99 Rules That Will Get You To Meet The Person of Your Dreams with Brian Belefant
“If you look forward to making the sacrifice for this person, that's love.” -Brian Belefant
What do real estate and finding a mate have in common? In this episode, Shirley talks with Brian Belefant, author of Spouse Hunting: Using The Rules of Real Estate To Find The Love Of Your Life. Shirley and Brian discuss how to find the love of your life using the rules we often apply to marketing but surprisingly apply to dating as well. Brian walks us through the stages of spouse hunting- from contemplating what your ideal partner would be like to going over the “inspection period” by which you determine if you are right for each other. Tune in and create that relationship you want without the unnecessary heartaches and regrets!
01:44 99 Rules To Find The Love of Your Life
04:42 What Do Real Estate and Dating Have In Common?
07:43 How To Find Someone Who Suits You
14:34 Spouse Hunting Ideas
21:16 The Inspection Period
24:49 Think and Pay Attention!
04:57 “The one thing that can't determine the price that you're going to get when you're selling up a house, is what you think it's worth.” -Brian Belefant
05:30 “All of us tend to limit the possibilities, without realizing that we're limiting them by saying, ‘that's not in the realm of possibilities’. Stop it!” -Brian Belefant
06:55 “People think about what they want but they don't think about why it is they want what they want.” -Brian Belefant
12:03 “There's room in the world for advice coming from men because, in most relationships, we’re half the equation anyway.” -Brian Belefant
15:41 “You don't want to sell yourself to a buyer that's not looking to buy you. It's two parallel transactions. You have to go into a partnership with somebody who wants to partner with you.” -Brian Belefant
21:59 “The easier it is to disclose, the more likely it is that the relationship is going to work.” -Brian Belefant
23:51 “If you look forward to making the sacrifice for this person, that's love.” -Brian Belefant
Connect With Brian:
Brian Belefant began his career in Hollywood where he quickly rose in the production ranks as a Top Director, shooting hundreds of television commercials for household name brands and dozens of award-winning art films. Realizing he was looking at a major life change when his child was born with special needs, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, and became one of the top-selling real estate agents in the Pacific Northwest. Following an unexpected divorce, he wondered if he could use the set of 99 rules of real estate that he had developed to reenter the dating world with the goal of finding a new spouse. As luck would have it, he could! And now readers everywhere can do the same through his book, Spouse Hunting: Using The Rules of Real Estate To Find The Love Of Your Life.
Shirley Owens: My guest today is Brian Belefant. Brian began his career in Hollywood where he quickly Rose in the production ranks as a top director shooting hundreds of television commercials for household name brands and dozens of award winning art films. Realizing he was looking at a major life change when his child was born with special needs, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, and became one of the top selling real estate agents in the Pacific Northwest. Following an unexpected divorce, he wondered if he could use the set of 99 rules of real estate that he had developed to reenter the dating world with the goal of finding a new spouse. As luck would have it, he could. And now, readers everywhere can do the same. Hey Brian.
Brian Belefant: Hi, Shirley.
Shirley Owens: Thanks so much for being here.
Brian Belefant: Thanks for having me.
Shirley Owens: I'm very much in the relationship coaching world and this book of yours caught my eye so I'm super excited to talk about it and see what I can learn from you. Tell me a little bit about yourself and about the genesis of the book, and I just can't wait to hear.
Brian Belefant: Well, okay. So I'm the kind of guy who likes to break things down and figure out how the parts go together. So when I got into real estate, I kept notes. What worked, what kind of rules people were, the mentors that I had, what kind of things they said, always do this or never do this, or make sure your clients do that. And over the years, it kind of became this really long list. And I was finished being divorced and in sort of relationships, but not ones that were going anywhere. I gotta have it and had an epiphany that I was ready. I wanted to find the permanent home, emotionally, the person. And it just struck me that these rules that I was using for real estate, that I was advising my clients to use for real estate, the process could be almost exactly the same. As I went through and put them in order and figured out how they matched up, it was astonishing. I mean, it was one for one. At first, it was for me. Then I thought, because I'd like to write, I thought maybe I'd make blog posts but it turned out that there were pretty close to a hundred rules, I realized it was probably a book. So I made it a, and I know that sounds kind of flipped, I just held off and wrote a book, but I kind of just held off and wrote a book.
