I’ve alluded to the fact that we are about to purchase a new house, but I was a little brief with details while we were going through the mortgage approval process (and oh, what a trip that was). Thankfully, things are squared away, and we are now nine days away from closing! So I wanted to take a little trip back in time and talk about why we decided to take this step now, and how we ended up choosing the home we did.
Rich and I have been living together in a row home he bought about a year before we started dating. Before he bought it, he had actually rented it for six years. So when we moved in together, it made sense to just live there, since I was a renter, and the mortgage on the place was far lower than what it would cost to rent something comparable. But although the house was a decent temporary location, both of us knew it wasn’t the type of place we wanted to be in long term. We dreamed of a yard that was attached to the house, instead of across an alley. We longed for the days when we didn’t share walls with anyone we weren’t related to. We had been talking for a while about moving in 2011, maybe putting the house on the market in the spring and moving at some point during the summer.
So just in preparation, we started paying more attention to the housing market. We watched home values and interest rates both falling. And we started thinking, why not now? Sure, we might have to pinch pennies for a little while to make it work, but buying a house when the interest rates are so low could enable us to save tens of thousands over the course of owning a home. And the ultra low home values meant we could get more house for our budget, and possibly find something that we could stay in for the next 20 to 30 years. We decided it didn’t hurt to look.
We took the oldest house hunting advice in the book and made a list of our must haves/like to haves for a potential new home.
- Single family home
- Yard that can be potentially fenced (or is already fenced).
- At least three bedrooms
- At least two bathrooms
- Good school district
- Outdoor living space of some sort (porch/deck/patio)
- Didn’t add more than ten minutes to our current commutes, which are both around 30 minutes.
- At least 1500 sqft.
- Central AC.
Nice to have
- Hardwood floors (but at the least, must be able to remove all the carpet ASAP. We have a cat with…let’s call it…a litterbox aversion).
- Four bedrooms
- Two and a half baths
- Two car garage
- Walking distance to restaurants/shopping
So with that list in hand, we set off to look at our very first house. I picked it out online because it had a great location, walking distance to a downtown area we adore.
What we liked:
- charming colonial architecture
- the amazing location
- great school district
- hardwood floors throughout
- cozy and great layout
What we didn’t:
- only one full bathroom
- yard was unfence-able based on the driveway layout
- no dishwasher or space for one
- no outdoor living area
- at the very top of our price range
We crossed this one off the list, but now we had the house hunting bug bad.
What made you decide to buy a house?