We found our house by a miracle--her name is Jodi. (Catch more about her at the end of part 2.) It is a competitive world baby! When you are determined to live in a popular neighborhood, and you aren't an investor that can drop cash, you need to stick to your guns and not give up.
We almost strayed from our goal at one point. We house-hunted for eight months and two of those we were all living apart in three different towns. I think shopping for a house when you are tired and desperate is like shopping for groceries hungry. Stay focused, stay focused. Here is a list of the houses we missed out on before our urban cottage came along.
Small, But Oh So Super Cute
This is the first house we wanted. John started traveling one week per month four months before we moved, to transition into his new job. So, house-hunting began without me. Our teenage daughter went with him on the visit where they toured this house. They both fell in love it. The house had been listed for months and months and months, so we thought by the time our house sold it would be here waiting for us. Whoops! Sold. Darn it.
What I loved about it: it's cute. I mean, just look at it. The flower beds, the arch, the lap siding, the paned windows. It had a white kitchen. The bathroom was black and white. The back yard was big.
Why I'm happy we missed out: the second bedroom really wasn't a bedroom. It was a room attached to the living space that you had to walk through to get to the bathroom. It didn't even have a closet. Though it was a Jack and Jill bathroom with the master bedroom, this floor plan wouldn't give our teenage daughter enough privacy.
The House On The Hill
Our big house in Michigan was in a sale contract and John looked at this house the day it hit the MLS. It sits on THE main street in town, and just up the hill a block from the coffee shop, the yummy eats, cute stores, and street fairs. Because we had just gone into contract on the sale of the big house, we hadn't gotten pre-approved yet. We got that ball rolling and two days after the house on the hill was listed - sold.
What I loved about it; it had a fireplace--something on my wish list that I don't have in my urban cottage. It had wood floors throughout. The kitchen was a hot mess. Well, there really wasn't a kitchen - starting from zero, in my favorite room of the house, got me super excited. It had a garage.
Why I'm happy we missed out: I can't think of anything. I think this would have been a great house for us.
The Money Maker
This was the one that got away. We were in contract for over a month on this one. It was $100k more than we were willing to spend but, it had a money maker attached. This cutie was rumored to be an old country store in the late 1800's. It was (mostly) updated and had a studio apartment in the back. We had planned to use the studio as our moneymaker to offset the outrageous mortgage. I was really excited to throw my entrepreneurial spirit into our new backyard business! Forty-five days into the sale, we were at the appraisal stage and it did not appraise--by a lot! The seller would not budge on the price. Bye bye, to the business idea (and cute house).
What I loved about it: the front porch was nice and deep, perfect for a big ceiling fan and lemonade with friends and neighbors. The backyard had a ton of potential. I had already mapped out where to throw parties and where I could have had my garden.
Why I'm happy we missed out: the price. Though starting and running a new business would be fun for me, it really was way too much of a mortgage for us. I'm happy I don't have that stress in my life today.
The Pool House
Right after we dropped out of the money maker, the hunt was back on. John took a tour of this house as soon as it hit the market, and I toured it online from the other side of the country. There was so much potential in this place. We could see it everywhere. We knew that the house on the hill sold for a good chunk above asking, so we decided to offer $10k over asking with a personal letter and a picture of the family. We were outbid by $1k. Sold. Darn it, again!
What I loved about this house. After we punched out a wall, it would have had a really nice, big, open-concept living space. It had an addition above the garage that would have been perrrrrfect for our teenage daughter. It had an outdoor fireplace.
Why I'm happy we missed out. It had a pool. You may think this is a bonus, but we've had a pool in the past. It was great when the kids were growing up, but it takes maintenance, money, and backyard space--where I could have my garden to grow food instead.
There are two more houses we missed out on in part 2 of the story.