Day 29: Home Sweet Home

The theme for the 29th is quite fitting, especially since we’re in the middle of the entire house-hunting process.  And I’m taking this one literally….oh and a day late.

Home Sweet Home

Photo Credit:….Home Sweet Home

Whomever said buying a home is easy and fun is lying. It’s not. Easy is planning a month long trip to Europe. Fun is learning a new language. This has been one of the most mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting experiences of our lives. Yes. I speak for the both of us.

I was naive in thinking that all my hours on Pinterest looking up “Inspirational Spaces” or home decorating ideas would be equally as inspiring. Nothing can prepare you for the house hunting, especially when you’re envisioning yourselves “at home” in every single home. Visit eight homes in one afternoon and that’s alot of “envisioning.”  So here’s our top twelve things you need to know before you decide to take the plunge. We wish we had someone to walk us through this process so that we’d be better prepared.

12. Find a great realtor. This will make or break it for you. We love Jamie and Sarah Reece. They’ve been in the business for decades, but aren’t stuffy. They’re honest, transparent and will have our best interests at heart….even if it’s telling me that the townhouse I fell in love with is a total compromise and we shouldn’t buy it. Also, if your realtors knows “Nightime-Daytime” from BBC’s animal voice overs, you know have a winner.

11. Make a list of the Must-Haves for your home. Don’t negotiate or compromise when you start….no matter how beautiful that garden is. If it doesn’t have “your kitchen” don’t settle for it.  Garage? Lots of storage? Location?

10. Make a list of the Nice-to-Haves. These are the negotiables. Covered Parking? Fireplace?

9. Pack your own food. It sounds lame but house hunting is exhausting and time consuming. Oh and you’re investing in something that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. We packed our own snacks and meals while we went on longer house hunting trips. I think I scared away my realtor with a “hangry” meltdown. Also, we knew that we’d have to get back into the habit of being on a budget when we bought our house. Gone are the days of unlimited access to Senor Taco.

Packed Lunches

Photo Credit:

8. Downpayments. Unless you have 20% down don’t expect your mortgage payments to be similar to your rent. It won’t be and don’t be surprised.

7. Plan for closing costs. Depending on the home, plan for anywhere between $5000-$8500 in closing costs. This is in addition to your down payment. I realize this will totally vary per situation  or you may be lucky to have the seller pay this but don’t count on it. The point is that someone needs to pay the people pulling together the paperwork, sending the emails, running the figures, and locking in your interest rates. And that person is you! If you don’t have it, it will come out of your down payment which means a higher monthly mortgage payment.

6. Redfin is in, Zillow is out. Use a recognized and updated website. Redfin’s inventory is updated at the same time Windemere’s is which makes working with your realtor that much easier.

5. Compromise. You’re rarely going to find a home that has your entire list of must-haves.  Figure out what you’re going to compromise on.

4. New Home Buyers Part 1. Sock away a few extra thousand dollars for appliances. We’re finding that not all the new homes come with them and it’s not required. For example: One of the homes we were serious about didn’t come with a washer, dryer or refridergator/freezer. It would cost well over $3500 for appliances.  You can go to the laundry mat, but you sure as well need to store your food somewhere.

Smeg Refridgerator

Photo Credit:…Smeg Refridgerator

3. New Home Buyers Part 2: Get a home inspection. Yes, it’s new but you still need to fork over the money and get one. We did and dodged a bullet. At first glance the home was immaculate and drop dead gorgeous. Upon inspection, we learned the builder cut A LOT of corners. The roof wasn’t installed properly and there was  water damage in the ceiling, the siding wasn’t installed correctly and would need to be replaced along with the roof in less than two years, and the list goes on. For $425 we saved ourselves a massive headache and a waste of money.

2. Patience is a virtue. We found that we were creating a deadline for ourselves that didn’t need to be created. Maybe you have one and that’s totally understandable. But if you don’t have one, don’t settle. Ensure your future house is meeting 60-70% of your “Must-Haves.

1. Remember the purpose of your house hunt. It’s about you and your partner finding a home that will be a part of  your family, celebrations and memories. Don’t get caught up in the ancillary stuff and focus on what is most important.

Wherever we are together we are home.

Photo Credit:…Wherever we are together we are home.

Current Homeowners: Have advice for newbie and/or soon-to-be homeowners? What advice have you found to be the most valuable as you’ve experience buying-selling homes?

Disclaimer: We are not realtors. We aren’t experts in the housing market. We don’t pretend to be. This is just a list of things we’ve learned along the way. Good luck! 

Day 1: Surviving your spouse on an international trip
Day 2: Never order flowers online
Day 3: Bucket List
Day 4: Pet Peeves
Day 5: Biggest Fear
Day 8: A little honesty goes a long way
Day 10: A voice from the past
Day 11: Confessions from a wanna-be-cook
Day 13: Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel
Day 14: Hi my name is Jackie and I am addicted to Senor Taco.
Day 17: Daily Life in the Ostlie Household…in Rhyme

Day 19: Superpower = Life without pain
Day 20: The Beautiful Life
Day 22: The Kullbergs
Day 23: Dessert for Breakfast
Day 24: TV Teachers — Five Life lessons from the small screen
Day 27: Debt Regret


Because January can be boring. Join us for a January Blog-A-Thon. Post a photo, video, sentence, anything that you want to! And if don’t feel inclined to blog, do come back and see what we’re up to. I can guarantee you’ll be entertained.

1 Comment

  1. Great post, Jacks. Re: appliances, I’d also suggest not getting too invested in the idea of brand new appliances right away if you’re trying to save money. We bought a washer and dryer on Craigslist for $350 when we moved in and it took us years to upgrade the horrible old fridge that was left in the house.

    The great thing about waiting is that you can do some research and figure out exactly what fits your needs {we still have our old dryer, we’ve just upgraded the washer since that’s what really saves you money in water costs, new and old dryers still use about the same amount of energy}.

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