Last weekend, Pete and I began our first afternoon of house hunting together. We looked at three houses in Montgomery County, which is where we’d like to live for under 200k. We’ve already been pre-approved, so we are sticking within our budget and devoting most of our free time to browsing houses on Trulia. We lucked out with an awesome loan officer and a devoted realtor (both who Pete met prior in a business group), so we are excited to begin the hunt for our new abode.
The first house we looked at was a Cape Cod style house in Glenside, PA. The photo online looked quaint and charming (albeit teensy), but in person it was pret-ty depressing. The neighborhood wasn’t very chipper and the house itself was much smaller than we envisioned. The basement was a total downer (see photo for the lonesome computer desk set-up) and had a history of flooding, so we were automatically turned off. Despite stalking the house prior on real estate sites and Google maps, it looked much different in person. Lesson learned, don’t always trust what you see online!
House #2 was a cute home in Abington, which is ideally the area we’ve decided we’d like to live. The owner is a 90-year-old woman who doesn’t really recall when (or if) the major expenses were last updated. It seems as if the electric, roof and heating might not have been replaced since the house was built in the 40’s. One of the main things we loved about this house was its vintage charm. The house was filled to the brim with gorgeous antique furniture that made it a bit easier to imagine ourselves living there. The olive green patterned floor in the kitchen made my jaw drop. The backyard was also quite large and had a nice patio area, which is a total plus. One of the major con’s is that the house has a ton of stucco, wavy plaster walls and popcorn ceilings galore. Lead paint + sanding an entire house filled with textured walls and ceilings = a bit of a nightmare. My gut tells me it might be a bit of a money pit with all of the potential major expenses up front, but we are still keeping it in our minds as a possible contender.
The third and final house we looked at was a disaster unfortunately. Everything was falling apart, the windows were left open (I don’t even want to think about the critters that made a home there) and the place was totally abandoned. This was an eye-opener and made me realize that it would be good to do a drive-by in the future when possible, as to not waste our realtor’s time when the real thing does not live up to the photos.
This is our must-have list for our future humble home:
• Nice location/safe neighborhood
• Good schools
• Roomy backyard
• At least 3 bedrooms
• Central A/C (for our critters who need to remain cool)
• Taxes under $3,500
• Somewhat move-in ready (not a major TLC job as far as the main structure goes)
• Near a train station for easy access to Philly
• A less than 45 minute commute to our jobs
This is our would-be-nice-but-we-can-live-without-it list:
• Wood floors (can always be added later)
• Basement or attic storage
• Front porch
Hideous wallpaper, unfortunate carpeting, terrible tiling and outdated kitchens/bathrooms don’t really bother us. I see those types of things as future DIY projects Pete and I can tackle. It’s fun being able to look past some unfortunate decor trends to look ahead and discuss potential makeover jobs we can do together. I look forward to memorizing the aisles of Lowe’s and getting our feet wet with projects and upgrades.
What are some of the things you learned while starting the house hunting process? If you own a home, how many houses did you visit in person before you found “the one?”