2006-05-07


Straight from the hearth

Lately I have been casually looking for a chateau, a new place with a good perch to view the stars. And it strikes me how similar house-hunting is to dating. You keep your eyes open, show a little interest and the interaction begins.

In each case, let's face it, looks are usually the first thing that catches the attention. And soon after, traits like personality (warm and inviting), interests (recreation and shopping nearby), job and social status (location, location, location, preferably in a good neighbourhood), and salary (a solid investment) become the focus.

And as with the buzz of excitement over a new flame, often hopes are dashed with the first real get-to-know-you session. (Hmmm, this is nothing like the photo ... the roof is missing some shingles, the street is really noisy and the backyard is kind of funny-shaped.) In these little dramas the real estate agent plays the role of matchmaker, like the best friend of the prospective paramour who trumpets all the virtues and plays down any shortcomings. (Well, yes, the master bathroom may be a little small, but don't you love the walk-in closets?) Maybe we're intrigued enough to arrange a second viewing or, if truly curious, a third one. After a while, the inevitable question arises: is this where I belong? Or should I keep looking?

To stretch the analogy a little, renting is sort of like living together, while buying a place is akin to getting hitched. And we all know about the seven-year itch. Like that attractive new co-worker who appears out of nowhere, sometimes an enticing development with granite countertops and a spacious deck springs up just down the street.

If, like me, you're thinking of moving on to a new abode, you must decide whether the grass is truly greener in the verdant garden of that beckoning property. Or is it worth the trouble and expense of starting over?

My place is kind of small, has too many stairs and no backyard. But I now realize I would miss my house. I enjoy seeing the big maple tree blossom, like the way the sun hits my bay window mid-morning, and have become fond of the quirky, lighthouse-like layout. Maybe, as with any relationship of nine years, mine just needs some renewed love and attention.

7 comments:

PhilG said...

Maybe if you temporarily hung some new drapes or changed the carpeting a bit you could fantasize you're in a different house. Might spice up your living arrangements to your liking...

coyote said...

Sounds like something that could work, as long as the old place isn't the Unbearable Lighthouse of Being....

Agatha said...

Yes, it's not all in the curbside appeal, is it, IO?

The Independent Observer said...

Indeed not, Aggie. In my real estate research, I have come across theories about how men and women differ in their thoughts on a prospective purchase or the home they share. Women value intimate spaces like the sunlight window seat where they can ponder life, or the memories attached to certain rooms. Men seek a vista, as in the pleasing view from the picture window. Seems a bit simplistic to me, but there you go.

4th Dwarf said...

I had breakfast on Saturday with a former real estate agent and he told me that when you're dealing with a couple, "the husband sells the old house, the wife buys the new one".

I don't know if that's relevant to this discussion. All I know about house shopping is that I always start in the basement. If there's no water damage, I'll look at the rest of the house. If there is, I don't waste my time.

Agatha said...

4D, I really don't want to know how the basement inspection might apply to IO's house buying/dating connection.

The Chair said...

With me, it's all about the feng shui of whatever room I end up in. It's challenging with any house to have good feng shui in all rooms. One must live with the inevitable trade-offs. Kitchen and bedrooms are the most important. Bathroom after that.