Shirley Owens: I did that once, I get it.
Brian Belefant: It's amazing. When you're inspired, you just do that.
Shirley Owens: Yeah. So 99 rolls, not a hundred. What made you stop at 99?
Brian Belefant: Well, okay. Let's be fair. It's actually 98, but I liked the number 99 better. So I duplicated one of them because it's kind of a, I mean, it's sort of like this weird meta thing about the rule that I duplicated is the point that I'm making, you know what I mean.
Shirley Owens: Yeah.
Brian Belefant: But I wasn't aiming for any number, it just happens. That's what I came up with. And as I spoken to the people who have helped me edit it and the people who I know that work primarily in real estate, just making sure I've covered all the basis, there are a couple of things that might turn into rules, but I don't think anything so far is big enough that it deserves its own rule and folding things into other rules.
Shirley Owens: Yeah, I get that. I always say there are rules and there are laws. Laws are meant to be kept and rules are meant to be broken. I gave my kids rules and I gave them laws and they kind of always thought about that so I like the rules because, I don't know, like you can work around them a little bit, right? Work them a little bit, kinda make them fit for you. So tell me, I mean, obviously, we can't go over all 99 rules and I want people to want to read your book. So tell me about some of the rules that maybe could really click at home right now with our listeners.
“The one thing that can't determine the price that you're going to get when you're selling up a house, is what you think it's worth.” -Brian Belefant
Brian Belefant: The one thing, some of them kind of surprised me when I came up with them or when they were given to me. One of them in particular with regard to real estate that surprised me when I thought about it was, the one thing that can't determine the price that you're going to get when you're selling a house is what you think it's worth. And I come across this all the time with clients that are like, I think my house should sell for $350,000. Well, that's great. You might be right, you might be wrong. I can't tell you that. Nobody can tell you that. The only person that can tell you that is the person that wants to buy it. And as it turns out, it's the same thing in relationships. I can never meet somebody who, blah, blah, blah, blah, maybe, or maybe you could, maybe you meet their needs, you know? And I think that that's something that all of us tend to do. We limit the possibilities without realizing that we're limiting them by saying, that's not in the realm of possibility. Stop it.
“All of us tend to limit the possibilities, without realizing that we're limiting them by saying, ‘that's not in the realm of possibilities’. Stop it!” -Brian Belefant
Shirley Owens: Yeah. That's a good one.
Brian Belefant: Yeah.
Shirley Owens: So maybe don't like to put so many boundaries on what it is that you think you're looking for?
Brian Belefant: Well, I think that the things to be realistic. When I'm looking for a partner, I'm for somebody who is beyond. I mean, it's a matter of emphasis, but principle is one of the really, really important things. Kind, healthy, funny, smart, beautiful, well, okay, yeah, that's a high bar. Is it realistic for me to attract somebody like that? I don't know. As it turns out, no, it's not unrealistic if I did. I have this amazing girlfriend who just ticks all the boxes by the same token, I don't think that if I said, I'm trying to pick a name, Jessica Alba, you know, it's going to be the perfect woman and nobody else is going to fit my needs. That's not realistic, or maybe it is. I mean, let's just, I mean, know what market that you can actually present your property in and know who the potential buyers are. And within that realm, be realistic. And also I think the important thing, I think a lot of people, they think about what they want, but they don't think about why it is. They want what they want.
“People think about what they want but they don't think about why it is they want what they want.” -Brian Belefant
Shirley Owens: I know that.
Brian Belefant: I want somebody beautiful, I want to be attracted to somebody, but the reason I want to be attracted to somebody isn't is a lot deeper than she's pretty.
