After finding a realtor and making our needs/wants/perks list, Steve and started the house hunt. We quickly realized that we would have to be a little more flexible with our list. It seemed like if there was parking, there was no basement. If we got an open kitchen, the living room was closed off or the bedrooms were small. Location was the most important thing to us, so we had a very small radius to work in.
The first house that we saw was very cute and updated with a rooftop deck. Cute = Tiny in realtor speak. (See also: charming, quaint, adorable.)
The second home was one that I found for sale by owner on Craigslist. We were shocked at how large the living space was when we walked into the home—until we got to the kitchen. There was a large beam down the middle of the entrance and the kitchen was tiny. While there was room for expansion, we knew it would be a costly project.
We saw about seven other houses, each forcing us to let go of a few things on our list. None really felt like they could be our home, even with some flexibility. We saw a beautiful home in our current neighborhood, completely renovated, but too far outside of our price range.
We kept going back to the Craigslist home. We went to look at it again and brought Steve’s (handy) brother with us. Could we do the remodel? The house was listed at a fair price and had almost everything else that we wanted. We decided to put in an offer.
We were excited and nervous but felt like it was the right move … until we heard back from our mortgage lender. Our monthly payments would be at the very top of our possible budget, without considering the thousands of dollars it would take to remodel the kitchen.
It was heartbreaking. We had started to think of it as our house and think of ourselves living in the neighborhood. Rookie mistake. As much as we tried not be emotionally attached, we were. We had to let it go and reassess what we could realistically afford.
We went back to our realtor and told her that we really couldn’t go above a certain number and that unless something fell into that budget, we weren’t interested in seeing anything. We didn’t care if it took another year, we weren’t ready to deal with that rejection again.
… to be continued (soon)!