7 House Hunting Tricks That Are Helping Me Survive Our House Hunt

Matt and I have been “officially” house hunting for over 9 months now (eek) and have learned a lot throughout our journey thus far. The good news is that we don’t HAVE to move anytime soon, which has been a blessing in making sure we take our time with this big step. I know not everyone has this same luxury of time, but for us we are hoping that being patient will eventually pay off in the form of finding “the one”.bridgets-first-house-fall-mums-3

Even though we haven’t found our dream house yet, I have learned a lot along the way and figured it was time to share the scoop. Here are my tips if you too are looking to move!

7 Best House Hunting Tips


 1. Don’t Get Emotionally Attached

House hunting can be an emotional roller coaster… IF you allow it to be. There’s a lot of money on the line and properties around us move VERY quickly, which is recipe for an emotional mess. But I’ve made it my number one goal to keep my emotions out of this naturally emotional process. bridget-matt-laughing

My dad told me from the very beginning of this process to NOT get emotionally attached to any house, which has been hands down the best piece of advice I have received so far. When I find myself looking at photos online or even walking through properties, I try my best to look at every house objectively and not let my emotional attachment cloud my judgement. We put a bid on a house and didn’t get it, but because I wasn’t emotionally invested I wasn’t super bummed about the loss. Instead I figured that house was not meant to be for us.

If you take anything away from this post, I hope you remember to NOT GET EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED. 

2. Look for Future Potential

I would say I’m better at this part than Matt (I blame it on my love for DIY) but I continue to be impressed with his growing ability to see the potential in each of the properties we see, rather than what it looks like in this exact moment.

When we first started our search he was quick to point out negatives that could easily be changed with a little DIY love (paint, floor color, furniture layout, the home’s overall style). He’s gotten so much better at looking at the bare bones of the house (layout, structure, size, etc.) instead of the cosmetic components, which has REALLY helped us get on the same page!Maggiemaggie reveal

If you have a partner that can’t visualize the potential the same way you can, be patient and try to talk through the process as much as possible. And when you do go into a flipped property or one he really likes, be sure to point out what it used to look like or how you could totally accomplish that look in other homes.

3. Look Often

Our realtor emails both Matt and I MLS listings of any new property that go on sale in our area/price range or any old property whose price changed EVERY single day. I have found through my extensive stalking of Zillow and Redfin that a few of the homes listed don’t make it onto these emails until a day after it appears online, so if you’re in an aggressive market be sure to check both.computer mug zillow

Having the email sent to both of us is also helpful so that we’re both invested in the process and we have two sets of eyes looking for potential homes, instead of just one.

4. Don’t Rely Solely on Photoscanon-camera-photography-equipment-3

I’ve learned that photos can be very deceiving… for the good and the bad. Some photos look amazing online and the house itself doesn’t live up to these expectations in person. And other photos don’t do the house justice and going to see the property in person is a lot more promising.

5. Stay Open-Mindedbathroom_Shiplap_Round_Mirror-2

This tip is similar to #2, but definitely worth mentioning again. We try to see the potential in EVERY single property we see (which has been a lot). At the beginning of this process we only envisioned moving into a house that we could cosmetically upgrade, and now we are far more open-minded to buying something that may need more than just a few cosmetic upgrades. As long as it has the someday potential to be “the one”, we will consider it!

6. Get an Expert’s OpinionDIY_Kids_Workbench_with_play_tools-4

Having a contractor on hand to come over and investigate any work you want to do in your potential house has really been a game changer for us. There have been a few properties we were really interested in, but these properties required quite a bit of renovation. So we called in the experts. We are very fortunate to know a contractor who has come with us to check out a few properties and assess how much work needs to be done, how much this work would cost, and if the home’s structure is worth the investment. Having an expert weigh in on these decisions has really offered us a peace of mind when making our decisions.

