Home ownership and marriage often go hand in hand. Both are wonderful! There are some funny similarities between owning a home and being married. Just for the record, this blog post was my wife’s idea. We just celebrated our 23rd anniversary. In doing so, we did some reminiscing and laughing. That’s probably why this is fresh on our minds.
Even if you’re not married, many of the principles below, apply to any human relationship. I should also note that our experiences may not be reflective of yours. These are simply our observations and experiences. It’s just a fun exercise in comparisons, which is really what appraising is all about!
We hope you enjoy them. Perhaps you can relate to some, if not all of them! Feel free to comment on any comparisons you’ve observed over the years. We’d love to hear them!
1. There’s the honeymoon phase.
When you first purchase a home, it is so exciting. Everything is new and fresh. You’re constantly discovering new things about your home that you love. After a few years, you settle into your home. While things are not as exciting as they once were, life is comfortable. That’s a good place to be.
The same is true when getting married. It is fun and exciting to experience and discover new and wonderful things about your mate. As time passes, two people get to know each other much better. While things may not be as exciting as they once were, life is comfortable and happy. That’s a good place to be.
2. You don’t always look your best.
Life is busy. It’s impossible to keep things looking perfect in a home. Throw in some children, a few pets and a crazy schedule, and keeping a home looking fantastic is just not possible for most, including us.
We do have friends whose homes always look perfect. Their homes seem to always stay that way. But, I think for most people, keeping a home looking perfect all of the time, is not realistic. By the way, your home doesn’t have to look perfect for the appraiser either.
When it comes to our personal appearance, sometimes you just have to run around in your sweats and a t-shirt. No one rolls out of bed looking amazing.
Speaking of looking good, maybe it’s just me, but when I go to the store, or some other public place, it’s only when I’m looking my worst, that I run into people I know. I guess that’s just how it works.
3. The smells.
When my wife mentioned adding this to the list, my mind immediately went to bad and strange smells. (Maybe that’s because I’m a guy) But before we get to those, homes have many great smells! There’s the smell of a big meal cooking all day. Or, homemade cookies baking in the oven. Oh yeah baby! Or what about the smell of burning wood on a crackling fire? How about the smell of freshly cut grass? (That is, if you don’t suffer from allergies)
Even in the cleanest home, there are odors of different types that may cause concern. There have been times when I got a whiff of some earthy smell in the basement. My immediate thought is, “Oh my word, we’ve probably got toxic mold growing somewhere. And my office is in the basement!” That is followed by thoughts of how I can’t remember things like I used to, and how I am more tired than I used to be. Clearly, symptoms of the toxic mold poisoning!
My wife, being the husband whisperer that she is, reminds me that I am in my mid 40’s. While that’s not old, it’s about the time things start going south, like memory and energy. So, I guess I can’t blame these things on toxic mold.
There are other smells. Like our chocolate lab, Whiskey, having an accident. Actually our dog is incredibly good. It is a rare occasion when this happens. However, when it does, it’s usually on our area rugs. Our first floor has mostly hard wood flooring. Why is it that the animals usually have accidents on the carpet instead of on the hard wood or tile, where it would be much easier to clean? Inquiring minds want to know.
If you have teenage boys like we do, another smell that comes to mind is, sweaty feet. I will leave that one alone. If you have raised teenage boys, you get it. There’s no shame in wearing a respirator while entering a child’s bedroom.
Frankly, I think we need to move to the next topic, because I don’t think my wife has ever smelled bad in her life, but I don’t think she would say that about me. There’s a reason I don’t golf much anymore. Especially in the hottest months of the year. At least that’s the excuse I’m going with.
4. It always costs more than you think.
Have you ever gone to replace the bathroom faucet, only to have it morph into an entire bathroom remodel? Repairs are rarely what you anticipate. It’s the unseen things that get you every time. I would recommend adding 30-50% to what you think the estimated price to complete any house project is going to be.
What about marriage? Life is expensive. A young couple just getting started often learn that the hard way. Throw in a couple of vacations a year, some car payments and a mortgage or rent. Then, if you have children, which is awesome, it gets expensive real fast. I remember when our boys were finally out of diapers, we saved hundreds a month. I felt like I had been given a raise.
Of course, as we age, the bills shift to other things like colonoscopes, blood pressure meds, orthotics and other random and unexpected health expenses. And they are also usually more expensive than we anticipate. Did I mention that this seems to begin in the mid 40’s? I can’t remember.
5. Sometimes you just don’t feel like doing it.
After a long week at work, sometimes it’s difficult to get motivated to work on the house. Cleaning, mowing, painting, remodeling and the like. Of course, once we care for these things, we feel better. We have a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes we just have to push through.
What about in marriage? Sometimes our better half may want to do something that we are not feeling like doing, like going out to dinner or shopping. Sometimes my wife will ask for a back massage. I have the hands of an appraiser, not a warrior! My hands cramp up after two minutes, like the worthless hands of a T-Rex. Yep, that’s pathetic! I admit it. Let’s leave the massages to the professionals, shall we? But sometimes I just have to suck it up and do it, because I love my wife. My back massages are so lame, she doesn’t ask much anymore. She just goes to a professional masseuse. So, it’s really working out well for both of us.