Shirley Owens: Yeah. And what even is beautiful or pretty, it's so subjective to each person's eyes. So that's such a crazy statement. So when my kids were teenagers, I remember telling them to make a list, make a list of what it is that you want in a person. And then I would say, now, become that.
Brian Belefant: I love that.
Shirley Owens: I see that in your book. Tell me about that rule.
Brian Belefant: Okay. I didn't do it directly, but I love that part of it. What I do with my clients, I tell them to make three lists. And basically, it's the one that's broken down into three sections. The first section is the deal breakers either it is, or it isn't. And if it isn't, you don't even consider it. The second section is there has to be compensating reasoning. And for me, I have kids. My kids mean everything to me so I am not going to be with somebody who doesn't understand the relationship with a parent who has a child. Must have a compensating reason, I want to be with somebody who is a parent. My girlfriend's a step parent, does that count? Yeah. The compensating reason is she raised children. I mean, she may not be their biological parent, does she meet the criteria exactly? Not the way I wrote it, but yet a compensating reason is she gets exactly what world I'm living in and how important it is to me and I get it with her too. And then the third section is, I think it's super important to write a list of the things that you're attracted to. There are two reasons for me. One is, so you can do it. And the other is, so that you're aware that that's the thing that's turning your head. I have so many clients that are like, Oh, I want to live in a mid century modern home. Look at your lifestyle, it may be pretty, but does it suit you?
Shirley Owens: Yeah, I get that. And I also think about, as we grow, as we learn, as we progress, things change. I remember when my husband and I met, I'm older than him, he was like: "Oh, I would never be attracted to someone who's older than me." And I was like: "I'd never be attracted to a doctor." That was how this stuff in my head was about, or whatever. So like we had all these things and then the heart kinda wants what it wants. I remember my daughter, my oldest daughter, on her list to be an NBA basketball player. At 13, she had to be an NBA basketball player. But as she grew up, she realized like, this isn't real. I really would like it if she liked basketball because my brother plays, I love basketball. That might be something that they could do in common. And she married the perfect guy, he's just so amazing for her. Definitely not an NBA basketball player and I think he likes basketball, but he was more of a wrestler and a soccer player. Just a different personality than she thought that would be her personality. So as we grow and learn, we also can figure out that maybe what we wanted wasn't what we thought we wanted.
Brian Belefant: Yeah, or maybe what we wanted was more superficial, but the thing underneath the thing we wanted. Maybe she just wants somebody who's passionate about sports. Maybe she wants somebody who's passionate about anything, and that's the thing that is expressed through basketball but it can come up in a different way.
Shirley Owens: And her whole life, her hobby was to watch her brother play so she was just like, yeah, basketball is a big part of our life. I think that that was just kind of a huge thing for her at the time, and I think really what she just wanted was with someone who would support her brother, or support her, or like you said, passionate, he's super passionate so it's pretty cool. I feel like women are usually the ones giving dating advice because there's all this stigma. How has it been received that you're a man and you're giving dating advice?
Brian Belefant: I'm kind of pleasantly surprised that it's being received pretty well. I think part of it is that I'm too old to be, well, I'm not too old to be creepy, but I'm too old to be using this as a means to be scamming on women. I mean, I'm super happy in our relationship so that's not going to happen, but I'm also not the type of person that's going to happen with. And I'm also like, look at me? I'm old, I'm not threatening. That makes me come across as having a little bit more wisdom and a little less creep, I don't know.
Shirley Owens: Yeah.
Brian Belefant: But it seems to be, I think that there's room in the world for advice to be coming from men because in most relationships, we're half the equation anyway.
“There's room in the world for advice coming from men because, in most relationships, we’re half the equation anyway.” -Brian Belefant
Shirley Owens: Oh, for sure.
Brian Belefant: I do find interesting that it's generally, it's more women that are looking for advice than men.
Shirley Owens: Yeah.
