Thursday, February 11, 2010

What were your house hunting "hang ups"?


Photo courtesy of cordera.com


When we watch real estate shows on TV, my boyfriend and I always have a laugh when a potential home owner has highly specific, uncommon preferences. For example, we once saw an episode of House Hunters on HGTV that followed a couple whose main criteria for a home was that the driveway be wide enough for side-by-side parking. So, their dream house at a reasonable price was out of the question if the driveway required one of them to park behind the other.

I'm sure we all have our hang ups, though. The last time I was apartment hunting in Boston, I obsessed about the number of outlets in each room because I had lived in a very old home before where there were few outlets. I had a little check list that I brought with me to each appointment and I clearly remember counting outlets. I'm sure the brokers thought I was crazy.

I'm curious about what your "must haves" were the last time you house hunted (or what they will be when you start your next search). As I've mentioned in the past, I'm still about two years away from that process, but I've already started to think about what I want. Right now, most of my thoughts are pretty general (number of bedrooms, basement of some sort, etc.), but I wonder if I'll eventually have something as specific as the side-by-side parkers on House Hunters.


By the way, the photos is an attempt at sarcasm.
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19 comments:

  1. I know! We always laugh at that HGTV show My First Place because those people have the most unrealistic expectations for their budgets. I don't know that I have anything like that. Probably ceiling height.

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  2. Mine was really silly especially for a person who doesn't cook much. I wanted two entrances to the kitchen so that I didn't have to walk through the dining room to the get to the kitchen. While I didn't need a formal dining room, I wanted the eating area to be somehow separate from the kitchen.

    Once on one of those shows, a couple had $0 down but then bought a hot tub right after getting in the house. I'm sure by now they're in foreclosure.

    Clarosie

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  3. I always have to have a window over the kitchen sink and when shopping for a house in Richmond I only wanted to look at houses with a back staircase. Many people, when renovating, eliminate the back stairs as it frees up a lot of room both upstairs and down but I was determined to live in a house with two staircases. Oh, and a fenced yard for my two best pals - my welsh terrier and my standard poodle. I'm easy!!

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  4. Mine is a yard for my dog. Bathtubs are also important to me, but that's something I can add in.

    For my next place (the "forever" home), I plan on watching for more details... I might end up being the crazy window lady.

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  5. This post made me laugh! When we were townhouse hunting, believe it or not I didn't want a new/new-ish one. I really wanted one with some character, even if that meant old windows and horrible 60s bathrooms. The one we ended up with had the best original hardwoods - both upstairs and down - and felt lived in.

    And yeah, those HGTV shows where people walk in and say, "Oh I hate this paint color." and cross it off the list is hilarious...paint is so easy to change, why even notice it?!

    P.S. - I'm in C'ville this week, want to meet up for coffee/drinks?!

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  6. I live in Manhattan so we have a co-op apartment. For us, getting sun and a view was the top priority. After looking for about 2 yrs and over 200 apartments we managed to get everything on our wish list except for the the fireplace. We have a 2 bed, 2 full bath, split bedroom (opposite sides of the apt for privacy), dining room that can accomodate the whole family for holiday meals, in-building garage and outside space. The last item was our greatest piece of luck as it is large with a great view. The downside was buying a place that needed extensive renovation. For us this is our ideal home and we love it.

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  7. My must-haves while house hunting were pretty normal: wood floors, and at least a two car garage. Those will always be on my must-list. I also wanted built-ins and lovely molding, but I can always add that myself. Before we settled on Russet St, I wouldn't even look at a house without hardwoods. Maybe some consider that crazy? I don't know.

    I love Property Virgins because they are so clueless, and want to live in the 300k+ neighborhoods on a 120k budget. haha

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  8. We're looking for a house now. (I'm getting married in July!) The one thing that I have to have is a large yard. I grew up on a farm and since moving out have lived in an apartment. I want gardens like my mom and space for hanging out outside, and maybe a few chickens...

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  9. That's so funny you mention the outlets- it must be a Boston thing or something. In my last place I had 2 outlets in my bedroom, it made it close to impossible to keep a phone, computer, alarm clock, lamp, and radio (which were located all over the room) plugged in at once. When I moved I was very aware of the outlets in each room. Glad I know I'm not the only nut out there who had outlets on the checklist :)

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  10. This is probably going to hurt someone's feelings but that's honestly not my intention. Promise.

    When we were looking, we didn't want your typical suburban development home. No offense to anyone. We grew up in great suburban homes but we wanted something with a little more history and soul. After living here for a few months, I understand why people are drawn to non-historic homes. They need constant work. But we love it. It's different; it's not ticky-tacky.

    During our home search, I just kept humming (in my head) the song used for the opening credits of Weeds (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7Ys9RkvxgI)... little boxes on a hillside little boxes made of ticky tacky, little boxes on the hillside, little boxes all the same...

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  13. Hi Jeannine,

    We are building our dream house in Old Trail (Crozet, VA), and we still love to watch Property Virgins, house Hunters, etc.

    My older house in Rockville, MD had a lot of charm; it was built in the 60s, was all brick, and had a traditional floorplan. The yard was large, and had HUGE mature trees throughout. It was nice shade in the summer, but the fall was a bear with all of the leaves.

    My work is transferring me to the C'ville area, and we decided that our priorities were new construction, with an open floorplan, in an urban setting - set within a suburban neighborhood, with excellent schools for our kids someday!

    (sorry for the previous posts; I didn't proofread my post, and hate typos!)

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  14. we just moved into a highrise. Our bathroom and spare bedroom vent connect to the next apartment. Worse than hearing the neighbors' conversations, we can smell their cooking. Two days of fish in a row and im at my wit's end. All of our candles and reed difusers have migrated to one corner of the apt! if you must be in a multi-unit building, the more autonomy the better!

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  15. I wasn't really looking. But I found a 1st floor bedroom/bath for my mom, a big kitchen and storage, a yard and "character" so we bought instead of adding on. (Got a garage too.)
    LOL at HGTV..."got to have two sinks in the bathroom" is a personal favorite...and as said above, most have zero vision when it comes to paint and even furniture arrangement.

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  16. We moved last summer. I looked for large bedrooms, nice yard and a basement (my husband's requirement). I think that we looked for a total of 2 months before we finally found something that we loved.

    ps. found your blog through Mrs. Limestone! Love your style and your blog! Thanks!!

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  17. Thought of you in reading "Plugged in and Happy" in the 2/14 NYT's real estate section. The #1 priority in finding their new place was...OUTLETS!

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  18. We are a big fan of the open kitchen-family room lay-out. It's hard to find in historic cities like Richmond with so many "4 square" homes. Another one that I learned the hard way -- must have a pantry!

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  19. So funny... I just spent a few months looking at new places. But the first place I looked at was the one that ticked all the boxes. It has wood floors, lots of sun light, a small garden and a deck, and a fireplace. Everyone tried to convince me to keep looking and not make an offer on the first place, but i mentally compared everything to that place. It's a short sale, which is taking months to settle, but it's the place I want.

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