House Hunting

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We just put an offer on a house!

For the past year, we’ve been living in a one-bedroom apartment, and we’re ready to get out of there to a more spacious, permanent residence.

Impeccable reasons for buying a home:

No dishwasher (I need a dishwasher); no air conditioning (I NEED AIR CONDITIONING); no in-unit washer and dryer (we’re out of quarters); no garage for Wisconsin’s always-winter-and-never-Christmas (boo); no outdoor access (waah); no place for out of town guests and family visits (sadness); and we can’t hang anything on the walls; and it’s quite a workout to haul groceries half a mile to the kitchen; and we both need to pee at the same time (not often, but when you gotta go, YOU GOTTA GO) and there’s only one bathroom.

We started our house hunt like all the pros do — watching Flip or Flop. (We recommend a steady intake of four or five episodes a night for at least three days straight.)

Then we got serious and started poring over the Home and Gardens magazine.

(Don’t worry; we got around to Googling pertinent questions, like, “How on earth do I find the right house???”)

Three things were in our favor: a small budget, which limited our options; an amazing buyer’s agent from Vesta Real Estate Advisors; and marital agreement over what we wanted in a house. We both wanted a large enough house to grow into over the next seven to ten years. We were open to a fixer upper, but I wanted something we could move into with minimal interior work. Three bedroom, two bath, an open layout, a good-sized yard, a neighborhood not too suburban but not too isolated — those were our other requirements.

We looked at pretty much every home in our budget — from an 1800’s house with the original farmhouse still attached (and a blue pickup sitting in the massive garage), to a tiny bungalow with a neighborhood dog greeting us at the doorstep.

Our first love was an open-concept, modern condo with an Eastern vibe and the most relaxing, romantic master bedroom I’ve ever stepped foot in. It was at the top of our budget, but we were willing to bite the bullet and make adjustments for this gem. Then Erich’s eagle-eye noticed that the condo docs only allowed a three person max per condo.

What.

I’m just going to stop there, because I’m still bitter at the condo docs and their stupid rules and that beautiful, beautiful home…..

Anyways, we had our mandatory couples fight over finances that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night — glad to get that out of the way — and went back to looking at houses. My mother-in-law suggested we reconsider the foreclosure with the scary basement that I immediately wrote off because the roof needed repairing and the soffit was falling in and there was black stuff growing everywhere. 

Advice: listen to your mother-in-law.

Now that we’d looked at twenty houses in three weekends and knew the comps of the area (sorry, had to channel my inner Flip or Flop at least once), we knew that despite the forest growing in the front yard and the puddle in the backyard and the random mold on the third bedroom wall, this house was a steal.

My father-in-law said when you’ve found the right house, you get this “feeling.” And I got that feeling — despite the spray-painted fish in the basement and the caving garage floor and the outdated amp service.

But you know what? It has a dishwasher.

I’m excited.

I’ll keep you updated on whether the offer goes through or not. In the meantime, tell me about your first home!

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6 thoughts on “House Hunting

  1. villemezbrown

    Congratulations!! That is so exciting! Buying your first home is a big step. Our first house was . . . well, it was glorious, but I may be biased. One thing – if your offer is not accepted try not to be too disappointed. The first offer my husband and I made on a house was not accepted and looking back I realize that house was not the right one for us. It was a little out of our budget and just not “us”. However, it sounds like the condo might have been that little initial step astray for you, so I am optimistic you have found the right house for you and your offer will be accepted. We ended up living in our first house for less than two years before moving to a different state, which was not at all what we were planning when we bought it. The house we have now doesn’t match our “dream” the same way, but we have been here for almost 15 years and it’s home. :-)
    Good luck!
    Adele

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  2. Kristin H.

    That’s very exciting! I hope things work out for your new home. This feels applicable to me right now, because I’m engaged and we’re working on the little house where we’ll live. It’s next door to my parents and they own it, so it will be rent-free for a few years. But we have a lot of repairs and work to do in 6 months, including replacing all of the floors in the house! So far we’ve just done smaller things that have had a big impact, like painting the bedroom and staining the kitchen cabinets.

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