Real Estate Lessons in Movies: The Notebook (2004)

The Notebook is known for a lot of things. It's known for launching the careers of its' Canadian stars, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. It's known for being arguably the best romance movie of the century. And let's face it, it's known for that famous kissing in the rain scene. It even won "Best Kiss" at the MTV Movie Awards.

The Notebook Poster

In case you aren't familiar with the story, or it's simply been a while since Gosling and McAdams' performance made you laugh, cry and swoon all in the span of two hours, The Notebook -- based on the Nicholas Sparks novel by the same name -- tells the story of two young people (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) falling in love in the 1940s. He's a farm boy, she's an heiress – so evidently their relationship is going to have some bumps along the way.

Their love story is told by an elderly man (James Garner), who is recounting it to a female patient (Gena Rowlands) at the nursing home where they both live. The film hops back and forth between this elderly couple and the young lovers -- creating an added layer of mystery as to how they are connected, in what would otherwise be a pure romance flick. In addition, Noah's cute and cheeky pursuit of Allie, as well as her clever retorts add an extra layer of humour to the love story being told. Plus, because it's set in the '40s, history buffs or classic movie lovers will find a whole lot to enjoy too.

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All this leads to a very well-rounded film that is so much more than the simple love story it may look like on the surface. So even if you tend to not be a fan of romance films, keep an open mind because The Notebook has a whole lot more to offer. That's why we give the film a rating of 10/10 -- it's a charming movie that is sure to touch the hearts of just about everyone.

Real estate in The Notebook, you say?

The Notebook teaches us about all kinds of things – passion, young love, sacrifice, the list goes on. But it also has some lessons to share on an unexpected subject... real estate. That's right, folks. In between all those romantic rendez-vous and passionate kisses are some solid life lessons on making your dream home a reality. Don't believe us? Check this out.

1. Buy what you love

When Noah first saw that worn down old house, he didn't see a worn down old house. He saw his future home. Now maybe everything can't be as epic as it is in the movies. But we think there's something to be said for knowing when a place you're seeing is "the one". Sure, it needs to make sense logistically and financially as well, but the right place often has that special "this is the one!" factor. The I-need-to-buy-this-own-this-and-move-into-this-right-now factor. When you're going to invest so much of your money, time and energy into a place, you have to love it.

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2. See the diamond behind all that "rough"

In the scene where Noah takes Allie to see the house for the first time, we don't see too much of the place -- some rickety floors, a dusty living room, a whole lot of cobwebs and a dangerous looking staircase are all our imaginations have to work with. But we can pretty much guess some renovations will be in order. Despite all of the impending work, Noah looks at this run down space and knows he can make it beautiful. Obviously you don't want to buy a run down place if it isn't in your budget or patience-level to update it. But don't discount a place just because you see a few things you don't like. With a little work a dirty looking fireplace could be turned into a beautiful focal point for your living room. And that old, peeling wall paper can be removed and replaced with a vibrant coat of paint. So before you discount a house that may be just right, take the time to see if a few tweaks could make it the home of your dreams.

3. Spot the perks

When Noah first takes Allie to the huge home he plans to buy and fix up one day he freely admits it's not much to look at. But he also astutely points out some of the benefits it has -- such as the fact it is on the water and has a barn on the property. Okay, chances are you don't need a barn in your new home. But there's definitely something to be learned from Noah's ability to spot the bonuses a property might have. Location is of course a prime example. But you'll also want to keep an eye out for other aspects that might affect the value of a new home such as proximity to good schools if you have kids, grocery stores for convenience sake and places like restaurants, fitness facilities, etc. depending on what is important to you. So before you decide a home is for sure the one or rule it out altogether, consider some of these other factors.

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4. Know your priorities

Sometimes it just isn't possible to get all the things you want on your list within the price you can afford. That's why it's so important to know which aspects you would like to have and which ones you can't possibly be without. For example, when Allie thinks of her future dream home she knows it wouldn't be complete without a place she can paint, as well as a wraparound porch. Fortunately for her, Noah goes all out and repairs and adds everything she could possibly want or need. But if you don't have an unlimited budget, write down those must-haves you truly need and be prepared for things you merely want to be left behind if necessary.

5. Don't procrastinate on necessary renovations

Okay, so maybe your new home isn't the place you almost hooked up with the partner of your dreams for the first time in and you know if you could just pretty it up a little she'd come back to you, as is the case in The Notebook. But there's still a lot to be learned from Noah's fierce passion about getting the project done. We've all seen houses that seem to be perpetually under construction -- like they got started years ago with big plans and then lost interest or got discouraged and now their home is stuck in limbo. Don't let that be you. If you're investing in a place that will require renovations, know each and every change that needs to be made and have an informed timeline of when you want things done. Big renovations often take longer than expected but knowing what needs to get done and pushing for your dream timeline will help ensure you get the home you want, done right and completed as soon as is realistically feasible. That way you can be done with the renovation process and get to the fun living in your dream home part!

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6. Find a trusted team that can get the job done

In the film we see Noah and his dad briefly working away at fixing up the place and then BOOM, a few years later they've made a house. Well, that's all well and good if you have a hands-on knowledge of how to fix things. But if not, you're going to want some good people to help you along the way. Replacing wiring, thatching a roof or reworking the plumbing are not jobs for the uninformed. So if your new home needs work, make sure you find the right people to get the job done properly. This also extends to finding the right place. Chances are you aren't just going to stumble across the house of your dreams like Noah did. For most, finding your dream home requires a bit of a search, and the right real estate agent can help you with that. Don't wait to miraculously come across your dream home, find a real estate agent you trust to get out there with you and help you find the perfect place for you and your family.

There you have it, folks! On the surface The Notebook may seem like a simple tale of young love, but underneath there is a whole lot of good advice to be garnered... on real estate of all things! So the next time someone teases you for watching Gosling and McAdams make out for the umpteenth time, you can tell them you're researching buying a new home -- and you will be totally justified in doing so!


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