7. Be Patientkeep-not-settling-mug-office

Patience, patience, and more patience. Like I said before, we have the luxury of time on our side so we don’t want to rush into a house that is mediocre. Instead we are holding out for our perfect match, even if that means we are looking for a while longer! When it’s all meant to be it will happen, and I definitely don’t want to rush the process and find ourselves in a position we are not excited about.

8. No House Is Worth Being House PoorMoney-Cash-Coins

Last but very not least, remember that NO HOUSE (regardless of how perfect it seems) is worth being house poor over. I want a gorgeous house just as much as the next person, but I’m not willing to put a financial strain on my marriage, myself, or our future in order to live in that “gorgeous house”.house_after_doorknobs_window_boxes

To me no home will ever be worth that. I keep this in mind whenever I start seeing heart eyes in a home that is just outside of our budget. It can still be a perfect house, it’s just not the perfect house for us.Travel_Iceland-bridget-matt-lake

So that’s the latest scoop on our house hunt! I’ll definitely keep you guys updated as new developments happen, but as of now we’re still just looking. If you guys have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to drop them below! I’m happy to share more about our journey, but not really sure how interested you guys are on getting updates until we find “the one.”

Looking back and reading about Casey’s house hunting experience has really helped reassure me that house hunting is hard, but it will eventually pay off. Anyone else house hunting? I’d love to hear about your experience and your tips for surviving because let’s be honest… the struggle is real!



  • Nickesha Smith

    Your tips are very important. I had to apply each when I was actively house-hunting (in Trinidad and Tobago). After nearly 2 years, I still wasn’t successful and ended up stopping the search. One thing I would add as well is to not accept everything the agent tells you as the gospel because I’ve found they really do try to hustle you into purchasing the property (if you’re seriously interested) by claiming there are tons of others buyers and you therefore need to move quickly. I’ve found that more often than not, this is one of the tricks of the trade to get you to rush into purchasing. In one case, after I declined, the agent still sent the sale agreement and kept pressuring me (to the point of harassment) to proceed – this after claiming there were several other serious buyers! 🙂 The above might seem obvious but when you’re in it, being driven by the desire to find your own place, you may not always realise you’re being played.

    I learned a lot from that experience and I learned to trust my instincts even more. As of now, I’m still at home but know that the right place will come at the right time. In the meantime, pinterest has become my best friend. lol

    • What great advice, thanks Nickesha! I definitely understand where you are coming from… the pressure is real and definitely not a fun part of buying a new house. Good luck with your search, I hope you find the perfect place soon. =) In the meantime, happy pinning!

  • A new house was not on our radar at all, until my husband got me excited about this new build in our neighborhood. He fell in love with it because of the earning potential of the 2-bedroom suite and I fell in love with it because it was shiney and brand new! It had a great layout and backed onto the forest and the trail system I walk my dog in every day. I broke your first rule immediately! Not only did I get emotoinaly attached, I completely moved our furniture, and lives really, into that house! I spent hours starring at the realtor photos planning what would go where, etc. I even had the cupboards in the kitchen and mudroom organized! I don’t think I slept through the night for a week, my brain was too busy decorating virtual furniture! We made a “subject to sale” offer which means the builder agreed that we would purchase his property only if we sold our house first, so it was low risk. In the end, we couldn’t get an offer for the amount we needed to purchase the new one so we took our house off the market in June. I went through a little grieving but ultimately felt like it wasn’t meant to be. So now I have once again returned my energy to our current house and am planning some projects, the first of which will be shiplap in my bedroom, hurray!

    • Kerri, I’ve TOTALLY been there!! And learned the HARD WAY not to get emotionally attached, so I totally feel where you’re coming from. What a great attitude to have though. When it’s meant to be, it will all work out. =)

  • Erin

    even though I really don’t even want to buy a house in our neighborhood or area (I really want to move somewhere completely new!). I’m always just keeping an eye on what houses cost in our area and several other areas. I think it’s just good to be aware of what’s out there. What kills me is we live in a 1000 sq ft condo (about 3 blocks away from a metro stop.) and it’s done fairly well. however, there are houses in our neighborhood that are 900 sq ft not counting the basement, and they’re going for 100-150k MORE than our condo, and they all need WORK, like GUT it and renovate it. I can’t even! I wouldn’t even want to live in the house until it was renovated.