Brian Belefant: I also think that there's an important distinction. I found that what's lumped in is dating advice can be broken into different sections, how do I get late advice? How do I find life partner advice? I'm not going to show you how to get late, I don't know.
Shirley Owens: Not your thing.
Brian Belefant: I don't know.
Shirley Owens: Which is good, yeah.
Brian Belefant: I will help you with the process of finding a person, and I'm not going to find you the person either, that's not what I can do. What I can tell you is follow these steps and you're more likely to find a person.
Shirley Owens: So give me like, I don't know, 10 steps. That's something that I really enjoyed seeing with your book is that you actually have steps or are applicable and they go with spouse hunting. Go through a couple of them. I remember one about the look at your neighbors, when you're moving into a house, you start, you look around you and you see what your neighbors are and what the neighborhood's going to be like. Do people keep their yards clean and all that kind of stuff? So tell me, throw out a handful of the actual spouse hunting ideas because I think that we didn't even cover that yet and your book is Spouse Hunting. So it's like house hunting and spouse hunting. So give me some comparables, just throw them out there for me.
Brian Belefant: Okay. Well, I think the weirdest first place to start is that it's sort of by section. The first section is getting started. That means you have to know that you're looking for either the spouse or the house you have to commit to that. I have, you know, a lot of real estate clients that are just, yeah, I think I want to look at houses. I have one of them working for two and a half years. Emotionally, she's not ready to commit to a house and she's not willing to accept that. But the reality is she hasn't committed to committing and that's an important step. You have to really decide that this is what you want and you have to understand why you want it. And then once you're committed to it, you have to be prepared. It's not going to be easy, it's not going to be, I mean, yeah, there are fun parts to it, but overall, the process can be very, very debilitating, but know that the outcome is worth it. I think the next step is actually in the process, and a big piece of advice that I give to people. In real estate, buying and selling are two different transactions. When you're looking for a partner, think of it in that way. You don't want to sell yourself to a buyer that's not looking to buy you. It's two parallel transactions. You have to go into a partnership with somebody who wants to partner with you.
“You don't want to sell yourself to a buyer that's not looking to buy you. It's two parallel transactions. You have to go into a partnership with somebody who wants to partner with you.” -Brian Belefant
Shirley Owens: Okay. That makes sense.
Brian Belefant: And then how do you go about that? I've separated into buying and selling because they are two separate things. I mean, when you're buying, you're looking at what's out on the market, evaluating those things for different characteristics, and then determining the one that suits you the best. And when you're selling, it is a lot of marketing. How do you present it to the world? How do you make sure that you get your listing out there? One thing that I think is super important to remember is that in real estate, I have this rule that listing doesn't sell the house. The listing sells the showing, it's the showing that sells the house. And I think a lot of people, when you think about it, the parallel in dating is your online profile. It doesn't sell you, it sells the date. You got to go on the date because that's how you get to know the person. So when you're looking at a profile, you're either going to get a no, or maybe you're not going to get yes, what you want is a maybe.
Shirley Owens: Yeah, there's a chance.
Brian Belefant: Right. And part of that too is the process. The more you pay attention to something that you do, the better you get at it so you need to pay attention. And one of the things that's, I think a brilliant tactic is, and I do this in real estate, finally started doing dating, asked for feedback. If somebody comes into a property and they don't want to buy it, ask them, why? You don't like the color? You don't like the layout? You don't like the price? Whatever. But you need to know this stuff. So if it's something that is legitimately changeable and should be changed? Then address it.
Shirley Owens: So tell me about making necessary repairs? When you have a house that you're going to, I don't know, you're going to sell, or you're going to buy, like there's going to be repairs that needed to be made, tell me about that.
