Buy in haste, decorate slowly

Why is it that purchasing a house, the single most expensive thing you’ll ever buy in your life, has to be done in a rush, but deciding what rug to put in the family room can take years? It’s true that making the decision to invest in buying a house can take a very long time while you agonize over your ability to take on a mortgage, but once the house hunting is actually underway, buyers are often faced with the need to make an offer on the spot or lose the house of their dreams.

The house hunt is an intimate process, particularly if you’re doing it with a partner. You’re searching for a house that will be a home. You want a place to raise kids, celebrate life’s highs and ride out the lows. You want a safe haven from unsatisfactory jobs and friends who invariably let you down. When you find a house that resonates on your particular frequency, you can feel it. And as you envision your furniture in that house, you hear another couple say to the realtor, “It’s perfect. We’re going to make an offer.”

All of a sudden your chest feels tight, there’s a knot in your stomach and you start having trouble breathing. You now know with certainty that this is meant to be your house. It is the only house your furniture will look good in. There is no other house in town that can compare.

You rush up to the realtor as soon as the other couple steps away and say, “We want this house. Whatever that other couple is offering, we’ll go higher.” Within 24 hours it’s over and you’ve won. The house of your dreams is yours. You’ll be in debt for the next 30 years.

And thirteen years later, you still can’t agree on a rug for the family room.

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