House Buying // Part 4

Part 4: The Fun Part... Kind of

In my last update, we were hoping to start showings with our Realtor soon. This past weekend, we did in fact manage to catch an awesome open house and the following day, walked through a couple homes with just our Realtor. As much as this makes the process feel "real" now, it brought with it a new string of stresses.

Here's what happened:

  1. We went to an open house on Saturday (Side note: we got there an hour after it was supposed to be going on and no one was there. So we called the number on the sign, and this cute old lady, who was selling it as an owner, but is also a Realtor IRL, answered and started cracking up because she totally forgot about the open house. So she came right over in her little sweatpants and gave us a tour) and the house was clearly well cared for. She had all new flooring put in, fresh paint, new siding, new water heater, was re-sealing the garage, etc... It really was cute and had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths just like we wanted. However, after more consideration, we realized there was no room for growth in it. There was no basement, no "bonus" room, and no extra storage. The kitchen was tiny. We had never thought about this before, but what about in a couple years when we maybe have a baby and there's no special space for them to play? We couldn't add a fourth room anywhere for guests in a basement or something. We felt that after 3 years, we'd be itching for more space.
  2. On Sunday, we met our Realtor at a house we requested to see. Guys? It was horrendous. The flooring was put in incorrectly and in terrible shape, the rooms had bizarre sloping, the exterior and roof were in need of repair, and the electrical was exposed and looked like a total mess. Their asking price was higher than homes we had seen that were in far better condition. Basically, the main floor of the house was just the upstairs of a garage/basement... as if the actual living area of the house was an afterthought. Soooo it was an immediate "no."
  3. The next house was adorable. It was on a half acre lot, had been recently painted on the exterior, and had a finished basement and tons of storage. The flooring was newer, the kitchen was open to the eat-in area and living room, and the bedrooms were generous sizes. But... the master bathroom was teeeennnyyy-tiny, there was no hood vent above the stove, the cabinets were in disarray, and the neighborhood wasn't exactly the right demographic for us. The house itself was in decent shape and their asking price seemed fair, but it did need a little work to fix a couple chop-jobs Tom found in the basement.

So here is what we can't figure out: What is worth buying and fixing up or replacing, and what isn't? How important is room for growth? When are you being "too picky" when buying a house? Here's an overview of the pros and cons of the first and last homes I mentioned:

Small Open House

  • Move-in ready
  • Pristine condition
  • Great neighborhood and location


  • No room for growth (it's only bigger than our current apartment by one bedroom)
  • Tiny kitchen with no options for better utilizing the space
  • The flooring in the kitchen and living/dining rooms, though new, was not good quality and not our taste, so we would change it.
  • The backyard was a steep upward slope. Curious to know if rain would cause an issue as it would run directly down towards the house.

Adorable Family Home

  • Good flooring
  • Room to grow (in basement)
  • Slightly open concept
  • Large lot


  • No hood vent or easy way to add one
  • Small fixer-upper projects
  • Iffy neighborhood
  • Poor cabinetry
  • Tiny master bathroom (like, we couldn't both stand in it at the same time)

So again, what is worth buying and then fixing up and what isn't? Is a bathroom remodel less of a headache than redoing the flooring throughout... or changing every light fixture? Is room to grow more important than a small home that's been better cared for? I feel like having a hood vent is important in a smaller kitchen, is that silly to think? It just seems crazy that so many pieces have to fit together in order to "make-it-work!" What if the house is perfect, but you hate the neighborhood? Should you just deal with it? It's so hard because we find a house we think we could make work, but if we wait to compare it to a home we see a week later, it'll probably be off the market! This is tough, guys! Any words of advice or encouragement?!