Skip to main content

When love goes wrong: Breaking up with your house

There must be something wrong with me - I am thinking about breaking up on Valentine's Day when everyone else is thinking about hooking up.

But as I tell my buyers, buying a house is a lot like dating. Part of the process is kissing a lot of frogs. After we've done the footwork we just might get lucky and find our dream house. And let me tell you, there is such a thing as love at first sight. I have seem the most reluctant and persnickety buyers change before my eyes when they at last encounter the Perfect House. It's downright touching.

Grown men become besotted...and the women!

Once their offer is accepted and we revisit the house for the home inspection, the buyers have all but moved in in their minds. I know they have been going to sleep, not counting sheep, but dreaming about where to hang great grandmother's portrait and where they can stash the old income tax records. They are already the emotional owners. This is the romantic stage.

Hopefully this love affair will last for many seasons. The wreath will go up on the door and then be taken down many times. After a while, we know exactly how large a turkey we can roast in the oven, and where the tulips are likely to appear in the spring. We are comfortable. Married. We trust the house. This is the old shoe stage.

Sometimes relationships change. Our vow to stay true for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health just isn't working for us anymore. Maybe we saw a sleek little condo on the beach or maybe we're just not into worrying about the trees and the snow and the endless details that home ownership involve.

It's time to move on.

This, like the end of any close relationship, can be an emotional roller coaster. We need to give a lot of thought to how such a move could impact the family. This is a tough decision, but hopefully whatever you decide will make things better in the long run.

This is where I turn to Buddhist practice for wisdom. Change is inevitable. Relish the time you had with your house and know that everything lasts for exactly the right amount of time. Make your house as attractive as you can and hold it up to the universe. Another owner will come along who will

love the house as you have. You are then free to move on to another home, and love will follow.