after you've seen the inside, the outside, and planned where your furniture will fit, walk out the door and go for a drive. Talk to your spouse, something you may not have been doing enough of lately. Here's your chance to relearn the art of conversation--especially if you're a guy.
Listen to each other. Really listen. Because your spouse may see something you missed--it may be huge (like that stain on the living room ceiling under the master bath which may mean a $15,000 bathroom rehab), or it may be nothing at all. Or it may be something really terrific, like a tankless hot water heater hiding on the garage wall.
So go have lunch. Maybe see a couple of other properties. Take a deep breath. Then, if your heart is still fluttering, go back in for a second look. If it still looks just as good, walk outside again and take a closer look at the foundation and the roof.
If the house still looks good, and you're both in agreement, make an offer. That aspect of home buying is a dance of its own, which I'll talk about in a future blog.