Buying a Home is Like Marriage - Easy In But Tough Out

Real Estate Agent with Harry Norman Realtors

I often compare buying a home to getting married; there are many parallels if you take a second to think about it. This comment often raises eyebrows and once a few of the obvious one are pointed out, I get to the one that buyers miss.

If buying a home is likely to be the single most financially important thing that you’ll do, getting married has to be the single most socially important thing you’ll do (with a big foot in the financial camp). A few of the more obvious similarities:

- Both are significant social milestones
- Both are significant financial milestones
- Both require a connection that enhances your life, if not then what’s the point
- Both require extensive forethought; due diligence if you will
- Both have an option period; engagements and due diligence periods

There are many others, but the one that I go right to has a “Godfather” connection; Both are easy to get into and each can be very difficult to get out of.

I have many buyers that come to me with visions of grandeur when they begin the home buying process; almost always these are first time buyers and often, newly married couples. Wide eyed and bushy tailed, they are learning as they go and regularly have expectations that are diametrically opposed to the real world. Early in the conversations, I’ll drop the analogy…”Buying a home is like getting married, easy to get into but it can be a bear to get out of.”  As they try to digest that off the wall comment, I elaborate and explain….”What if you need to sell that home sooner than expected? Six months or a year?”  I then continue….

My job isn’t to tell you what type of home you will like, where you want to live or how much you want to spend. You handle the emotional side of this; I’ll handle the data and transaction. Once you find “that house” my job is to ensure that you fully understand the process; achieve the best possible purchase scenario; understand the data trends in the area; understand where the market may be over the next 6-12 months and that when you sign at the closing table that you do so with confidence. In short; I am expected to cover all of the “what if’s” and worst case scenarios.

The siren song of a “good looking home deal” can cause as many headaches as that of the “eye candy spouse”…we all know sellers and spouses that wish they had a do over (or two…three). The best compliment I’ve received was given a few weeks ago at the closing table….”Hank, you remind us of the Mayhem Guy from those Allstate commercials. Every time we see those we yell “Hank!”  I loved that analogy and the two referrals they’ve since sent to me.

"Hot Babe" Mayhem commercial...


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Lang Premier Properties
Lang Premier Properties - Clawson, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Group

love the analogy! great post Hank!

Feb 20, 2012 03:50 AM #5
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Hallmark Realtors - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Love the analogy - my first home (and first marriage) were a disaster in all ways - and way too hard to get out of. This home (and marriage) seem to be working a lot better!

Feb 20, 2012 04:12 AM #6
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Great analogy. Both are major commitments and lifestyle changes that should be taken seriously.


Feb 20, 2012 10:24 AM #7
Mary Borth
Bloomington-Normal, IL

Love the analogy! I always tell my husband our marriage is like the Mafia - the only way out is to die. :)

Feb 20, 2012 11:40 AM #8
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Hank - I think that is a great analogy and something that more people should understand.

Feb 20, 2012 12:21 PM #9
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Hank - a great analogy certainly not one I would have thought of ..... the similarities certainly are there ..... and that leads me to you ..... the matchmker that puts it all together

Feb 20, 2012 01:04 PM #10
Hank Miller
Harry Norman Realtors - Alpharetta, GA
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser

Most folks that I deal with "get" the analogy, some look at me with the deer in the headlights gaze but understand it once I tie the two together.

The main point that I try to drive home is that buyers often and in most cases are expected to act on emotion..."We love the house..." Agents are expected to act as the suspicious future inlaws and focus on the data and "big picture" issues.

I'm working on a way to incorporate beer goggles into the next post....




Feb 20, 2012 10:01 PM #12
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

I never would compared the two but like the analogy as well. Buying a home is also a good test in communication for a marriage. We can become counselors in certain transactions.

Feb 20, 2012 11:13 PM #13
Eric Knight, Home Inspector (Greenville, SC)

Great Post! Now When I am inspecting a home and presenting my findings to the client, I will think of it as premarital counseling!

Feb 20, 2012 11:42 PM #14
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

AND going into both they should realize there are some things they can change about their "choice" and some things they will never be able to change. Need to make sure they can live with the things they can't! This is one of those analogies we could run with forever! Great post Mr. Mayhem! :)

Feb 21, 2012 12:11 AM #15
Brenda, Ron, Lee Cunningham & Tara Keator
West USA Realty - Phoenix, AZ
Realtors, Homes for Sale - Phoenix Metro

Nice post.  I will have to use that idea.  Thanks

Feb 21, 2012 12:52 AM #16
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Not sure about your analogy, but a good read never the less.

Feb 21, 2012 03:04 AM #17
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Very good analogy, and I like Valerie's addition to it: Some things you can't change in either a spouse or a house - so you'd better be able to live with them.

Feb 21, 2012 03:34 AM #18
Hank Miller
Harry Norman Realtors - Alpharetta, GA
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser

of course we can expound on the "change" topic -

contractors are like plastic surgeons....

Feb 21, 2012 04:14 AM #19
Jodi Counts
Century 21 Beutler & Associates - Coeur d'Alene, ID

Great tak on this subject.  Thank you for the post

Feb 21, 2012 05:49 AM #20
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Often times you do not get full disclosure and there are hidden issues.  Getting out cost you more than you expect.  Been there and done that.

Feb 21, 2012 10:52 AM #21
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Hank,

I do the same, because the stress level of purchasing a home and planning a wedding are about the same and require to weigh as many details. Better be happy with the outcome after that much work.

Feb 21, 2012 11:06 AM #22
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired

Hank the Mayhem guy!

(And that is a compliment? - Really?)



Feb 21, 2012 09:19 PM #23
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Hank, so true on both accounts!  Been there, done that on both! lol

Feb 22, 2012 08:47 AM #24
Paddy Deighan JD PhD - Vail, CO
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D

very true analogy about buying a house and I love the "Mayhem Guy" photo as well. Madison Avenue hit a home run with that one!!!

Feb 27, 2012 09:04 AM #25
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Hank Miller

Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
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