Sure, house hunting with a crackerjack real estate agent is a big plus, but it's best to heed this advice from ancient philosophy: You could also look to the skies for help.
"Astrology has been seen for thousands of years to be a viable art and science to map out people's personal lives as [they] relate to the skies," said Salem astrologer Aepril Schaile.
(Not everyone agrees. "My opinion as a scientist," said Daniel Patnaude, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, "is that it's not actual science. The view of it is that it has historical and cultural value, and certainly if you look back over time, people have tried to tie many historical events to astronomical events. ... But scientists really don't take it seriously. I wouldn't buy a house based on whether Mars is in my house.")
Schaile, however, finds it to be "one of those mysteries that science is still catching up with."
In the chart below, she identifies common astrological traits and related home-buying challenges and suggests ways to conquer them.
Grain of salt optional.
Aires (March 21 – April 19)
Impulsive, determined, likes to be first
Potential problem: Might be tempted to jump at the first home that's appealing
The fix: Trust your first instinct, but take the time to make a well-informed decision.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Patient, likes value and to acquire things, stubborn
Potential problem: Doesn't like change
The fix: Seek a solidly built home that is likely to hold its value and provide a long-term place to live.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Curious, skilled in business, good communicator
Potential problem: Could be more interested in asking questions than making decisions
The fix: Create a list of key questions and concerns about a property prior to viewing it. Try to stay focused on deciding whether to short-list it.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Sentimental, focused on home and family
Potential problem: Requires a home that supports the need to nurture
The fix: When touring a home, imagine you are hosting a family gathering like Thanksgiving. Do the rooms have good traffic flow? Would the kitchen allow cooking for a crowd?
Leo (July 23 – Aug. 22)
Generous, likes to be in charge, sees the home as a palace
Potential problem: Are attracted to glamor, so staying on budget could be a challenge.
The fix: Begin house hunting only after crafting a budget. If a "palace" isn't in the cards, look for a less pricey home that can be remodeled or added on to when funds allow.
Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22)
Detail-oriented, practical, observant
Potential problem: Sometimes gets so caught up in the details (think paint color) that the big picture (the condition of the walls) goes out the window
The fix: Take enough time to notice all the little things — and all the big things — about a potential purchase.
Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22)
Diplomatic, team player, indecisive
Potential problems: Could find it hard to establish — and stick to — a budget or a list of buying criteria. Sometimes struggles to be assertive.
The fix: Create a well-thought-out budget and a list of needs and wants. Muster the courage to ask lots of questions.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21)
Potential problem: Are the detectives of the Zodiac. They may fixate on questions like Why is the price so low? or Why are the owners moving? Or they may suspect the real estate agent of having ulterior motives.
The fix: Respect your intuition, but try to see the positives, not just the negatives.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21)
Likes open space, freedom, travel
Potential problem: The concept of a permanent home could feel restrictive.
The fix: Seek a low-maintenance home with an open floor plan and convenient to the highway or public transportation for easy mobility.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19)
Potential problem: Prefers function over form and needs a home that supports his or her work ethic.
The fix: Consider a traditional-style home with neutral wall colors and room for a home office.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18)
Intellectual, intuitive, likes excitement
Potential problem: Can easily envision a property's potential but might have a hard time getting it there
The fix: Think hard about whether your dreams for a property are realistic, given factors like budget, free time, and experience.
Pisces (Feb. 19 – March 20)
Potential problem: If you like the feel of a place, you might overlook things like leaky pipes
The fix: Pay close attention to the condition of a home's vitals — plumbing, electrical, roof, and so forth — when deciding whether to buy it.
Sarah Skeie Adams is a freelance writer on the North Shore. Send e-mail to Address@globe.com.