I’ve loved real estate since I was a teenager.  In fact, I remember flipping through real estate magazines when I was young and fantasizing about my future home.  It was fun.  It was exciting.  And, at the time, I felt that the possibilities were endless.

But, now that I’m an adult with two kids, shopping for a home isn’t so fun.  First off, I’m scared to get stuck with a house I don’t like.  And, as we all know, sometimes you don’t really know what it’s like to live somewhere until you’re already there.  And, by that time, it’s too late.  Earlier in our house hunt, I dodged a bullet when I realized that a house we were about to buy had a loud outdoor dog living next door.  And, that kind of thing is exactly what I’m scared of.

I used to love to shop for houses.  Hell, I used to love moving.  But, now that we have kids, the stakes are much higher.  I don’t want to move them around all over the place and I never want them to have to switch schools.  So, with that being said, we’ve taken this house hunt very seriously.  We want to find the house that we can happily live in for the next twenty years, or even longer.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at around 30-40 homes.  Big homes.  Small homes.  Nice homes.  Disgusting homes.  And, I’m glad to report that the home search is almost over.  There are two houses, in particular, that we kinda love.  And, I think we may be writing an offer!

House #1 $200,000

House #1 is about 2,080 square feet, a little smaller than the home we’re selling (2,370 s.f.).  It has four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and an open floor plan.  Built in 1989, it’s in an established neighborhood with mature trees and wide streets.  There is a small park a few blocks away and the road ends in a cul de sac where my kids could safely ride their bikes.

What I Like:

Although the home is a little smaller than our current home, it’s laid out very well.  It also has an updated kitchen, complete with granite countertops and new stainless steel appliances.  And while I probably wouldn’t pay for those things myself, it certainly doesn’t hurt!  The home has a two-car garage with an extra bump-out on one side for all of our stuff.  The yard isn’t fenced, but all of the neighbors yards are so I don’t think a fence would be necessary.  Another thing I like about the yard: it has the perfect place for the new play set my daughter desperately wants.  Best of all, this house is move-in-ready.  Seriously. 

What I Don’t Like:

Since the house is slightly smaller than the one we’re selling, all of the rooms seem a little tight.  Also, the 4th bedroom is pretty tiny at 12 by 9 feet.  The house also has big ugly shower doors in both of the full baths.  I don’t mind the way they look but it makes things hard when you’re trying to give little kids a bath.  We’d have to take at least one of them down and I’m not sure if we would damage the tile tub surround if we did.  Also, the washer and dryer are in a “laundry closet” instead of a laundry room.  It isn’t a big deal but it would certainly be an adjustment.  Other than that, there isn’t much that I don’t like about the house.

House #2 $209,000

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House #2 is slightly larger at 2,364 square feet and almost the exact same size as our current home.  It’s also 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths.  The floor plan is very similar to house #1 aside from the fact that all of the rooms are slightly larger.  And, since it’s in the same neighborhood as house #1, it also has a small park nearby, mature trees, and wide streets.

What I Like:

I like the fact that house #2 is slightly larger just because that’s what we’re used to.  House #2 also has a few perks that house #1 doesn’t, namely a Jacuzzi tub in the master bathroom, a three car garage, and an extra wood-burning fireplace in the master bedroom.  Although I don’t need a Jacuzzi tub or a fireplace in my bedroom, it certainly doesn’t hurt.  And, I also like the idea of having a three car garage so that my kids would have a place to park their bikes and keep a few of their outside toys.  House #2 also has a small screened-in porch in the back which is something that I’ve always wanted but never had.  And, it has the same flat yard as house #1.  In addition, it has a SimpliSafe Home Security system already set up and ready to go.

What I Don’t Like:

House #2 needs a little bit of work.  It needs new carpet, paint, and floors in one of the bathrooms.  It has one room with horrid wallpaper that desperately needs to be taken down as well.  There are also a few optional things we would consider doing, like replacing the countertops in the kitchen and one of the bathrooms.  So, we have to take all of that into account.  Carpet and countertops cost some serous cash!  The only other con about this house is that it’s a little closer to the entrance of the subdivision instead of on a cul de sac like house #1.

So, we’re heading out tonight to see these two houses again.  We’re also waiting to see the disclosures on both properties so that we can find out how old the mechanicals are.  That way, we can see if one house is a particularly better bargain than the other.  Regardless, I’m feeling hopeful.  I really hope that our house hunt is nearing its end and that one of these houses will work.  Stay tuned…..

Based on what you’ve read, which house do you think I should buy?  Which one do you think is the better bargain?