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12 Aug

What dating can teach us about house-hunting

Find house hunting heart-breaking? Searching for the perfect house is a bit like online dating. You troll through websites late at night looking for that special something. The online photographs look promising...

What dating can teach us about house-hunting

You go to an open home full of hope and excitement – only to be disappointed. Yet again.

Your perfect house has to be out there somewhere!

But are you frustrated at riding the house-hunting rollercoaster? Tired of looking?

Then you need a different strategy. A way to short-circuit the process.

Shall I explain?

Think like a matchmaker

I'm not talking about the well-meaning friend who tries to set you up with "someone amazing who'd be perfect for you!" - when really they're nowhere near perfect (for you, or anyone you know). I'm talking about those talented few who really know how to connect the right people together. That's how you need to think.

Good matchmakers understand you and what you're looking for in a love match. They've spent time getting to know you. How you operate. What you like. What you hate. And most importantly what your goals are.

They want to know all this so they can set you up with someone who matches.

With house hunting you're making your own match (with a bit of help from real estate agents). So you have to do this analysis yourself. What is it that you're looking for? What's your lifestyle like. What are your future plans?

If you start with HOW you want to live in a home then you can work out WHAT features you'll need. Because it's not always love at first sight. You're looking for a house you could have a future with. So you need to be able to see the signs.

Be open to left-field

Talented matchmakers select a few people for you to date. The ones they think you'll like. Not just every single-person they know. They screen.

When hunting for your new home you need to screen too. Do a first pass. Only invest your time looking at properties that fit your match criteria.

But here's the trick. Good matchmakers don't think in black and white. They're open to opportunities. They spot a left field option from time to time.

That's why it's important to have a clear picture of HOW you want to live in your home. So you can spot those opportunities too.

For example, you might be looking for 3 bedroom home. But the 3rd bedroom is for guests. A 2 bedroom home with a second lounge or sunroom could also work. Maybe it would be great to use the room for something else when you don't have guests? If you're ruling out anything that's not 3 bedrooms you could miss this potential match.

It's not always love at first sight

Dating profile pictures are often better than reality. But not always. And how important are looks in the scheme of things? Good matchmakers don't get hung up on looks. They look for deeper connections.

Don't get hung up on looks when house hunting either. You're looking for good bones. A house that matches your needs. Consider the home's potential, not its present state.

Once the home is yours, you can make it look how you want within reason. But if the fundamentals aren't there, you're never going to be happy.

Sometimes you have to compromise

Your dream date. Your dream home. Note the use of the word dream. Sometimes it's not possible to get everything you want in a love match or a house match. You have to make some compromises.

The secret is to have a good feeling (and a list) of what's important to you. Then you know where you can make compromises. Ideally you want a house by the beach at Mt Maunganui because you love swimming. Could a great house with a pool work? What about a 10 min walk the the beach, or 1 min drive? These options all make swimming easy.

Finding Mr (or Mrs) right takes time

Like dating, you're unlikely to find your dream home right away. So give yourself time to find it. Setting a timeframe - say 6 months - can be a good idea. Concentrate your effort and look hard over that time. Don't just dabble.

And don't do it alone.

Enlist some help

Real estate agents can help you with your search. Get to know some good ones. Real estate agents know the properties that are out there. And the good ones are skilled matchmakers.

So make it happen. Give yourself a time-frame. Think like a matchmaker and enlist some professional help.

Make your match. And live happily ever after.

Rodney Fong is a licensed Real Estate Agent working with clients throughout Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and Papamoa.

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