In this lovely year of change, we have seen our luck turn around drastically and we are in the situation where we are finally able to get in on the daunting task of home buying. Having rented for the past 5 years, we are very eager to find that place we can call home. Not that we haven't made each little place we rented our home, but we long to find that place we can call ours. There is nothing more sole crushing than giving someone a large chunk of money for something you will never own.
This week, after speaking with a lender about our options, we started looking for things in our price range. We set $110,000 as our limit because we don't really want to pay more than $850 a month after all is said and done. That would give us wiggle room for higher utilities, as well. So we found a few properties we found some interest in. They have most of what we're looking for, and that is a huge plus.
My list of desires include a spacious kitchen, older house with character (crown molding, fun floor plans, things of the sort), a separate area for washer/dryer (could be a room, closet, or in a garage, just as long as it's not out in the open somewhere), electric stove and gas heat, nice residential area, close to schools and shopping, fenced yard, and a fireplace would be a plus, but not necessary.
Jesse's list more includes a shed or garage, brick house, copper plumbing, up to date electrical, and probably a lot of stuff I want as well.
Charlie even has requirements! He says we need a fireplace so Santa can come in and a playground in the yard for kids (a swing set.)
Of the six houses we looked at, two were big fat "nos", one was filled with so much of the residents' crap I couldn't figure out what the house looked like and we just were too distracted by that we didn't even care anymore, then there were the three "love its". Those are the ones that jump out at us for various reasons.
The first is in a nice little suburb by Charlie's school. It's a brick veneer 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom with a giant kitchen and fireplace. I adore the color scheme inside the house with it's pea green walls and sandy brown carpet. Jesse and I agreed we could take the paint off and stain the wood paneling wall in the living room since that is something he's big on. There is a gorgeous fireplace and a big back yard and just so many things I love about the house, especially the neighborhood.
The next one is one subdivision over from that house and is what I would call the Teague Plantation for sure if we lived there. On a half acre of land, this 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house has a sun porch, detached garage, and a view of a lake from the back yard. Obviously a little too much land for us to maintain, it is a gorgeous historic house from the 40's with hardwood floors throughout, but definitely a contender in the list of choices.
The last one is around Lakebottom. It's a typical older brick home with a really neat floor plan on a sloped lot. There is a garage under the house and like the other two, it also has a big porch. I loved the glass windows on the cupboards where you can see the cups and dishes inside. It truly had an old south look to it and there was a lot about that place we loved.
I never really imagined home shopping would be such a daunting task in terms of narrowing down choices. I mean, it is very obvious to find the ones you don't like, but narrowing down the ones you do like to pick THE one is just unbearable at times. I could easily see us in any one of those three houses. I just try to imagine us and all our furniture inside. What would we be like? How would it look? Where would we put photos and pictures on the walls and in which rooms? Would we put the piano in the dining room like it is now or in another area? There is just so much to think about! Especially since we have some pretty nice options to choose from.
It's funny because I always thought when we got to buying a home, the hardest part would be the loan. Apparently I was wrong. The hardest part isn't the money. It's figuring out where you want to see yourself growing old and raising your family. Unlike buying a car, you are shopping for your creature comforts, practicality, and picking who you want for your neighbors and which schools your child will go to and what grocery stores you will shop at. Things that once seemed like trivial problems are now big ones. Frankly, if these are my biggest problem in home shopping, I think I'm doing OK.