Everything You Need To Know About Decision Making Can Be Learned From Apartment Hunting

My version of the Gates To Heaven: A rustic sliding door that leads to a high-end, water-saving, modern toilet. (And dude: It had two flusher buttons -- one for flushing liquids, one for flushing solids!)

The 3 most addictive types of pornography are:

  • traditional porn – images of flesh, sweat, and crevices.
  • wedding porn – images of table settings, wedding gowns, and invitations.
  • house porn – images of cabinetry, crown molding, and great curb appeal.

When you’re young and happily married, you watch a lot of the latter.

Fantasizing about the perfect home is an exciting and addictive process. It asks you to list your values. It encourages you to dream big. It compels you to smile just thinking about you and your family’s future.

This weekend my husband Brian and I went apartment hunting for the perfect 2-bedroom property, and the experience surpassed our expectations. Not only did we fall in love with one particular property, but we also learned a lot about ourselves along the way.

So today I’m sharing the 3 very different types of property we visited, followed by what each apartment taught us about life and decision making.

Lesson from the charming home with vintage details (Swoon!)

Before even viewing this apartment in-person, I assumed this place would be “the one”. From the photos and description on Craigslist (yes, I occasionally use Craigslist…and yes, I’ll occasionally put my life at risk for a great discount), this property was perfect on paper – hardwood floors, lovely details, tons of sunlight, and a tree-lined location in a trendy part of town.

But after touring this property Brian and I visited 2 more apartments. We explored our options. We lived life a little more, in a sense.

And by the end of the day, our opinions surprised us. We were not who we were when we began. Brian in particular had fallen out of love with what we expected to be our dream home.

The Lesson

Sometimes “perfect on paper” isn’t the right fit.

Which sucks. Because life is easier when what you think you want ends up matching what you end up wanting after a little more life experience.

And if there’s not a match? Well. Get ready because you’re about to do a ton of tough soul-searching. You’ll have to mourn a former fantasy. You’ll have to start from scratch.

But the good news is that all of these things always lead to a surprisingly awesome life.

Lesson from the cool (but cold) carriage house

My husband and I toured an apartment that was actually a 100-year-old little structure once used to house carriages and horses. It had a working fireplace, beautiful stone walls, exposed wood beams on the ceilings, and an irresistible cool factor. (I know!!!)

But the inside was musty and freezing cold. And the two bedrooms were technically below ground level, which brought in tons of moisture and little light.

There are two problems here. First, I’m half a symptom away from being diagnosed with Seasonal Affect Disorder (I’m prone to depression in cold temperatures. Hey, I’m a brown girl with tropical blood in me – what do you expect?). Second, we are trying to get the heck out of our current basement apartment.

Which can only mean one thing: I refuse to live in this house.

The Lesson

Remember when I asked What are you willing to give up? Well, here’s another burning question I’ve got on my mind : What are you no longer willing to tolerate?

Know what your limits are. Know what conditions break you. Know which kinds of pain are worth it and which are not.

No sacrifice (and no amount of rustic charm) is worth your emotional well-being.

Lesson from the cookie-cutter condo

Did this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment have charm or character? Nope. Was it in a trendy area filled with other artsy young professional families? Not really.

But it did have an open layout, central air, a pool, sliding doors onto a spacious balcony, a master suite with a huge walk-in closet and full bathroom, carpeting (we are a no-shoes-indoors couple that enjoys sprawling out on a comfy and clean floor), easy parking, and a tiny price tag. (Yay for tiny price tags!)

But most importantly, this property made us smile on the inside. We could see ourselves working on our creative projects here. We could even have a baby here. This place wasn’t perfect on paper in terms of aesthetics, but it was a perfect match for our lifestyle.

The Lesson

I don’t care if we’re talking about choosing a career, a mate, or a house – when the right one comes along, you feel it in your gut. It may not be what (or who) you expected to fall in love with, but you’ll know it’s “the one” because it will honor who you are. It will bring you closer to your personal, professional, and spiritual goals. It will be the cheese to your macaroni.

Your Turn: What has your home taught you about yourself or about life?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Everything You Need To Know About Decision Making Can Be Learned From Apartment Hunting

  1. Pingback: How To Make A Ballsy Career Move | a brave life

  2. You Know Me says:

    We haven’t had to look for our own housing since 1989 because we’ve been living in church-owned parsonages. Suddenly we have less than two months to find something suitable as my new appointment does not provide housing. There is something to be said for “beggars can’t be choosers.” Our dream home is still with the people we love, caring for our grandchildren, sharing the gifts of love and care. And incidentally, since mine will be a working retirement, my son and daughter-in-law will have en extra income stream to purchase the place where we will be together. What it will look like matters far less than who we will be sharing life with in the space.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      When it comes to house hunting, it’s true that you’ve got to keep things in perspective — the love inside your home is certainly more important than the home itself. And lucky you, it looks like your retirement will be filled with love. :)

  3. KMD says:

    This sounds exciting! Any pics of the houses you’ve looked at so far? I’d love to take a peek ;)

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      We’re renting, not buying, but it’s still pretty exciting for us! :) I’ll send you some links to pics, although they don’t do justice to any of the properties.

      • KMD says:

        Way cool! I can imagine it’s a big step for you both. And yeah, you’re right; pictures often don’t do a nice house/property justice.

  4. Sheryl says:

    That new apartment sounds LOVELY! Best of luck to you and Brian with the moving process and everything. :) Things must be going pretty well.

    The biggest thing I have learned about myself in relation to the places that I live is that I need SPACE, for a couple of reasons. I’m enough of an introvert (uh, hermit?) that I will stay in my home for days or weeks on end, when given the choice, and I go stir crazy in small spaces. I have an issue I like to call “urban sprawl” wherein I take up at least twice as much space in any given room than I really should, and if I don’t have that space in my home I’m grouchy. And as a couple, Bunny and I are both happier when we have enough space that all our things have proper places to be put away, otherwise we both get angsty about the crowdedness. And if I don’t have space to cook and bake we both get grumpy.

    Moving from a junior one-bedroom to a two-bedroom townhouse a year or so ago was a dream come true for us. It’s not a ton of space, but it’s enough space to breath.

    Also, house porn is more addictive than wedding porn. (Says the girl quasi-planning a wedding.) Way more addictive.

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      I hear you on the need for space thing. (And the introverted hermit thing!) Your environment has a big impact on your mood, which in turn effects your happiness, the extent to which you can relax and de-stress, as well as your level of productivity. I don’t need a ton of space to be happy, but I think good storage is key. Glad to hear that the 2-bd townhouse is working for you!

      Yes, I agree that house porn is the most addictive kind (for me anyway). Sometimes I wonder if I should watch a little less of it so that I don’t focus too much on the perfect house, or develop a need to own lots of pretty things. I also don’t ever want house porn to make me feel ungrateful for the things I do have. I haven’t gotten to that point yet but I want to make sure I never do.

      • Sheryl says:

        I can definitely understand that concern! A high school friend of mine recently was on HGTV show in Canada where she bought a house and had it renovated and I turned into the biggest green eyed monster I’ve ever been. There have definitely been times I’ve had to simply turn off the house porn.

        Luckily I haven’t gotten into scanning the listing sites yet. So many of my friends do that.

        • Kimberly Eclipse says:

          Uh oh! I’m totally guilty of scanning listings, haha. But in my defense, for me it’s not about looking for the perfect home or drooling over pictures of the spacious interiors and pretty yards. What I do is play around with the mortgage calculator that they have on those sites. It’s all rooted in my constant anxiety about our financial future, which is something that keeps me up at night. I really need to reign in my worrying but it’s so hard! Ack!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>