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Love it or List it!

Some time back, I started to take some vocal lessons. There I was leading a group of people and was literally musically inept. Don't ask me how I became the leader, 'cause that's a whole other story for another day. Needless to say, I needed help in an area I was not well versed in.

In my very first session, the coach asked me, "What is it that you like about your voice." I literally could think of nothing good to say about my voice. I was drawing a blank. I mean zilch, nada, nothing! For so long, I've told myself I'm not a singer, regardless of how many people told me I was.

In my mind, I figured at best, I could hold a tune. But I was by no means a 'sanger' or had what it took to be a group leader. This got me thinking, what if someone asked you to give a list of your favourite things, would 'you' make it to that list? Yet, here we are in a world, trying to convince people to buy into a product that most of us don't ourselves endorse.

Based on my personal preference, I can see how and why people are picky when they're house hunting. But on the flip side, we 'settle' when it comes to a life partner (insert confused emoji). It is said that a house purchase is one of the most significant financial investments of your life but a life partner, now that's some next-level commitment.

If you've watched any amount of HGTV, you'll know most agents say that kitchens (the heart of the home) and bathrooms (the place where you most likely to have solitude) sells houses. Translation: where people are fed (the place you get sustenance) and where you're most vulnerable (the place you get naked). In the who's who of companion-real-estate, are you someone who can both feed and be a place where they are safe to be defenceless without judgement?

When individuals encounter you, are they moved to put you into escrow (let's call that engagement), which they'll be moved to close (let's call that marriage)? Or are you what they consider a foreclosure (you fail to met obligations), and they are forced to keep looking? Are you considered a starter home (girlfriend) or a forever (dream) home (a wife)?

Will they find you too much of a liability because you've not been upgraded in the last 20 years? Or will they conclude that you have good bones, character, and dare say you're worth the investment? Basically, when people encounter you, will they love it or list it?

Rental Property

Renting is an alternative to outright buying a home. Some people rent because they aren't qualified to own. Others rent because they have minimal responsibility. It means no overhead expenses, no upkeep or recurring costs, which equals no liability.

I call this the singles dating phase. I've been a renter, and I pride myself on leaving the dwelling in a better state than I met it. I'd usually paint and change some fixtures here and there. Sometimes, I'd even upgrade items and not be niggly and take them back when I leave. My previous Landlords can't ever say I was the tenant from hell.

None of them can say that I didn't deserve my security deposit back. Now what they may say is I was late a few times on rent. And in the grand scheme of things, I suppose that made for a horrible tenant. Let's face it, landlords are in the business of making money. If homeownership is your end game, creditworthiness would have to be evident in your financial history.

This means then that if all of your exes got together and all consistently say the same things about you stemming back the last 10 years, then you, my friend are not growing. If they all can talk about the same rickety floorboard, and how you had to hop over it, then I ask you what in the designed to sell is going on with you?

Rehab Addict

Rehab is a process designed to help a person recover from an issue. I remember in my 20's, if the therapy you talked about wasn't for a physical ailment, then you were rendered 'crazy.' If I knew then what I know now, I would have spent some of that Walmart money on confronting some ideologies in my mind. Especially those that made my relational processes warped.

I reckon this process should happen after every breakup. This is the right time for your upgrades to occur. No, not your Khole Kardashian revenge body, but the renewing of your mind advancement. This is where you take the time to do the work and invest in you. This is where you acknowledge your role in the ordeal and map out how you don't intend to repeat this behaviour.

While I'm not saying, you shouldn't lose weight or get braces or whatever you what to your physical structure. What I am saying is invest in reinforcing that load-bearing walls (i.e. your spiritual life).

Don't go to someone either because the price is lower (i.e. your friends). Shoddy work means you've paid twice for something that could have been done right the first time. Seek professional advice that will aid in your overall development.

Stay in your lane. None of my married friends come to me for marital guidance, nor am I qualified to give parental advice. Now, what I can tell you is the process of writing a story or how to lose a guy in 10 days. Those things, I can speak to.

Fixer Upper

To me, this stage is for the woman that always tries to fix a man. Older Bahamian women would usually warn younger one's to leave men just as we'd met them. "If you meet them dragging slippers, leave them dragging slippers!" I know for sure many women can attest to the fact that they have at least fattened one frog for a different snake.

Still, I believe you can only be who you are. We can't all be Oliva Pope (a fixer), but if your mere presence brings motivation, then by no means should you suppress that quality.

