"No more fixer-uppers," said Cassandra Wilshire of Nashville, Tennessee, regarding her search for the man of her dreams, or at least one open to offers in her price range. "Move-in ready is what I'm looking for."
Wilshire's search for love has led her into rickety attics, dirt basements, and claustrophobic crawl spaces, and, at this point, she's had enough of trying to renovate her relationships.
"The last one was a total money-pit," she said of her four-year affair with a broke and struggling musician, Steve, whom she'd (unsuccessfully) tried to coach in developing better eating habits to help with the health issues that hampered his performance in their spacious master bedroom. "He claimed he was up-and-coming," said Wilshire, "but, frankly, there wasn't much of either in our relationship."
And, before Steve, was a tumultuous eight-month fling with a continually-relapsing alcoholic, Stan, who'd required extensive rehabilitation in order to make him even remotely livable.
"Turned out he needed more than just rehab," said Wilshire. "He was a total gut."
Now, at the age of 50, Wilshire is ready for a relationship she can call home. While she was briefly tempted by a charismatic charmer named Lou, who lived 30 miles outside the city, she soon realized that his remote part of Tennessee was undesirable. "Location is everything," she noted.
As of yet, Wilshire has not found the move-in ready guy she seeks - and if she never does, that's okay with her, too. "There are lots of advantages to not being tied down. I'm happy to rent for awhile."
Even so, Wilshire says she's confident she'll recognize the right option when she sees it - and she's also clear that superficial aesthetics alone will never be sufficient to make her seal the deal. "Curb appeal is nice, but it's no substitute for structural integrity. And I have to want to be there. It has to feel really good inside."
That being said, Wilshire emphasized that her move-in ready man need not be perfect; indeed, minor flaws not only lend character and charm, but also enhance investment potential. "I'm expecting lots of appreciation," she said. "On both ends."