I know I’m not the only one who loves driving around looking at houses. But there’s got to be some psychology there.
I’ve had this draft of a post brewing for well over a month. It all started with a casual tweet about how I could drive around all day looking at houses. Then I was overwhelmed with responses.
Sometimes I tweet about a photo or something funny and nothing. And then sometimes the most random tweet spurs a discussion that makes me think I might be onto something.
Women like to look at houses. At first, I thought it was some strange phenomenon that I shared with my mother. As it turns out, there is a whole society of women just like me. So I got to thinking, what’s it all about? Why do we do it? And I came up with some theories.
We’re just plain old curious. We like to see what different houses look like in different neighborhoods. We like to see what houses are selling for. And nighttime looking? Oh yes, we can see right in the windows.
We want ideas. My best decorating ideas came from walking through about 800 different model homes. Sometimes it was to actually look at the house. Sometimes it was just because I was curious (see number 1). And landscaping ideas? I get those too. And then give them to my husband.
We need to feel better about our own houses. Not every woman gets a chance to live in her dream house. Or even if she does, the dream probably changes over time. Sometimes, we can go out and see that for what we paid for our house, we would get a whole lot less nowadays.
We need to dream. Maybe you aren’t a homeowner. Or maybe you aren’t living where you thought you would or where you want to. We can dream about the house we might one day have.
It’s that last one that stays with me. The dreaming part. For me, it’s not just looking at the pretty houses. It’s imagining myself living there. What would life be like if…
And it’s not necessarily a matter of money. And it’s not necessarily about life being better or easier. It’s about it being different.
As I was walking through NYC last week, I took pictures of townhouses, or row houses, or mansions. I’m not really sure what they’re called in New York. I imagined what the old woodworking inside must look like. I imagined where you have to so to see a patch of grass. I imagine having a dog and figuring out how to take them for a walk and clean up after them.
Then, as I’m driving through New Jersey, I see smaller older homes. These are the homes some of my friends grew up in. They have one bathroom. They have small bedrooms. And you can look out the side of the house and see more than you care to of your next door neighbor.
Back home in North Carolina, we have mansions by comparison. Million dollar homes on the golf course are commonplace. Where do these people work? Can they even afford their house? Are they living paycheck to paycheck? Is it a charmed life behind those carved wood doors?
I unintentionally put a lot of thought into my house browsing. In fact, I would even say it has saved my life.
A few years ago, I suffered a bad bout of insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Thank God for my mom who dropped everything to come and stay with me for a month until I was on the road to recovery. If you’ve ever gone through a similar situation, you know that your mind is your own worst enemy and it’s very hard to take a break from it.
So almost every day, we would drive around looking at houses. Just looking. We would take random roads or check out new communities. For me, the bigger the house, the better. I think it provided just enough distraction from my own head and my own life.
Eventually, my life settled back into the world of sanity. I still love looking at houses. I still dream. But the dreams are much happier now.
We did this yesterday! I absolutely LOVE looking at homes. Even though we’ve only been in our house a little over a year, I’m already aspiring to an upgrade. Maybe next time we’ll buy in a golf community? Or maybe we should look in this neighborhood because we don’t have to worry about the school lines getting redrawn? Oh I love that window treatment, maybe I could do that in the guest room?
Yes, my mind never stops. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.
One of my favorite past times is looking at houses. My 3 year old even asks to “go check out a house” sometimes when we are driving around in the car! Every year I can’t wait for the Parade of Homes!
I love looking at houses too! My favorite is contemporary/modern. But i also like older homes you find downtown – with big porches. Living in a cookie cutter neighborhood is driving me nuts.
You are in my head Fadra.
Ok also? Looking at houses is a weekly occurrence! Just now even, on the way back from the park I detoured in the next neighborhood over where the bigger houses are to see if there are any for sale that weren’t listed online!
I also constantly remodel my current house in my mind. Sometimes it keeps me up at night, knocking down walls, adding columns and rooms and a laundry station that ISN’T in the kitchen….
Is it our porn? The constant wandering eye of what new and shiny and curvy and different would be like?
How funny! Maybe I should employ you to look for our new home. We’re currently looking (in the Dallas area). And because I have absolutely NO PATIENCE, I walk in and want to write a check. My husband says “we’re just looking” (which we are because our house is on the market).
I love that it is something you do to cheer you up. Hey, whatever works!
Oh, you are FAR from alone. I had so many women tweet me that they love to do the exact same thing. I could have rambled on about why but I don’t really know why. I just like looking. And dreaming 🙂
I used to drive people around Raleigh and saw “Oh, let me show you one of my favorite houses!” I’m not sure if people enjoyed it as much as I do. I love the Oakwood homes and the inner beltline. They aren’t all huge but they have some serious character.
Okay, I think you must be the only woman that doesn’t get into looking at houses. I worry about moving someday. Since I am living in my first, real house, I am now wiser as to my must-haves. I feel sorry for whatever real estate agent I may work with someday!
I don’t think I could live in a contemporary/modern house but I love to look at them. I remember visiting a colleague in Columbus, OH. She bought an old 50s/60s style ranch. I thought it would be so ugly but she worked with the architecture and made it so modern and cool. I could just watch HGTV all day long.
Is it our porn? Sounds so dirty but in a way, yes! I look at other houses longingly. I sometimes covet my neighbor’s house. I can redecorate all day long. But remodel? I have a hard time envisioning knocking down the walls (although there is one in my house that has crossed my mind).
I’ve watched those HGTV before and after shows where they add a second level onto a ranch house. And my mind goes numb. I can’t quite grasp what used to be where and where it is now. Sounds like your kind of show though.
I love looking at houses! It actually helped because when it came time to buy a house we knew what we wanted (and what we definitely didn’t want).
I do a lot of looking at homes online. The more pictures, the better. I search different cities and just look and look. I try and guess the year the home was built, based on the kitchen, bathroom and rugs! It helps me decide what I like, what I love and what I must have the next time we move.
My favorite place to actually look inside homes at night…is the city. Seems anytime I stay in NY I am high enough to see into apartments and I make up stories about the people I see and what they must do to have a piece of Manhattan!
I live near Hope Valley, so that “million-dollar homes on the golf course” part really rang true for me! I always drive through there (I cut through the neighborhood to get to another main road) and think “Where do all these people work?! This is DURHAM!”
Doesn’t stop me from going to Realtor.com just to see if anything in our budget pops up in that ‘hood.
I do just love looking through houses – I never realized it was a shared thing!
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