Monday, March 24, 2014

Lessons Learned from House-Hunting

Credit Specspaces via Flickr Creative Commonscaption
About a month and a half ago, I was just a wide-eyed, fledgling house-hunter, first embarking with my husband on our quest to find the perfect home, in a charming neighborhood, with everything on our wishlist and within our budget! Now, five offers later, after viewing the whole gamut of houses available on the market and soon to be, fingers crossed, a first-time home-owner...I'm a little more realistic.

After seeing everything from a fixer-upper with holes in the walls (like holes the size of windows, but without the window part) to a Florida-themed beach house that was nowhere near the beach, oh, and let's not forget the one with Civil War trenches in the backyard, you could say I've learned a few things:


My husband will laugh when he see this, because he'll claim he had to compromise more than I did. But regardless of who did more, if you are looking for a home as a couple, some compromising will have to take place.

He wanted a man-cave, i.e. a basement, and fell in love with a place that he thought was perfect. There was just one little problem, which was that among the things I definitely did not want was a split-level (I don't know why, I just have this weird thing about them). So, we ruled that one out. On the other hand, there were some places I loved that were missing the man-cave factor.

In the end, we tried to consider not only what was important to ourselves, but what was important to the other person, and find a place to satisfy us both.


Give-up the "Dream" Home

I was told by some, "Your first home won't be your dream home," but this was a hard realization for me to swallow. The fact is, we just aren't able to get everything we want in a home just yet. Our realtor told us, "If you can get 80 percent of the things on your wishlist, you're doing pretty good." So, it may not have a swimming pool in the backyard, or the perfect kitchen, but as long as it fulfills all our Needs and most of our Wants, that's what counts.


One of my friends had her house on the market for about a year and half, before finally getting fed-up and taking it off. I had heard many, many stories like this; so, when we began our search, we were expecting to get a steal on some house that had been sitting on the market for months.

However, the market we encountered contradicted our expectations. We went to an open-house on a Saturday afternoon and made an offer that evening, only to find four or five other offers had already been made. We went in at full ask and got outbid. We were blindsided! What happened to the terrible housing market everyone's been talking about?

From that point on, it was tempting to jump at any decent house we saw for fear it would get snatched-up. We had to constantly remind ourselves to only pursue the ones that met all our criteria. But, once we found those, we had to act fast! This could be due to the fact that the metro-Atlanta housing market is so competitive, or that the housing market is improving as a whole.

Ultimately, the takeaway from my experience was keep an open mind and, as my wise hubby pointed-out, it's just a house until you make it a home!