Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our Dream House

There was a time when I said I would never buy a house. I love to travel and renting just always seemed to lend itself better to getting up and going, whereas a mortgage tied you down.

And then I had kids. And those kids were boys. And boys need the outdoors. The city we live in doesn't offer much to renters in the way of outdoor space - and we have almost nothing. Our backyard is a postage stamp of weeds and dirt and spider-filled ivy.  There's also an old box of spices (?) that someone left back there and some rotting wood palettes. Not exactly the ideal - unless your a little boy and then it sounds great. But as a mother, no.

All that to say, I dream of the day I can send the boys outside into a safe, fenced in backyard where they can play for hours in the fresh air. I mean, don't get me wrong - we love our current apartment and are so grateful for it and our landlord (my brother-in-law!) but I think like most families, we now see the benefit of being home owners (as well as the expense, womp womp). Oh, and we're also mega House Hunters fans, so we've been plotting our appearance on the show with our "must haves" list at the ready which, I might add, does not include a kitchen with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances or double sinks in the bathroom. In fact, we wrote down a list of what we'd look for after watching a House Hunters marathon. It'll be years (years) before we'll be able to even consider buying a home, but here's what we came up with:

We're definitely Craftsman style home kind of people. 
Here's an example of what we like when it comes to curb appeal:

We love smaller homes with big porches and lots of unique detail. Nothing over the top, but something that looks and feels classic but homey. I love when exteriors incorporate natural elements like stone and wood. And I do love a house with a red front door. In short form, here's what else we would look for:

Must haves:

Good neighborhood (location, location location!)
Lots of character
3-4 bedrooms
1.5-2 bathrooms
Nice backyard (with fence, or possibility of fence)
Lots of storage
Garage (preferably attached)
Central air + newer furnace
Newer roof
Decent counter/cupboard space in kitchen
Fairly move in ready (no major renovations needed)

Nice to haves:

En suite bathroom in master (with large tub! I love spa tubs)
Close to park or water
Laundry room
Space for playroom
Wood burning fireplace
Larger family space
Eat-in kitchen
Hardwood floors 
Newer appliances
Attractive landscaping

Don't want:

Wood paneling
Fixer upper
Hideous carpet
Wasted space (i.e. formal sitting room)
Massive backyard (too much work!)
Ugly flooring or counter tops
On busy street

I feel like we're pretty down to earth when it comes to what we look for - we're not super picky. But then again, I really do base decisions on the "feel" of something, so maybe we would turn out to be really annoying House Hunters. You know, the ones on the show whose real estate agent looks into the camera and says "I've shown them over 50 homes. They just aren't being realistic about what's available in their price range." In any case, I can't wait to meet our first house - a long time from now!

What about you? What do you look for in a home?
If you already own a home, what's your favorite feature(s)?


  1. I love this style too! very beautiful and classic.
    funny to read your MUST HAVE list because a place with those in Montreal would be close to $1 million! if not more. groan.

    1. Yeah my fam lives in Kitchener/Waterloo and the house prices are insane. In our area it wouldn't be unheard of to find a house like the one I described for around $150,000-$180,000. $200,000 max.

  2. Love front porches! I love that show too, but did you know that the show is not so "reality"? Shocker, I know. One of my coworkers, friends was on it last year and the whole searching part is for show. You get on the show, but you've already purchased your home and so most of the other parts are pretend-ish. I hope I didn't ruin it for you, lol.

    1. No I read that a few months ago! There was a lady who shared her story of already having chosen her house ahead of time. It makes sense but watching now makes the whole "three house decision" kind of silly.

  3. Interesting post!

    Michelle & I have bought two homes, and within two years we'll probably buy our third. This is not recommended financially, but there ya go. Anyway, reading your house wish list was fun. We, too, go a lot on house & neighborhood feel. After all, we can change the carpet & countertop, but we're stuck with the neighborhood. And curb appeal does count for a lot - we want to enjoy coming home. So my best advice is to find cities you think you'd like to live in, and just continually go for walks around it. Try and walk through multiple streets in every neighborhood. You quickly get a feel for if this is right or not. Too close to the thruway? Look-a-like houses all in a row? No one takes care of their houses? The lawns are *too* manicured, and there's landscaping crews at every house? If we move back to Cleveland, we have a few, very precise neighborhoods we'd move back to because we kept going for walks around town.

    As for you, I only know the Heights & surrounding areas pretty well. For that, I can say that Cleveland Heights might have some streets & neighborhoods that would fit the bill. Walkable, smaller lots, probably a couple craftsman homes sprinkled in, but I'm a bit leery of the school district. I'm guessing you'd do just as well, if not better, out in Lakewood or Rocky River.


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