You might have heard that saying about the number of fish there are in the sea – the sea of prospective dates and mates. The same goes for homes on the market. Even when the market heats up as it's doing now, it's not uncommon for a buyer to visit 10, 20 or even more homes before finding the property they want to make their home.
These numbers can be daunting, but even the most particular buyers, even buyers who are frustrated by how many homes don't seem like the right fit, can take heart in this one truth of dating that also applies to house hunting:
You only need to find ONE.
So the next question is this: how do you know which fish is the one you should take home – I mean, make your home? To help, here are six signs that a given home you're viewing might, in fact, be "The One":
1. You instantly feel possessive about the property. When you walk into 'The One' no matter how long you've been house hunting, you'll get an involuntary surge of energy to do whatever it takes to make that home yours. If you're at an Open House and other buyers are viewing the place, you'll start to feel competitive. If you're at a private viewing, you'll start to talk numbers and offer logistics. For that matter, some buyers start making calls to their financial planners, generous parents, and contractors from the front porch steps of their "One" – during the first viewing!
If you walk through a place and leave with your heart or mind set on making it yours, it might be "The One."
2. You start to see its flaws as adorable quirks. Does train track 10 feet from the bedroom window? Next door neighbor that runs a pigeon-sitting service? Okay – I exaggerate! But if you find yourself viewing a home with traits that you would normally deem undesirable or as deal-killers, yet you like the place so much that you instinctively compile a mental list of reasons those traits just don't matter, you might have found "The One."
Smart buyers should be aware of a syndrome some call "Pottery Barn Psychosis," whereby the aesthetics of a wonderfully staged home with amazing curb appeal can hypnotize a buyer. This syndrome renders buyers blind to the negative property features, which would be glaring or grave concerns if the place weren't so stinking cute. It's fine to make a conscious decision that the pros of a place outweigh its cons, and even to consciously re-rank your priorities in light of a particular property's advantages.
But throwing reasonable guidelines for your home out of the window because it's just so stinking cute is about as savvy as doing the same with your dating prospects – not a setup for success.
Buyers can avoid falling victim to Pottery Barn Psychosis (and the Buyer's Remorse that often follows suit) by writing down your absolute musts and deal-breakers before you ever step foot in a single property – and by revisiting this document before you write an offer and again before you remove your contingencies.
If you find yourself viewing a home with traits that you would normally deem undesirable, yet you like the place so much that you instinctively compile a mental list of reasons those traits just don't matter, you might have found "The One."
3. You immediately envision your own family, furniture, decor, daily activities or remodeling choices in/to the home. If you find yourself, during a property viewing, measuring the dining room with your footsteps to be sure your Grandma's table will fit, discussing whether the wall between kitchen and dining room can be removed or your mind's eye photoshopping a given property to insert your bedroom set, your dining table, and favorite wall hangings into place it's entirely possible that the home you're viewing could be "The One" for you.
4. You lose interest in seeing other homes. When you find "The One," your interest in seeing other homes dissipates, instantly – no matter how many homes you've seen or how long you've been house hunting.
5. The bathroom and kitchen don't disgust you. We, humans, are born with only two fears in life: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. By about eight months old, we start to acquire new fears. Chief among them: the fear of other people's kitchens and bathrooms.
Other people's kitchens and bathrooms hold definite gross-out potential. There's just something about what goes on in those rooms that seems exceptionally intimate and even unsanitary. So, if you happen to find yourself falling in love with a home's river rock shower floor or drooling over the pot-filler, countertop or farmhouse sink, that's a sign that you're falling head over heels with a home that might just be "The One."
6. The money, time and energy spent feels worth it. Home buying is an expensive, time-consuming proposition. And your years of budgeting of earning you a nice nest egg, but it didn't come easy, there might be many a Saturday night at home and a brown-bagged lunch reflected in your down payment savings. If you view a home that makes all of those sacrifices suddenly feel like the best, most worthwhile decision ever? You, my friend, might have found "The One."