    • I hear ya!! This market is crazy, isn’t it?! But I totally agree that looking and being aware of prices and trends is always a good idea to stay informed.

  • lisa

    thank you so much for this post! it’s just what I needed to read as I begin my house hunt. my little townhouse, which I’ve made super cute, is just not working for me anymore. I want a nice one level house with a backyard…so the search begins. my house goes on the market tomorrow, my realtor thinks my house will sell quickly (fingers crossed and prayers offered) and then what? I will most likely move in with my parents until I can find my dream place….a good neighborhood which won’t leave me house poor. I live in AZ and the market here is crazy competitive. people are coming in from Canada with cash and out-bidding people like me. so, mom and dad, here I come…at least I can save some money that way. but nonetheless, I appreciated reading about your tips and thoughts on this whole process (which at times is scary). good luck to you Bridget and keep us posted! I already look forward to that blog post about your new special home. love your blog! –lisa in AZ

    • Awww, you are too sweet. Thank you so much Lisa!! And congrats on YOUR new adventure, what an exciting time! You’ll have to keep us updated on the hunt for a new place and selling your adorable townhouse. I’m sure it will go quick but I’m wishing you lots of luck anyways!

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girl- great tips! So true- Good luck!

  • Gail Ann

    But don’t take those totally-perfect-but-out-of-price-range houses off your list. Keep watching them. After we bid on a “perfect” house but did not get it, we decided to take a third look again at the “absolutely perfect” (but way out of our price range) house that fit all our requirements. We had been watching the market for 2.5 years and seriously looking for 6 months or so. Just so happened that the owner was there with a maintenance man the day of our visit and our realtor had the opportunity to chat with her for a few minutes. When the owner left, our realtor suggested we make her an offer. The house had been on the market for 9 months and she was tired of dealing with it. So we offered her $50k less than the current asking price and she accepted! Not only is it in the subdivision we wanted, with the number of bedrooms and baths we needed, it is across the street from my sister! Now I’m so glad we were outbid on the other house. So don’t totally pass on houses that are perfect in every way but price.

    • OMG I LOVEEEEE this advice, Gail. Thank you!! This makes me so happy and so hopeful! What an amazing story. And across from your sister?! WOW!!

  • sarah

    My husband and I actually have a first-time meeting with a real estate this weekend so I was very excited to see this post and even forwarded it to hubby. Like you, we really don’t HAVE to move. We could always just sign another lease, but we are super excited to buy our first house! Your tips about emotional attachment to houses really resonated with me as I’m already falling in love with houses I just see on Zillow lol. Our market also moves fast and I’m scared that if we don’t make an offer quickly that we’ll lose it and maybe later regret that we acted too fast. Or, on the flip side, that our agent would get annoyed showing us house after house and us being too picky. So I’d like to know more about how you keep house hunting that long and pass up ones that are good enough for something better. Also, any general real estate tips would be great! I’d definitely be interested in a whole post about the house-buying experience!

    • Congrats on the new adventure!! So happy we are in this together! I will definitely keep you updated on my hunt, thanks for the post ideas! Good to hear others can relate… and are experiencing the same things we are. Good luck on your hunt, keep me updated! -B

  • Great post Bridget!! All really good tips and tips I share with my clients when they are looking for homes. Buying a home is the biggest investment you will make in your life- likely, so it does take time, and patience, a lot of education, and it can be an emotional roller coaster. After working in this business for the last 15 years I have truly learned and seen with my clients that everything happens for a reason and if you lose out on something it just wasn’t meant to be. It is easier said than done, but I have seen it happen many times. Best of luck to you and Matt! I know you will find a beautiful home when the time is right!

    • Awww, thanks so much Colleen! Hearing reassurance from an expert like you means so much to me!! Hope you’re having a great summer. xo, B

  • Lovely picture .. and great hunting tips. http://www.l2homes.com/