Spouse Hunting

Using the Rules of Real Estate to Find the Love of Your Life


Author Brian Belefant set out to write one book. The outline had 99 guidelines people need to know when purchasing or selling a home. During the writing process, however, he pondered whether there was a way to apply these rules of real estate, a vocation he excelled at, to something he was lousy at: finding a quality relationship partner.

Brian explains that he was single for a long time, long enough to grow exhausted of partying alongside other single, rich, good-looking, and powerful guys; dating beautiful women; and taking exotic vacations. He met his ex-wife while working in the film/video production industry. Brian discovered this career was not for him, despite his success. While changing his vocation to real estate, he also discovered that his soon-to-be ex married him because of his potential in the industry, not because of who he was as a person.

We all learn from our mistakes; Brian dedicates part of the book to his ex-wife, who “taught me everything I know about what a good partnership isn’t.” Through the writing process, he eventually discovered that just about every rule he uses to advise real estate clients applies to finding true love too.

His book is divided into 99 mini-chapters, so you can quickly work through a few chapters or pages. Real estate rules are listed first in the Kindle or digital version of the book. Then, Brian explains the “partner-finding analog.” Homebuyers will be able to relate the home buying experience to the relationship experience quickly.

50 Dates at 50 Take: 

Many of us Boomers and Gen Xers have been through the home-buying process. No doubt this experience taught us many lessons. Since buying a home is an emotional experience, Brian helps the reader recall some of those same emotions to keep them on track when doing due diligence in looking for a partner. Personally, I distinctly remember looking at homes in Orange County back in 2002. The market was hot. The average home in our price range was going up $5K a month. It seemed we were always a day late on the offers or a dollar short on budget. I looked at over 80 properties before everything fell into place on one that had good value. As a seasoned dater, homeowner, and landlord, I consider Brian’s application of the rules well-done. I now often internally analogize home-buying practices when it comes to dating.

The main point is that you don’t just go out and buy a home. It begins with preparation. First, your down payment needs to be in place, and your credit needs to be clean. Next, you need to be employed to qualify for financing. After that, available financing determines how much house you can afford. Then, your debt-to-income ratios need to be in alignment. Finally, the title on the property needs to be clear. Being datable and relationship-ready requires a similar plan. You need to be single (with a clear title), emotionally over your exes (in a position to evaluate the market properly), and financially in order (with a job, good credit, and a budget that allows for dating).

On a side note, I remember when Match.com allowed people to sort by income level. Unfortunately, income levels don’t reflect lived reality. Many Orange County and LA men have been through multiple marriages and support several children, with possibly more than one ex-spouse to support. (This is like a bad credit report with numerous liens.) Their income on paper looks great, but their financial obligations leave them little to no expendable income for dating. A fair share of men cope with this by racking up credit card debt. Thus, in many cases, the guys who earn much less than the high rollers have significantly more dateable income available.

Why You Need to Read It:

Here at 50 Dates, we like a proven system to follow when approaching dating. Brian breaks down the rules in two noteworthy sections: Rules #1 through #16 help you develop clarity, while Rules #17 through #99 create a focused working process.

To give you a closer look at Brian’s rules, I’ve taken the liberty to outline some of them below with commentary, in italics. The Real Estate Rule is in Red, and the Dating Equivalent Rule is in Blue. You’ll of course need to purchase the book for the more intricate details.