This really leads to the next way that homeownership is like marriage.
6. It takes regular maintenance to last.
Maintaining a home is not about waiting until it needs to be demolished and then trying to do a big renovation. It’s better to do routine maintenance. It’s usually much less costly to care for little repairs right away. If we let a small home repair go, at times, it can turn into a much more costly situation.
For instance, if the gutters get clogged, the water running off of the roof in a rainstorm, may seep into the basement, which can lead to mold and other issues. (Like memory loss and lack of energy. Just kidding, mostly.) Most routine maintenance is relatively inexpensive.
Marriage also takes maintenance. A regular date night or weekend getaway is a great way to keep the home fires burning. My wife and I recently made a trip to the New York’s Finger Lakes region, to celebrate our 23rd anniversary. We stayed at Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, NY. (Click here for a link) I took the pictures above. It’s as beautiful as the pictures indicate. If you’re ever looking for a romantic getaway in New York, it’s awesome. But dates don’t have to be expensive. A bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine and renting a movie is also awesome. The key is spending regular time together.
Speaking of maintenance, if our feelings are hurt, hard as it may be, in our experience, the best thing to do is to just get it out in the open right away. Don’t let things fester. Like making that little repair as soon as possible, dealing with hurt feelings, and working through them right away, can save a marriage a lot of major damage down the road.
7. It is rewarding.
Homeownership has many rewards! Above and beyond the financial benefits, it’s nice to be able to make renovations the way you would like to make them. There’s a sense of pride that comes with homeownership. Not harmful pride. The kind of pride that comes from making the place your own. The way it looks, how it functions and yes, even the way it smells!
Being married has many wonderful benefits. Of course, being single does as well. Both have different benefits. When it comes to being married, you have a partner that you can enjoy doing things with. When times are tough, a couple can help each other to get through them. It’s all about teamwork! Sharing many memories over the years with someone you love is wonderful!
8. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be appealing.
I have appraised everything from incredibly tiny homes to massively large luxury homes. A couple can be happy in either. Happiness has more to do with what people focus on. Not on the things they have. A relatively inexpensive home can bring as much joy as a large expensive home.
The same is true in marriage. Money doesn’t make a person attractive. Being kind, loving, happy and caring are the things that are important in a marriage mate, or any relationship for that matter. Those qualities are all free! Money can make life a bit easier, but it can’t buy long term happiness!
9. Curb appeal is great, but what’s on the inside is more important.
Over the years, I have appraised some homes that looked just okay from the street, but not great. However, on the inside, they were spectacular! Beautiful quality and a charming interior, straight out of a storybook. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.
The same is true with our marriage mate. As we get older, our exterior appearance (curb appeal) begins to lesson, despite our best efforts at fighting aging. No one is immune to aging. Though some age better than others. It’s probably no coincidence that our eyesight gets worse as we get older. It’s probably a blessing in disguise.
While our outward appearance may be in decline, it’s made up for by life experience and wisdom. People who have been together for many years, have no doubt weathered many storms in life. Now they can help others to do the same. I think that experience is more beautiful than outward appearances any day!
10. When things go wrong, a little humor can help!
When it comes to homeownership, things happen. Pipes burst, branches fall on roofs, sewers back-up… The list goes on and on. Just expect the unexpected. Within the past couple of years, a tree feel on our shed, destroying it. A few months later, a completely different tree fell on my car that was only two weeks old. I’ve always said, “you can laugh or you can cry. Might as well laugh.”
Marriage is like that. A sense of humor can really get a couple through some tough times. It’s not that tough times are funny. But, sometimes, stepping back and looking at the whole picture, things may not be as ominous as they feel.
Well, that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed these comparisons! I hope that this article was not too sappy for ya. These things may not be totally reflective of every relationship. But, I think most can relate in one way or another.
I’m dedicating this article to my lovely wife Heather, for putting up with me for 23 years and beyond!
Heather and I hope you enjoy some well-deserved time off, as you enjoy your friends and family in the weeks ahead!
And, as always, thank you so much for reading my article!
Since we’re on a romantic kick with this article, I figure I had better end it with a love song. Here is a classic by Nat King Cole. Enjoy!
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Here are some links to other articles and videos I enjoyed recently! I hope you will also…
That First One Was The “Greatest House Of All Time” (G.H.O.A.T) – Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller
My real estate mind never shuts off – Sacramento Appraisal Blog
How Can the Appraisal be Confidential to the Client?! The Borrower is Reading it to Me Over the Phone! – The Appraiser’s Advocate with Tim Andersen PODCAST
In An Appraisal, Ranking Beats Bracketing All Over the Place –The Appraiser’s Advocate with Time Andersen
Pros and Cons Of A Pre-Listing Appraisal – Birmingham Appraisal Blog
Newz; Appraisal Shelf Life – AVM’s – Neighborhood Analysis – APPRAISAL TODAY (Thanks to Ann O’Rourke for sharing my artcile at APPRAISAL TODAY)
House long does it take to see a house? – Gynell Vestal of Consumer Home Value