House Hunting Madness

Is house hunting turning me into a crazy person?

CW and I have recently aquired the services of a real estate agent and a mortgage lender and the hunt is officially on.  We’ve spent ages poring over the MLS, looking at photos online, and have finally started seeing houses. So far, we’ve seen three in person and will see five (!) more this afternoon. Here’s the thing: one of the first three we saw, we really, really like. We both keep thinking about it more and more and liking it more, not less, when we consider it. It’s listed at just a bit more than we’d like to pay and we don’t love the particular shade of brick, but otherwise, we basically love it.

I just keep hearing that you shouldn’t fall in love with the first house you see (it was the third we saw, but the principle still applies, I think) and that you for sure shouldn’t fall in love with any house until the inspection. Of course. And, I mean, I don’t know. Are we in love, or is it just a crush?

At any rate, the five houses we’re seeing this afternoon are all similar to the object of our crush, but priced a little better. Online, none of them looks quite as great, but we’ll see. Maybe you get what you pay for, I keep thinking. Maybe they’ll come down on the price, I keep thinking. If we don’t like any of these other houses as much in person as we like The One We Like, we might just make an offer.

It’s funny: this whole house hunting project has me (well, both of us, but this is my blog so I’m not going to write about my husband’s feelings) — it has me really evaluating what I want, and finding that it perhaps wasn’t what I thought I wanted initially. I’d always pictured specific neighborhoods and older houses that could be fixed up: places “with character” that I could “make my own.” I think I may have been overestimating exactly how cool I am. I may also have watched too many episodes of Property Brothers.

When moving from hypothetical dream fixer-uppers to potentially real purchases, real dollars, and real work, I suddenly find myself less and less interested in doing much renovation. Painting and changing certain fixtures? Sure. Replacing all counters, cabinets, flooring, and appliances in a kitchen? No. Anything that involves (re)moving a wall? Absolutely not. We are two busy people who work full time and are trying to procreate. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So it turns out that rather than an older fixer-upper in an established neighborhood, what seems more attractive to me now is a newer house that might not be in the center of town but that requires very little work to move in. Basically, a house in a subdivision: the antithesis of cool. I’m not even sorry.

The whole thing has the feeling of being a gamble, too. We started looking a little early — we don’t need to make an offer this month in order for the timing of a summer move to work out. So do we make a move now, or wait? Do we go for the house we like best now? Or do we risk losing that one while waiting to see if something better comes on the market when the “busy season picks up,” which is supposed to happen “soon”? Hmpf.

I suppose we will figure it out. In the meanwhile, we’ll probably both be spending at least two hours a day scouring online listings, squinting at terrible real estate photography, and trying to answer some of life’s most difficult questions, such as “is that a tile shower?” or “why is there a water heater in middle of this ‘bonus room’?”

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5 thoughts on “House Hunting Madness

  1. Dangermoose April 1, 2015 / 5:13 pm

    I don’t really regret buying an older house with character that we dreamed of fixing up. And we did do some fixing up. But Lord was it hell in a chicken suit.

    You know, like if you decide it’d be fun to put in a new shower and the next thing you know you find that half the bathroom floor is ready to collapse from dry rot and you are tearing it down to the joists and have no toilet for two days and no shower for like a week which puts the wife in a SUPER mood, and then once you do have your new subfloor in and the toilet back, you find that your new shower insert doesn’t quite line up with the ancient plumbing, and also now you need a floor, right, even though there had been a perfectly good floor before you had the shower idea, and you could just slap down some linoleum but NO, even after all this you still can’t stop yourself from wanting to get cute, so you end up with a six week tiling job on your hands.

    To give but one example.

    I don’t regret it but I won’t be doing it again.

    So good job to you for having some sense!

    (Coda: we may have just sold that house today! Woot!)

    • ravelingoutko April 2, 2015 / 10:34 am

      I am so glad you commented — I vaguely remember your shower-tiling project, somehow. Y’all must have posted about it at the time and I think I had it in the back of my mind when thinking about some of this. At any rate, that’s the exact type of scenario that I just don’t feel like I have the bandwidth to deal with at the moment, although I think it’s AWESOME that you did, and maybe some time in the future we will be willing to take on those kinds of projects.

      And, more importantly, CONGRATULATIONS on the sale! That’s great news!

      • Dangermoose April 2, 2015 / 4:13 pm

        Yeah, bandwidth is what it’s all about. If one day you ever do have the bandwidth for a fixer, just make sure it has at least two bathrooms and a dishwasher before you move in. (That was another fun one– finding out we could only install a dishwasher if we {cough} raised the entire frikkin countertop, which would have really meant retiling the whole kitchen. Never got around to that one.)

        Thanks for the congrats. It’s been a long time coming since we haven’t lived there for three years. Hoping it all goes through.

        And I hope you find just what you’re looking for! Be particular as hell; they don’t do refunds.

  2. Ashley April 4, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    So glad Dan jumped in on this. Reading your post I was all set to jump in and say it’s okay to not go the fixer route. It is fun and terrifying if you do, but the reality of it can be expensive and way less cool than it looks on all those diy shows. I want to add to this conversation that I have learned to be okay with my housing dreams changing A LOT. Don’t be hard on yourself for wanting something that doesn’t fit the image that you started out with. I hope you love what you end up with.

    • ravelingoutko April 12, 2015 / 4:50 pm

      Thanks, Ashley. Those are wise words. It is starting to seem like even with a relatively new and up-to-date house, there will still be tons of projects to take on, so we will still get to feel like we’re making it our own. Paint colors, herb gardens, building a fire pit, etc.

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