I have a perpetual headache. That tends to happen to me when making decisions. My husband and I are looking for a house to buy, and it is taking a ridiculous amount of my mental and emotional energy. The thoughtful consideration is worth it, because the only other decision in life that is more important than choosing a house is choosing a spouse. I seem to have much experience in both categories so I thought I would share my decision-making wisdom with you. [For the record, I've had one spouse/multiple houses.] Whether finding a cottage, or starting a courtship, here are some crucial things to consider:
* Look at a variety of options. There are some things that take priority, and you have to know what you are willing to live without.
* Foundation is key: cosmetics can be changed.
* No amount of character can overlook some kinds of ugly. The ugliness doesn't change the value; it's just a job for someone else.
* Get your financial house in order before you drag others into your business.
* Some qualities are out of your price range. Get what you can afford.
* Meet in person before you get too attached. The on-line resume can be deceiving.
* Don't look for the perfect one. Look for the perfect one for you.
* Ask the neighbors questions. They know information that the home-owner (or potential spouse) may not tell you.
* Check the history. Remember what "was" is not as important as what "is", but provides important pieces to solve the mysteries that will come later.
* Gather your facts: all square feet are not created equal.
* Don't get intimate with your investment until there are legal signatures involved.
* Live together after you are committed, not before. That's the way it ought to work. In living together, you discover the quirks, learn the things that are in the wrong place, and remind yourself "for better, for worse."
Unlike houses, you don't cash spouses in when the walls come crashing in. I have found that if you experience multiple headaches before the decision, you experience multiple joys afterwards. The renovating and remodeling are the fun processes that come with commitment.