  • Rule #1 — Gird Your Loins
    • “Buying or selling a home can be a frustrating process.”
      • Brian is right on here. As I mentioned earlier, looking over 80 properties during my home-buying experience was eye-opening. About 40 properties in, you begin to develop a good sense of value.
    • You’re going to have to kiss a lot of frogs.
      • You learn much about yourself during those first 30 or 40 dates. The reality is only one in 10 first dates will have any potential. During those 30 or 40 first dates, who you are and what you seek will become clear. Don’t be surprised if what you seek changes during this time. Like learning the value of homes as you visit many, you’ll learn to spot quality datable people. I’m aware of many people who look at three to five homes and quickly settle on one–this is how many people approach dating, but not here at 50 Dates.
    • Trust that a person is out there.
      • Using Rules #17 through #99, you can create a process that works to find what you are looking for in a relationship. Trust the process!
    • Rule #9 – The Market Sets the Value
      • Value and price are not necessarily the same.
      • Just because someone earns a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean they know how to manage it, for dating or otherwise.
      • Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, and Realty.com are the laziest ways to determine value.
      • Dating profiles and pictures are the laziest way to determine who people are.
      • Comps are the only way to determine true value, and they require research.
      • Be careful when using someone’s looks, career, and/or income to decide their market value as a partner.
        • I’ve met or talked to dozens of guys and gals who all made the statement, “They looked so great on paper only to be a disaster or narcissist in real life.” You must go out and meet people face to face. It’s funny how those that look great on paper seem to get second and third chances.
    • Rule #15 – You Can’t Step Into the Same River Twice
      • Portland, OR, has about 500,000 single-family homes.
        • 1,630 are currently for sale. 2,682 were for sale last year, and 2,682 people found homes to buy. If they were looking a year later, they’d still find homes.
        • In 2017, the population of Portland was 647,805. According to a 2020 bestplaces.net study, 56.9% of the population is single. Even if half of them don’t identify as the gender you’re looking for and if 90% of those remaining are too old or young, the odds of you finding love are five times that of you finding a house. Reassuring, isn’t it?
        • Those numbers will be pretty much the same a year from now, but the people won’t be: same river, only totally different.
      • During your search as a 50 Dater, it’s essential to realize that those who are a great fit may not even be on the dating market at this moment.
        • Use this time to become a better dater so you are ready when a good fit comes along. A year from now, the dating pool will be completely different, and it changes daily.
    • Rule #67 – The First Offer Is Usually the Best One
      • If you get an offer, you should probably take it. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
      • The most significant factor that determines the success of a relationship is the people’s commitment to making it work.
        • Big YES to this!
      • The thing that matters is values.
      • “It takes two people to get married, but only one to be divorced.”
      • If you get a good offer in the world of relationships, you should probably take it. Unfortunately, many in online dating don’t. They keep waiting for a better offer to come in. It’s possible you might do better, but you probably won’t.
        • This is normal behavior when it comes to online dating and how most people operate. I’ve been a part of this personally and have learned from it. Unfortunately, now I see it in the attitudes of most people I run across in online dating. You have to make the best of your one and only chance.
    • Rule #68 – You Don’t Have to Sell
      • Many people are reluctant to list their home for sale because they’re afraid they’ll get offers for less than what they want. (They seem to forget they’re allowed to say no.)
      • When someone looks at your dating profile, they’re not deciding between yes and no. Instead, it’s between no or maybe. What “maybe” means is “let’s see if we can turn this into a yes.”
      • You’re not leading someone on if you agree to a date. You’re not leading someone on if you agree to go on a bunch of dates. What you’re doing is exploring the possibility.
      • If you’re convinced you aren’t on your way to a relationship, then you need to have two honest conversations.
        • First, ask yourself if you’re okay continuing with someone you don’t believe you can commit to. If you answer yes, it’s only fair to have a second honest conversation with the one you’re seeing. This is the conversation where you tell them what you’re thinking and ask what they’re thinking. Don’t expect them to know what you’re thinking.
        • This can be a tricky conversation; the harder it is to have that conversation, the less likely it is you two belong together.
    • Rule # 70 – Read the Title Report
      • Do not attempt to buy a house from a person who does not own it. It may have a lien on it. The title needs to be clean before you can buy the home.
      • You don’t enter into a relationship with someone legally obligated to have a more intimate relationship with someone else. You need to make sure the person you’re seeing is not still married—common sense!


Book Title:  Spouse Hunting: Using the Rules of Real Estate to Find the Love of Your Life

Author:  Brian Belefant

Year Published:  2020

Amazon Link

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