My husband and I have been looking at houses since February. It’s been an interesting process. The market where we live in the Portland area is absolutely crazy. Prices are high and there’s a lot of competition (like one house we looked at got 16 offers in one weekend). Despite that, we found one on Monday, put in an offer Tuesday and got the offer accepted on Wednesday. Assuming our inspection goes well this coming Wednesday, we will be first time home owners! It’s pretty exciting!
One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the language and the way that we talk about house hunting is very similar to how we talk about dating. In honor of this, I’ve compiled this short list of ways that house hunting is like spouse hunting. This is not theological at all really, but if you are or have ever house or spouse hunted, I hope you find it amusing.
1. People keep telling you you’re bound to find “the one”.
This is a weird phenomenon to me. Even our some of the relators we met with used this language. They talk about finding “your perfect home” or “your dream house”. Just as in the spouse hunt, this language really sets the bar high for a house, maybe to an unrealistic level. It’s definitely unrealistic when you’re like my husband and I and this is your starter home in a crazy market where we’re lucky to get a house with four walls for our price point. Whether you’re hunting a spouse or a house, life is not a fairy tale and things will never be absolutely perfect, so don’t expect that.
2. You go on awkward dates.
That’s really what looking at a house is. You spend a miniscule amount of time in a house and from those 10-15 minutes of looking at the house’s surface, you’re supposed to decide if you want to live there for the next 5-10 years. You can even go on a group date (or maybe a speed date?) by going to an open house. That’s even weirder because you’re looking at everyone else wondering if they’re going to try to steal this house from you while you’re still trying to figure out whether or not you like the thing. It’s kind of awkward. You do get better at this though, just like in real dating. You can start to tell earlier and earlier if you think house is going to be worth your time or not. That doesn’t make it any less awkward though.
3. It’s a complicated and expensive process to seal the deal.
I’m not sure which is worse: planning a wedding or attempting to close on a house. With the house, you at least have mandatory pre-marital counseling in the form of an inspection where they tell you all the things that could potentially be wrong with the house and how much extra money you’re going to spend fixing it. You don’t have to sign as many documents with wedding planning, so that’s a plus in that column. I’m pretty sure Zach and I signed away any of our future children on our first deal, which ended up falling through. Despite that, someone will probably still be showing up when we have our first kid to claim it.
Here’s something both closing and wedding planning have in common: you have no idea how many little things you’re expected to pay for until you’re in the process. Both have the potential to nickel and dime you to death.
4. You keep waiting for some sort of sign that this one is right for you.
Ugh, I thought I was done with this unpleasant experience after I got married, but here I am again looking for “signs” while looking at houses. This house matches the glasses my sister got me for Christmas, surely that means this is the one. Oh wait, this house reminds me of my grandpa’s house, surely this is the one. Better yet, someone in my small group said something really spiritual that totally reminded me of this house. It must be this one! God has decreed it! Those are all actually things I thought were signs and we didn’t end up getting any of those houses. Once again, I’m reminded that looking for signs is sometimes more silly than helpful. Not to say God doesn’t use signs to speak to us, but we shouldn’t try to stretch it (which I am often very guilty of).
5. Everybody has a different story.
As I’ve been telling people about my husband’s and I’s house hunting adventures, everyone in turn tells me their house hunting story (or stories). Guess what, just like when people tell you their love stories, they’re all different. You can’t expect your story to look like anyone else’s. However, the differences of those stories have been encouraging and even gave us some new ideas of how we could actually find a house in a super competitive market (getting a house before it’s actually officially listed, which is what we ended up doing). Stories are always a good thing, as long as you don’t try to make your story fit someone else’s.
6. Walking away is hard.
We had a house and got an offer accepted on it in February and then we had to walk away because there were too many extra repairs found in the inspection. It was so sad! It totally reminded me of my first (and only) break up. We had started to dream and plan what life in the house could look like and were visualizing our future kids playing in the backyard. It was heartbreaking for those dreams to die overnight. I even had a “what the crap are you up to” conversation with God afterwards. It worked out (we’re now in the process of closing on a different, more structurally sound house), but still it was sad. I didn’t realize how emotional I would get about it until it happened.
7. Feelings are important, but not always most important.
This is one of the hardest things. You want to be excited about the house you get, but you also don’t want to be too emotionally attached as you’re house hunting. You also have to be practical, just like in real relationships. A house (or a person) might be perfect for you, but if it’s in the wrong part of the city (or country) and you can’t move or if it’s way out of your budget, you probably shouldn’t make an offer.
The whole feeling thing can really mess with you too. I was slightly hesitant to put an offer on the one we’re buying because it didn’t give me warm fuzzies. It’s a good house and we’re getting it at a good price and it’s in a good location, but it didn’t bring butterflies to my stomach like some of the others we looked at that were less practical. Do I think we made the right choice? Yes (We’ll find out for sure Wednesday at the inspection). Do I wish I had warm fuzzies about it? Yes. Does a lack of warm fuzzies mean anything? I don’t necessarily think so. You shouldn’t pursue a house (or person) that you can’t stand, but you also shouldn’t make feelings the main thing. They are, after all, fickle things.
8. In the end, you probably have several good options and God will work with any of them.
My philosophy on houses and spouses is the same. I don’t think God has “just one” out there for you and if you don’t find it you’re doomed to an unhappy, terrible life. God doesn’t really work that way. He’s a God of second, third, and hundredth chances. It doesn’t seem likely that he would base all your happiness on one decision. Once you make the decision, God wants you to stick with it, but he’s got a plan A, B, C, and Z for you no matter what choice you make. You should be wise whether looking for a spouse or a house and you should definitely seek God’s counsel, but you should recognize that you have choice in the matter too. God never dooms us to failure. He’s always showing us grace.
If you’ve bought a house or are house hunting or if you’re dating, do you have any more examples of how house hunting and spouse hunting are similar? Share them below!