After suffering disappointment when perusing House #1, we moved on to the other open house that was scheduled in our area. Based on the pictures that we viewed online, it wasn’t a favorite of ours, but it was in our price range, so we assumed it to be a clue into what we could get at the price point at which we were comfortable. Despite the fact that we were pre-approved for a mortgage in a higher price point, we were purposefully shopping below our threshold in an effort to see how we could stretch our dollar for our first home.
House #2 Stats
Square Feet: 1,512
Year Built: 2005
When we first walked into the open house, Sara immediately wanted to leave. For every “nice” feature of the house, there were two terrible features overshadowing it. For instance, while the upstairs living room was nice and open, the room was completely closed off to the kitchen, and the kitchen was finished with builder basic cabinetry that wasn’t our style. I wasn’t so quick to write it off because the price was much lower and I saw some potential, but the basement setup (drop-ceiling tiles…ick) and the view looking off the (admittedly beautiful) deck (we don’t want to see one hundred stalls of storage every day as we sip lemonade on our deck) were enough for me to bid this home good-bye.
There we were, two houses in, and we had two discouraging experiences. We decided to take some time to regroup, so we found the local watering hole and soaked in our first summer beverages while chatting over what we just experienced.
This meeting was more important that you can imagine. Our pre-determined lists changed, our minds were opened, and it was great to throw thoughts onto paper together to try and draw some conclusions. And conclusions we drew.
Here’s what we realized:
– Split-level layouts didn’t bother us. What did bother us was losing valuable communal real estate in the master suite.
– We weren’t afraid of getting our hands dirty. We weren’t afraid of painting walls, cabinetry, adding a fourth bedroom, but we wouldn’t entertain any of these ideas for a home that wasn’t already a keeper for one reason or another. In other words, we were looking for something to charm us and inspire us to do some work to make it our own.
– We needed to see more homes. While the Internet certainly started our search off right, we realized that actually stepping inside a home is invaluable, especially for first-time homebuyers like us, to visualize life in a home.
– We may need to expand our target budget. This fact didn’t surprise us – we’ve watched enough House Hunters episodes to know that many a couple end up spending more money than they initially planned – but it certainly was a consideration to take into account.
After our stint at the watering hole, our search continued. We had a meeting with our agent an hour later, and so we picked up baby L, transferred him to my sister to watch for the next few hours, and met up with our agent to continue our voyage.