Brian Belefant: Let's go back to what you were saying, make a list of what you're doing when you're selling a house as you're preparing it for somebody to buy it. Meaning, the house that's closest to being moving ready is the one that's more likely going to sell if two houses are equal. Well, if a person is, if you're not happy with the way you are? Fixed that. I mean, I'm not saying that we should all change ourselves, I think that we should make an effort to be the best version of ourselves that we can. When we were supposed to meet this morning and I wasn't there, I was out for a run. I'm not an athlete, but I want to be healthy. So my version of healthy is not triathlete healthy. Yeah, I go running maybe a couple times a week just to stay a little bit in shape. That's my version of me, and I want to be the best version of me. I can be. So the person that I attract recognizes that that's me. And I think that the problem that a lot of us do is like, I'm going to become a cinephile, I'm going to watch Polish cinema so that I'll attract intellectual people. That's great. What happens when you meet that person? Are you going to sit down and watch Polish film together? If that's something that turns you on, then yeah, do it. But don't pretend, that's stupid. You're just sitting somebody.
Shirley Owens: Yeah. And I think people do that a lot. I think our world, especially with social media and that type of thing is we see the best version of people or even like the fake version of people online. And then you get to know them and you're like your profile, I don't know much about online dating, I've never done it so forgive me if I sound like it's not right. But my understanding of it is someone will be like, I'm super athletic and then hiking or something, and then you meet them and you're like, and they're out of breath walking from the curb to the restaurant or something. So I have friends and family members who have done this and they're just like, I don't know why did they think I wasn't going to find that out, or you know? So I think that also right, it's important to have integrity and disclosures. I do know real estate lingo a little bit more than I do online dating, but you know, my assumption is that and I know that you've talked about this also it's just like, where are all the disclosures? How much, what are the HOA assessments? What are the big things? We just bought a house on an acre and our backyard is just an acre of dirt. We're in the process of landscaping it and we actually really realized that it's kinda like buying another house. We maybe have reassessed that, I mean, probably not because this is where we wanted to be, but you know, that's kind of like a situation where emotional baggage comes to play. What do these people have? What are the disclaimers and disclosures that they should be? If you buy a house that has mold in it, that's a disclosure and it's legal, and you have to do that. So when you're house hunting and spouse hunting, when you're, stuff's emptying, you're going to want to know what those disclaimers and disclosures are.
Brian Belefant: Exactly. And when you're house hunting in Oregon, and I think it's true for most States, we have what's called an inspection period where you, as the buyer, have the right to hire people to inspect the house and determine the things that are there, health and safety issues, but also anything else that might come up that you either recognize or didn't realize, or whatever. To me, that's part of a relationship. That's the phase that I'm in right now with this woman that I'm seeing. And it needs to be full disclosure. Here's my stuff. If we're going to make a long term goal, you're going to find out sooner or later. So here it is. My kind of rule of thumb is the easier it is to disclose, the more likely it isn't. The relationship has kind of work because that's kind of the bottom line with this woman that I'm seeing. I trust her with myself. I have no hesitation opening up anything to her. Well, that tells me a lot.
“The easier it is to disclose, the more likely it is that the relationship is going to work.” -Brian Belefant
Shirley Owens: Yeah. That's definitely such a must in a relationship being able to have that communication because you really don't want to get into something where you're kind of faking it to get into it. And you're saying that you're all these things and then you get into it, and then that's not really what you are, and then that person doesn't really like you and that just causes a really big mess, but it's been done. It happens a lot in the world. Obviously, we all want to be our best selves when we're entering into something. And sometimes, not the best self can show up in a relationship. So I think it's important early on to like, kinda disclose that and maybe have some experiences that might bring that part of you out.
Brian Belefant: Absolutely. Holidays, traveling together, all those things bring up. You see the frustrations, and the hard parts, and the stresses and all that. This is life. Especially if you're looking for something that, and I believe in death do us part. You're going to either, somebody is going to die or you're going to get old together so it's not always going to be easy. Are you willing to do that?
Shirley Owens: Yeah. And I mean, it doesn't matter who you're going into this with, it's just a given. We've all got to take the good with the bad. And it doesn't even have to be called bad, it can just be--
Brian Belefant: I was going to go there with that. I have my own notion about what love is, and we all have our own definition. But to me, if you actually look forward to making the sacrifice for this person, that's love. And that's what I have for my kids, my girlfriend, for my dog.
