There are certain rites of passage that we all must endure – often they
can be the making of a person, teaching valuable lessons – like the
first time you get caught in bed with your girlfriend’s best friend, or
looking for a place to live, they can be draining, upsetting, yet
educational experiences. Recently, I have been scouting for a new
domicile and it’s got me thinking…the similarities between looking
for somewhere to live and dating are actually remarkable when you
consider it.

First of all, it’s very difficult to get anything decent in Galway
lately, and accommodation is a disaster, too! We spend ages trawling
though online sites, scrutinising photos and arranging to see the
best, only to be invariably disappointed when viewing in person; it’s the same
with house hunting. When you’re young you just want to satisfy the
basic needs. You’re not thinking long term and any old hole will do.

Looking back you cringe with embarrassment, likewise, some of the
kips I’ve lived in would make you feel the same. It’s only when you’re
pushing on a bit do you give serious consideration as to whether you
can see yourself in this for the rest of your life – the same decision
you need to make when buying a house.

The initial viewing generally allows you to make a quick decision
whether you are interested or not. Once it’s clean, warm, accessible
and hospitable, chances are you’ll ask her out again. If a house ticks
the same boxes, chances are you’ll probably move in. I have gone to
view places that have the sink stacked with a week’s worth of dishes,
that’s like turning up to a date in a football jersey. Another no no
is a sprawling knoll of local papers slowly accumulation beneath the
letterbox, showing a lack of interest in current affairs and basic
cleanliness; two criteria which I also look for in my dates.

The viewing process, like dating, can be repetitive: Where do you
work? Why are you moving on? Do you cook? Have you any pets? Are you a
screamer? The questions that are the first few queries fired at you
upon crossing the threshold are generally covered in the first hour of
a date, in my experience. We are always being told that it’s what’s on
the inside that counts, not to judge a book by its cover; this, of
course, is nonsense. If a house’s exterior looks shabby and unkempt,
it’s unlikely that the interior will be any different, that’s if you
actually bother giving it the time of day.

The key to looking is knowing exactly what you want and taking ample time
searching. There’s nothing worse than ending up with a miserable,
unsightly, old-fashioned, run down, abomination of a girlfriend.