“This is the one!” I’ve exclaimed firmly to a number of rental agents in my life, after only walking inside a couple of steps. They say there’s no such thing as love at first sight, but when it comes to apartments, I’m a believer. Every single one of my apartment searches have started with me walking through a series of spaces that were okay, nice — even perfectly potential. And they’ve all ended with me calling off the search as soon as I walked through the door of the “one.” I’ve just known instantly for each of the last seven homes I’ve lived in. This is both a good and bad thing.
Now that I no longer live in the space and have moved on, I can get over the shame and admit that this love-at-first sight apartment hunt choosing style led me to one seriously huge, awesomely affordable apartment last time. But it also came with a roach infestation I somehow didn’t notice until after I fell in love with the space (which was thankfully remedied soon after I moved in, but still). The tall ceilings and gorgeous windows of my current apartment are great! The freezing cold first night because of the lack of insulation — not so great.
The thing about being a "knower" is that you end up with a home that fits your surface aesthetic love, but might not be a right fit in function for the long term for you. But being an analyzer — someone who obsesses over too many potential home choices with pie graphs, Excel docs and a clinical detachment befitting a scientific experiment — can leave you with a home that fits many of your functional needs, but doesn't quite feed your soul.
The secret to the balance between these two different home choosing styles? If you're on one side of the spectrum, move a little closer to the other (or at the very least, be aware of which side you're on):
If you're a knower, you follow your heart:
Embrace your passion! Fall head first in love! Just never go on an apartment or home hunt without a checklist of what to look out for or what priorities you have to have (and what things are your deal-breakers). Consider taking a more level-headed friend to hold you back from betting the farm. Think about even going without a checkbook so you don't make any rash decisions. Though in many markets, time isn't exactly on your side, if you've got the time, give yourself space between seeing your soul-space and making the final decision to see if it wasn't just fleeting lust.
If you're an analyzer, you follow your head:
Take your charts, document each space obsessively — don't stop being you when it comes to making an important decision like which place to move to next. Only be sure to factor in that ineffable quality that can't be measured or quantified. In between inspecting cabinets and measuring floor space, take time to stuff your tools in a bag, plop down in the middle of a room and just sit and listen. Permit yourself to get a little worked up about a design detail that has no functional value. Really try to visualize your life in the space — and see if that visualization excites you. Home is more than just a good amount of square feet for the price. Your next home should get your blood pumping a little bit, too.
So weigh in! Are you a "knower" or an "analyzer"? And share any trouble — or benefits — being the one you are brings you when you're on a home hunt!