After rehab, you'll probably think you can take on the world. Your confidence level may be on 100, but don't let that fool you. Take a bit more time. I may not have secured 'the ring' to this end, but no dude can say that he didn't learn valuable lessons from me. And I suppose that works both ways. No, I wasn't out there buying men, but each of them can say, I enriched them inwardly. How do I know this?

Well, I always get this one recurring line, "Raquel, I've learned so much from you!" At this point, I don't know whether to take this as a cliche or a compliment. Needless to say, Chip & Joanna can take the most dilapidated of houses and turn them into liveable art. As one persnickety guy posed the question to me, I'll ask you, "Are you a meal (good for one use) or a mate (have a life-time expectancy)?"

Flip or Flop

Honey child, my relational resume reads like the bank's distressed property listing. While there are some properties with good bones, it's safe to say one man's trash is sure another man's treasure. I've done some flips, and while the staging was nice, either the property was overpriced, or it was merely not a buyers market that year.

I suppose that then means I've flopped, a lot! But then again, I also learned even more. What's the point of all this trial and error, only to come out the same as before? I know at the end of a relationship, it feels like the person ruined your life. It feels like you'll never find anyone like them. You wonder for weeks on end what you could have done differently, and maybe if you just hadn't said that one thing, perhaps you would have had a different outcome.

On the show Flip or Flop, when the house flopped (meaning no one bought it), that was not because it wasn't par excellence! Nor did it mean that the builders hadn't ensured all the fixings were up to code. There was literally nothing wrong with the house. It was perfect for all intent and purposes. The right owner just hadn't found it yet. Some houses sit on the market longer than others, but it doesn't mean that the house is not someone's dream home.

I know, it's hard being an older single person, and if someone had told a 25-year-old me this would be my forte, I would have been pissed. Being an older single-gal has its advantages. I'm no longer indecisive. I know what I want, and I'm not second-guessing. And like an island saying goes, "old broom knows where to sweep!"

House Hunters

In this scenario, I'll liken the house to your heart. On my 21 x 7 island, it is widely understood and joked about, that we don't date. Two outings and you're in a relationship. It's like we trip, fall and wake up to our social media status being "in a relationship."

Stop entertaining people whose background check reveals they are not even qualified to do a walkthrough. Those kinds of people should only be allowed to view the photos online. Your heart is prime real estate; you have to be selective about who you allow to take up residence in your heart.

When a person is in the market for a home, it is usually because they are preparing for a family. I mean, don't get me wrong single people buy houses all the time but for the most part, this step is something families do. I'm going to equate this stage to you being ready for the open house.

On House Hunters, whether staged or not, at the beginning of the show, they tell you who the people are, their professions, and how much they are qualified for. Typically, they don't show these potential buyers' houses out of their price range. Aside from that, the buyers are given multiple contenders, even though we may only see three on the show.

While people can and do pretend, I promise you there are always telltale signs if you pay attention and ask the right questions. In fact, just consult the chief engineer (God), and He'll tell you exactly what to do. He'll let you know which of the 3 houses is your best bet. Chin up cupcake, when you're single, you have options.

Love it or list it, too!

Love it or list it, is a show where homeowners are already vested in the residence but have long since come-up on some issues. One partner wants to stay, and the other is done and wants to leave. The designer is hired and with some funding is there to provide upgrades and functionality, ultimately causing the owner to fall in love with the home again.

On the flip side, there is a real estate agent who is there to show the homeowners what else they could have for the same investment. After the big reveal of the current home's makeover, the owners must decide whether they love it or list it. Without the fluff, let me be obvious: "Singleness-is your love it or list it, phase. After you've said, "I do," is not the time to be considering your shoulda, coulda, woulda's.

So, maybe you're in a relationship, but there are some warning signs: a leaky faucet, a broken window pane or possibly its structural. If this relationship is at all worth saving, I say its time to bring in the experts. It's customary to have premarital counselling after the engagement, but may I submit to you today that this can happen before that moment.

I often say anything can be solved with a conversation. And I don't mean shouting and being demeaning. Listen, if one person speaks in colour and the other in binary, even if you're saying the same thing, you'll butt heads. Maybe it's time for a mediator.

This is just my theory, but if your list of reasons for loving a person is merely based on the tangible, then should those variables change, then your love changes with it. When your love is rooted in the intangible, then ironically, that is on solid footing.

This show is a prime example of my theory. One partner loved the house when there were no kids, and now the kids have arrived, that party hates the house while the other thinks it can still work with some small adjustments.

All's I'm saying is before you 'love it,' ensure that frivolities don't cost you to seek solace in other possible 'listings.' A famous real estate mantra says, 'location, location, location.' Translation: Always know the position you hold in your relationship.

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