It’s commonplace to try on suits, dresses, trousers or shoes before buying them. People instinctively know they need to try on clothes to be sure they fit, feel comfortable and are attractive on them. What about a home? Itís probably the most expensive purchase youíll ever make. Isnít it even more important to ìtry onî a home before you purchase it?
What on earth do I mean? Well, itís usual to look for a home in places that are convenient to work and schools. Most folks take the daily commute into consideration when shopping for a home. Why not take the daily, weekly, and even monthly activities of family members consciously into account, too?
I once helped a young, single woman named Wendy to find and buy her first home. She worked for Geico, was rising very nicely in the company and wanted a home of her own and the tax break home ownership affords. She asked my advice about choosing, and we had a conversation in which I mentioned many of the sorts of things Iíve said here. We made a list of what mattered to her. Then we went shopping. We looked at a lot of houses. After we came out of each one, we had a talk about how it measured up to Wendyís list.
One of the houses we looked at belonged to the young woman who later became my daughter-in-law. It was brick, all on one level, had a fireplace in the living room, and had patio doors from the master bedroom and dining rooms to an enormous deck with a hot tub. It was beautifully decorated in a sort of ìpared down Victorianî style. There was a brass bed, some wicker, lots of healthy house plants, and a few Victorian pieces of furniture that were actually old, family pieces. Silver framed family photos were clustered on top of the piano.
After we emerged from the house, Wendy started down the two steps to the car and then froze in place. She had the oddest expression on her face. I asked what was wrong, and she began to look sheepish and confessed, ìThat house is so pretty and so nicely decorated, I just enjoyed looking at it and didnít give any thought to how Iíd live in it. I just wanted it.î
We went back inside. Wendy still admired what had been done with the house, but decided it wasnít right for her.
Knowing whatís important to you can save costly mistakes. The process of ìtrying onî a house helps you evaluate whatís important. I think youíll find itís worth the effort.