House Possibilities (in which we weigh our options and continue the hunt)

House hunting is no joke.

This process moves FAST. Since it’s a seller’s market right now, there aren’t many houses on the market, and anything halfway decent that does come on the market gets snapped up in like 1 day. Not joking.

Which means that you have mere hours to decide whether or not to pull the trigger on the biggest purchase of  your entire life.

This process is not for the faint of heart. I may be getting an ulcer.

Anyway, there are three houses that we considered briefly. Let’s discuss the pros and cons.

House 1.

House 1

The pros:

  • It’s in our desired (dream) neighborhood and in a good school district
  • It’s $10k below what we budgeted
  • It has a walkout basement
  • Great yard/trees
  • There are definite projects we could do…
  • …but it is move-in ready right away

The cons:

  • It’s a one-story ranch house
  • Cathedral ceilings (the sloped kind)
  • Very open floorplan (we like a little definition)

House 2.

House 2

The pros:

  • Good neighborhood/school district
  • Huge yard
  • Corner lot
  • 5 bedrooms, 4 baths
  • Within budget

The pros/cons:

  • It is 4296 square feet. HOLY SHMOLEY

The cons:

  • Ken and I both took this for a miscategorized apartment building when we first saw it on Zillow.
  • No pictures of the interior on the listing and “needs cosmetic updating.” We assume the worst.

House 3.

House 3

The pros:

  • In an older part of our dream neighborhood/school district
  • Located at the end of a cul-de-sac
  • AWESOME yard with shed
  • 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2352 square feet
  • In budget

The cons:

  • This will sound dumb. But. The floor in this house is not level, as in you step down about three inches into the living room and up three inches to go into the kitchen. There’s no easy way to rectify it.
  • Kitchen has been updated in the 1990s but needs another update
  • Bathrooms have original (1968) sinks and vanities

Here’s the kitchen. Anyone know how easy/hard it is to take out ceilings like this?

Winterberry 2

In conclusion.

None of these are THE ONE. In fact, though the three of these are at the top of our list, we didn’t even request to see them in person. But they were intriguing enough for us to take a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th look at the online listing. ;)

If you were us, which of the above three would you go with? Or would you keep looking?


  • Keep looking! Shopping around is a very helpful way to whittle down what you WANT with what you can LIVE WITH. It’s like shopping for a wedding dress……when you find it, you’ll know!

  • I like 1 and 3 but I’d need to see the inside. 2 sounds like it needs a LOT of work. 1 reminds me a little of my house (a one-story brick ranch), which I love. Unless you are seriously wealthy and can buy a gorgeous remodeled home right away, expect needing to do at least a tiny bit of work on the inside (paint, new floors, new carpet, etc). Focus on things that you cannot change such as neighborhood (location, location, location) or amount of natural light, or the number of levels and bedrooms. We bought our house almost 5 years ago and it still needs a lot of work but it’s comfortable the way it is. We’re now in our late 20s/early 30s and it took a while for us to understand that we couldn’t have our “dream home” at this age, that we’d have to be patient and work on our home slowly, as funds became available. :) good luck and please don’t get an ulcer!

      • yes absolutely. I remember when we were house shopping, so many of the ones in our price range were pretty terrible once we actually visited them in person. One of them was a foreclosure and when we walked in the living room, there was a dead bird on the floor. After that I couldn’t get over it so that house was automatically off the list, haha. In the end we had to choose between our top 2 houses and we ended up picking the one that needed more work and didn’t have a corner lot but was slightly larger. This was in 2009 though, when the market hadn’t rebounded and it was a buyer’s market, so we had time to think about it.

  • Houses 1 and 3 are beautiful. House 2 looks like you’re opening up an abbey, at which point I would offer to move in and be your resident fraulein. But! Imagine the kids you could fill in all those rooms. Hmmm. This is a toughy. And if you don’t feel like any of them are “the one”, just keep looking. When you find “your house”, you’ll know it. :)

  • If you have the time, I would recommend you actually go see any that you think have possibilities. As you look at more and more houses, it helps refine what you are looking for so when you find the right one, it’s more clear that it’s the right one and you can jump on it. When my husband first suggested we look at the condo we live in, he thought I would refuse (because it was 3 doors down from his parents and it was 3 miles east of US31 when we were trying to stay west – closer to work). I reluctantly agreed to look at and loved it. Couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

    • We did go and look at one house (not any listed here) over the weekend…that post is coming on Wednesday! I agree that you totally have to see houses in person to get the real feel of the home.

  • Wowza. You live a great part of the country to be getting some serious bang for your budget. You have some great choices here!

    When it comes to house hunting — location is everything. It really, really is! I don’t adore the layout of our house but I am crazy about our location! Others may agree, but I’d compromise on the house to be in your dream location :)

    • Yup–we live around the lake from you in Grand Rapids and house prices are pretty low here. The only thing is that average salaries are also lower than in other parts of the country too. :)

  • Woah, #3 looks awesome from the outside, and you could totally work with that kitchen (great light). But #2???? Seriously weird exterior. Plus what in golly’s name would you do with 4,000+ soft after living in an apartment?? It’d take you a decade just to get enough furniture! The hubs and I moved from a 600sft apartment in the city to the suburbs after we had our daughter into a 2,500sft house and I still feel so spoiled by all the SPACE! And we have 2 completely empty rooms (the dining room and front living room) but i’m so excited to fill them! Happy hunting!

  • #3: uneven floor would concern me! think of how difficult it would be to rollerskate on it! BUT end of cul-desac = fabulous.

    #2 thats a lot of square footage to maintain… Phew!

    I agree with others: drive by them all!
    Location is critical! Floor plans are negotiable (hello, remodel!)

    Hope you can have fun with the process :-)

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