House Hunting & Lessons Learned

If you follow me on Instagram you notice we’ve been poking around looking at houses and seeing what’s out there. Realistically, we’re not looking to move until next spring/summer- but we’re keeping our eyes open and popping in to open houses just in case we find something we love earlier.

Our goal is to find 1-3 houses we really like and then put our house on the market. I think it’ll sell quickly, and I have a profit in mind that I think we should easily make. We are not in a position to carry two mortgages at once if our house doesn’t sell and we’re also not really in a rush to move. We want to be super deliberate with this move in hopes that the next house we buy will be our 30-40 year home.

1900 Victorian home

Lesson 1: The bigger the house, the more of the land it takes up.

I know, right? HOW did I not realize that! This 1900 renovated Victorian was bananas gorgeous and I was obsessed with it. It looks like a cake for crying out loud! I had the whole thing decorated in my mind. I needed this adorable house. What I didn’t realize was that even though the plot of land it sits on is about what we have now (.25 acres), it’s double the size of our current house sooooo it ate up all the land. No bueno- we have dogs that need room to run and also one of the main points of us moving is to have more space away from neighbors.

waterfront cape home

Lesson 2: I would give up almost all of my “must haves” for a waterfront home. But not all of them.

I wanted to love this little pond front home so much. I mean THAT VIEW! AM I RIGHT?! I can give up just about everything on my “must have” list to live on water, but I can’t give up everything and also have to put in about $15k. The kitchen was small and needed to be gutted, the finished basement was too small for the movie room my husband wants, 2 of the 3 bedrooms were super tiny, and space for the dogs was limited (this house is sideways on the plot, so what you’re seeing LOOKS like a front yard, but it’s actually a side yard and would be really awkward to fence). And honestly, I could get over all those things to wake up on a lake everyday… But in addition to those missing pieces it also needed a paved driveway, landscaping around the paved driveway, privacy fencing from the neighbors, and to be painted. Ooof. Driveway, landscaping, fencing, and paint on top of a gutting (and possible adding on to) a kitchen is more than we can financially handle right now.

red colonial home

Lesson 3: I need an open concept. 

Look at this cute all American home! The curb appeal is lovely, the neighborhood was fantastic, the yard was great. But a traditional Colonial is not the right fit for us. This house had an awkwardly long living room that I don’t know how on earth you’d arrange. It had four bedrooms, but really the square footage for three so you would have needed to knock down a wall and redesign. The hallways were too skinny (and honestly, I don’t really want hallways at all). Perfect for someone else, but just not us.


We have a lot more lessons to learn I’m sure, but I think we know what town is calling our name (sorry mom, it’s 15-20 minutes further away) and we’re honing in on the style we want (I would murder someone for a Victorian, but we’re probably going to end up with a cape). The search continues! What’s on your “must have” list? What tips do you have for us??


11 thoughts on “House Hunting & Lessons Learned

  1. I love them all BUT to far… far…..
    Liza Jane I love your house but to far …to far……..

  2. you know I love a good colonial ;), but we found that that floor plan starts to feel really claustrophobic if you get under 2500 feet or so. Our old house was just under 1900 sqft, but it felt more spacious than a lot of the 2400ish sqft colonials we looked at. have fun house hunting; it’s one of my favorite things!

    • yes I agree! This house was about 1500 square feet and it was tiiiiight, but I think if it was bigger it wouldn’t have been so bad. We’re checking out a rennovated open concept colonial this weekend. I want to crash every open house!!

      • I also love a good colonial 😛 They’re just so classic and traditional. I love our house, but I’m quickly finding out that with a baby it’s not ideal. The rooms are too compartmentalized and the entryway a little tight with a car seat and a dog. I would love to knock down some walls! The next house (not that we’re planning on moving anytime soon) will definitely need a kitchen open to the family room and a mud room!! Good luck with your pending sale. Can’t wait to see more pictures!!

        • thanks Kelly! We saw some rennovated colonials that were nice, with the first floor open and the second floor closed off and that was nice. But I agree, the traditional style can feel a bit cramped for a whole family with pets.

  3. Oh man…I am SO with you on the Victorian homes. I mean..can you imagine the little side parlor with a fireplace? And the front porch and gingerbread trim. *sigh* I’m not a Colonial girl at all. Love Cape houses. A Southern style wrap around porch would be something I’d dearly love. Having said all this, our Ranch style has the perfect floor plan for us. If I’d known that we two empty nesters were going to have a grandchild to raise, I would have opted out of the pool and gone for the big backyard. OH! I do like the look of the open floor plans with the kitchens looking out into the family room.
    Happy hunting!

    • The fireplace in that Victorian was marble! I would have spent a significant amount of time rubbing my face on it. 🙂 Big porch, or at least a deck, is on our love list too- somewhere finished to sit outside would be ideal.

  4. My husband and I bought our second home when we were in our late 20s. It was a little better than our first home and we felt good about it at the time, but now that we are in our late 30s we are in a much different financial place. If we had lasted in our first house for 8 more years, we could be buying ***THE*** house right now. For various reasons, we’ve just decided to stay put, but it makes me sad that we jumped a little too quickly before.

    I could tell how much you love that waterfront house but the repair costs were standing in your way. If you and your husband are on a good path to continue growing your earning potential, maybe wait 5 more years and see how things are looking then?

    All that said, you can always “wait 5 more years.” Sometimes you just need to make a move when the time feels right. I look forward to hearing what happens!

    • Originally our plan was to wait until next spring because my husband finishes his Master’s in January… Right now I have 10% of each paycheck put aside for the house #2 fund so the longer we wait the better off we’ll be. It’s so hard to wait though!!!

  5. Oh, fun! It’s fun to look and dream. But I know what you mean about sticking to your list of wants. We did give on a few things when we found our farm but they were minor in the big scheme of things. It definitely helps to know what you need/want! Happy house hunting!

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