Love At First Sight Is Real, And These 5 House-Hunting Stories Are Proof
Ah, meet-cutes. For the uninitiated, they’re those adorable moments in movies (usually rom-coms) where the two love interests first encounter each other, often in a clumsy, kismet sort of way. Think of Matthew McConaughey rescuing Jennifer Lopez and her Gucci shoe from the manhole cover seconds before a garbage truck careened down the street in “The Wedding Planner,” or Hugh Grant spilling orange juice onto Julia Roberts in “Notting Hill”.
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While meet-cutes nearly always end in happily ever after in the movies, they’re preceded by misunderstandings, annoyance, and missed signals. They also aren’t limited to person-to-person encounters—it is completely possible to have one with a home. And it turns out, several Apartment Therapy staffers have had cinematic, too-good-to-be-true first impressions of houses and apartments that almost went sideways. In honor of Valentine’s Day, the meet-cute-iest holiday, I asked them to share their stories. Here are some of the sweetest ones:
The one that (almost) got away
“When I was searching for my first apartment, my roommate and I fell in love with a cute little railroad-style spot in a historic Boston neighborhood called Beacon Hill. It was a fifth-floor walk-up in a centuries-old brick building, and it brimmed with the kind of old-world charm that made my eyes turn into cartoon hearts. We really wanted it, but weren’t sure about the price tag. After talking it over on a walk through the Boston Common, we decided to let it go.
Then, later that afternoon, I ended up gushing to a friend about the place, offhandedly suggesting he check it out since it was still available. But the next day, something came over my roommate and I—we realized we *needed* to live in that apartment, even if it was a tad over our budget. We rushed back to the real estate agent’s office and asked to sign the lease. As we sat down to fill out the paperwork, that same friend I’d told about the place walked in, prepared to sign the lease. We beat him to it by about five minutes. There were no hard feelings—we all laughed about it later—but I think the whirlwind that followed our initial tour proves we were meant to live there.” —Madeline Bilis, Real Estate & Finance Editor
The little blue dreamhouse
“My previous living arrangement was: two dogs (one very big), one cat, a 6-foot tall boyfriend, and me, all trying to live in under 500 square feet. I loved my little apartment in New Orleans—the first and only I had lived in since moving here five years ago. But even with all the smart storage ideas I’ve learned from Apartment Therapy over the years, I had to admit that it was too tight of a space for so many animals and people, particular when both those people worked from home.
Keith and I couldn’t bring ourselves to rent another apartment—signing another lease just didn’t feel financially smart. So that’s how we found ourselves house hunting last spring after only 11 months of dating (insert shrug emoji). This was my first home-buying experience, and upping the stakes of our house hunt was the knowledge that our two best friends has also decided to start looking for a house to buy… and had the same budget as us.
Over the intense next few weeks, we saw a few houses that either looked great in pictures and terrible in person, and vice versa. I still feel heartache after one particular house—with the dreamiest little bay window in the front—was snagged up right before we both fell in love after touring it. After worrying that trying to buy a house before your one-year anniversary with someone might not be the best idea, we decided to just hit pause on the house hunt and not obsessively look through Zillow every hour on the hour.
Then, of course, I saw it (okay I lied about stopping Zillow surfing). The listing had just gone up, and I read through the entire thing—a blue beauty in the Broadmoor neighborhood of New Orleans—and fell in love with every inch of it. I called our agent right away and we were the first to see the house… and I knew it was ours from the second I saw the cozy front porch. Tall ceilings inside and tons of adorable original architectural details. Fireplaces! Ceiling medallions! Stained glass in the kitchen! A huge deck! A big backyard! A rusty metal shed we immediately dubbed the murder shed! And all at our budget! We put an offer in… and graciously it was accepted. We were the first to see the house, first to put an offer in, and the house was ours. It’s almost a year later, and buying this house has been the smartest, most fun decision of my life. Sure, we’ve had to do a few repairs here and there, but we’ve also gotten to host parties, friends, family, we’ve painted walls, added plants, adopted a cat. We say ‘we’re so lucky’ to each other every day.” —Adrienne Breaux, House Tour Editor
Stay tuned for Adrienne’s full house tour later this month!
The childhood throwback
“When my now-fiancé and I were looking to move to NYC, my number one choice was in Astoria, the Greek neighborhood in Queens where went I would go with my Popou (Greek for grandpa) as a child. We ultimately decided on a tiny five-floor walkup in Manhattan, but when we inevitably wanted to move again two years later, I knew I wanted to look into Astoria. Even though I had no sense of where I actually was when I was young, getting off the subway in Astoria felt like déjà vu. I started to hear Greek all around me, see pastries in glass windows, and upon arriving to the apartment, noticed that it was located right across the street from a Greek church. When the broker Marie opened the door leading up to the apartment, the smell reminded me of my cousin’s house growing up. All of my senses were freaking out—and the icing on the cake was seeing the spacious apartment in front of us, a blank slate that was welcoming us to come in and make it ours, and I knew it was meant to be.” —Nicoletta Richardson, Senior Associate Editor, News & Culture
The row house rendezvous
“I went to college in Boston and hung out in the South End a bunch during and after graduation. I would always pass this one adorable street lined with cute brick row houses, and think how it would be so great to live there, not thinking it would ever actually happen. Fast forward to a holiday party nearly a decade later and I found out a coworker’s lovely spouse owns one of those aforementioned cute brick row houses on said adorable street. Six (ish) months later, a tenant left, and my wonderful place on my dream street in my perfect neighborhood was mine (sidebar: it’s really great to like your landlord!). It hadn’t been touched all that much since the ’70s, so I’ve had a bit of free rein to make it my own.” —Tara Bellucci, News & Culture Editor
See Tara’s full house tour here!
The hometown coincidence
“I found this listing on Craigslist for a one-bedroom in Bed-Stuy at the top of my budget. The post felt very thought-out—most Craigslist apartments are like ‘no fee move in bye’ and so I crafted the perfect note about me and my fiancé and why we’d be the perfect couple to move there. The woman emailed me back almost immediately and we discovered we were both from the same town in South Carolina. That following Saturday, we went to see the place, and as soon as the owner went downstairs to get a measuring tape, Jacob and I looked at each other with contained excitement and silent screams. At the end of the encounter, the owner asked us what color we wanted to paint the walls and I knew it was home.” —Brittany Fara, Project Manager
Have you had a meet-cute with a home? Share in the comments! And happy Valentine’s Day!