“If you look forward to making the sacrifice for this person, that's love.” -Brian Belefant
Shirley Owens: That's awesome. I could probably have a little bit more of that for my dog, but it definitely gets the kids and the husband. So if you were to give one piece of spouse hunting advice to our listeners today, just one thing that you can think of, what would it be? The first thing they can do? Let's just say someone calls you, it's like, Brian, I just read your book. I know I've got a million things I've got to, you know, what is the one thing that you can leave with them today that they can start today maybe to help them move forward to getting what they want out of a dating relationship.
Brian Belefant: Well, I was asked to write an article and this is where it came out. I'm going to say this, think, just think. Think about what you want, think about who you are, think about where you see your life, think about how you want things to turn out, think about what you'll do if they don't turn out, ponder those things. I'm not saying dwell on them, but just taking into consideration. Think about your approach, think about how you choose a place to go on a date, think about how you act on that date. Just think.
Shirley Owens: I love it. I always say awareness. Awareness is like my favorite thing.
Brian Belefant: In fact, I think awareness is a better way to say it because I'm saying, think about it, but pay attention and that's what awareness is.
Shirley Owens: I think that that's super important in all things is just to actually do something about it. So to not only think and be aware that this is what you want and what you need, but also a lot of us, and I know this has happened to me in my life so I can say this, but a lot of us can just get into something like, you wake up one day and you're in something. You're in this relationship with the person, you're like, how in the world did I ever get to this place with this person? And that comes from not thinking, that comes from not being aware of, that comes from just allowing each day to just kind of happen instead of us happening to that. So I love that. I think that thinking and being aware is such great advice.
Brian Belefant: Yeah. I love that notion because I'm guilty of it. I mean, you wake up and I get to this place.
Shirley Owens: So also one thing I always ask my guests, is there anything in your life that you regret or wish you could do over?
Brian Belefant: Yes. It's a cliche but I regret the things more that I didn't do than the things that I did. I regret deeply not paying attention to things, especially the red flags, and it's not just personal. I had a really disgusting, horrible divorce because I wasn't paying attention to the person that I married. But not just that, in many aspects of my life, having information available to me and disregarding it because I didn't want to hear it.
Shirley Owens: Well, that goes also back to awareness.
Brian Belefant: Yeah.
Shirley Owens: I love it.
Brian Belefant: So yeah, that's my biggest regret I think. Honestly, I look at my life, my life is awesome, my life is so good. I do think it kind of gives me the flip side of that. I know this is a cliche too, but I think gratitude is super important. I wake up every morning, even when I'm cranky and I'm like, wow, I get to live this life. I get to have these people in it. I get to do what I do, it's fantastic.
Shirley Owens: Yeah. Gratitude is huge. Cliche or not, it's super important. It's what gives us hope and excitement for our life to just have gratitude for what we have. So tell me how we can get to your book.
Brian Belefant: Well, I made a website, it's spousehunting.net, I'm sure you're wondering why .net? It's because this is way too important to do without a net actually because .com was taken. So that's where you've got sort of the center, you can get to me through the site, you can get to the book to the site. I'm dabbling with making a podcast and that's available through the site. I have resources up for things that'll help you get your -- together.
Shirley Owens: Awesome.
Brian Belefant: And so, yeah, it's spousehunting.net.
Shirley Owens: Okay. Perfect. Well, thanks so much for being here. This has been really fun and maybe someone is spouse hunting and house hunting at the same time right now so I hope--
Brian Belefant: Yeah. I think about that. Maybe you should do it one at a time.
Shirley Owens: I love it. No, I think a lot of us have done one or the other and could use it for both. So thanks so much for being here and I'm super grateful that you decided to come on, thanks.
Brian Belefant: Thank you, Shirley, this has been super fun.