I’m buying a house. Well, to be more accurate, we are buying a house. I guess in my first blog involving my personal life I should introduce the person who told me to write more personal blogs. My wife, Katie (affectionately known as “Kita”) told me that my blogs are too aloof. So, this is my first foray into letting you, the reader, into my world.
Back to the house. We’re buying a house. We knew where we wanted to purchase. We knew how much we wanted to spend. We knew the “must haves” in any potential Casa de Musielak. However, that isn’t enough detail for me. I printed maps of the area, highlighted our “preferred zone,” overlaid school districts and their respective scores, and finished that up with additional maps of crime rates and average home prices. Finally, I created a report card for each house so I could create a quantifiable score of each home. I had the research. I had a process. I had a plan. I was ready to go.
Then we started to look at houses. The report card was busted after the first property. It scored a 9 out of 10. It was a perfect candidate for our first home…but it wasn’t our first home. There was no quantifiable, scientific, rationale. I could just tell it wasn’t it. So could Kate. By the third house on the first weekend, my whole procedure was out the door. There was simply no standardized procedure for buying a house.
I will cut to the chase here. We bought a house. Ok, we have a contract on a house. It is outside of our preferred zone, above the initial budget, and at best scores a 7 on my report card. It is, however, perfect. There is no way for me to explain why. There is no rational reason for it to be perfect. It has things that were never on my initial must have list and is missing things that were “required.” With all of that, I knew it would be our home when I stepped in the front door.
I’m guessing you are wondering what this post is doing on my professional blog. Well, here is the thing that brings it all together. The home buying process reminded me that sometimes the best-made plans are cast asunder simply by the nature of things. Regardless of the plan, the established process, or the procedural strategy, we need to react to what actually happens—to the real environment. I was not planning to buy a home that weekend. In fact, we only went out to see some examples of rehabbed house. That is not what ended up occurring. We reacted. We adapted. We bought a house.
You may not be buying a house but the lesson is the same. When plans go awry, the most important thing to do is recognize what is happening, analyze your realistic options, and refocus your energy on the reality of the situation at hand.
There is still a lot of work to do in the home buying process. I will inevitably develop checklists and procedures for each step (I am currently creating a map of entertainment, shopping, and restaurant options). This will inevitably drive my wife crazy and keep me sane. It is a delicate balancing act but it’s all part of life through the eyes of an operations professional. Stay tuned.