When our quest for a home began, we knew we were going at it during what is not exactly the booming selling season. Winter is the best time of the year for snagging a deal, but worst time for inventory. Put more specifically, our first set of showings were the week of Thanksgiving, and the Thanksgiving to Christmas stretch is certainly no man’s land for putting houses on the market. But we knew this! And are thankfully not in a hurry.
In fact, we are trying to be very disciplined and patient. We will not buy unless we love it. That means being in the mindset that it may be summer time (or longer?) before just the right place comes along. For myself, I cannot imagine making such a big purchase in a rush because of a lease ending or something. (But again, we are searching for something like a forever home.)
Several months before we were ready to buy (or even had a realtor), we went to a few open houses. We found a house that was just what we wanted. Do not take this lightly because I am very picky. I checked online real estate sites an average of at least weekly since we got married and this was the only house I ever would have been willing to pull the trigger on. It was perfectly imperfect in the way I like it. Bad flooring, bad carpet, needing a few walls put in or doorways widened here and there. A kitchen renovation. For many people those would be deal breakers, but for me, it was a must. I could already envision the pretty before and afters. That house did have some down sides. The exterior was ugly, and although exteriors can be hard to change, (especially inexpensively) I thought this one could be fixed with some different siding and adding a front porch. Also, it had a pool which we would have filled in (totally betraying my nine year old self’s desperate reverence for having a swimming pool in your own home.)
But, that house got away. We visited our financial planner to see if we could make it work. It would have been a bit of a stretch and choosing to wait has us at a place where we are more comfortable with rates and down payment and such. When it sold, sadness overtook me (sort of an overstatement) and I had to cut myself off of sites like zillow until we were serious.
Now that we really are ready to go, we have visited nine houses with our realtor. None of the selections have been right for us, but I am still appreciating the process. We are seeing some that are probably not up to the real standard of being worth a showing, but it is a helpful time to learn about the market, houses, and even our own selves and preferences. The one-that-got-away experience was good because it is now my bar for how much I would have to like a house to buy and not be settling.
Here is the post I wrote about our housing wish list of what we are looking for that would be perfect for us. I may write some more posts about specific showings and what we did and did not like, but I will have to run that by my realtor as far as ethics and etiquette of showing pictures and talking about such things on the internet. The picture above is a house that I loved in so many ways, but it is very old. Old houses, I both love and fear you.