I announced that we were planning to move this year in this home goals post from January, but haven’t chatted about it much since then. So let’s dive into the house hunting process and how things are going so far.
January and February were really really slow in terms of the real estate market in our area. It’s so dang cold here in Chicago, so I think people didn’t want to list their properties out of fear that no one would brave the cold to come to look at their home.
Towards the end of February, things did start to pick up and more and more listings started flooding the market (my realtor has us set up on MLS, but I also scour Redfin daily). We’ve attended a few open houses on our own when a property really caught our eye, but we haven’t found our dream home just yet.
Our Selling Gameplan
Because the year was off to a slow start, Finn and I vowed that we would finish up one more DIY project in our place (our fireplace!) and then get ready to sell. It’s a little tricky because we’re buying and selling at the same time. So we need to make sure our condo is all ready to go before we find that dream property. That’s not to say we haven’t been looking, but we want all of our ducks in a row so we can pounce on a property when we know it’s the one for us.
Our condo is in really good shape and we’ve maintained it well over the past 3.5 years. I do plan to touch up some paint here and there, take down some personal accessories, and then have our house photographed professionally. Bridget shared lots of tips for getting your house ready to show in this post a few years back when she sold her home in 48 hours!
Our neighbors just sold their condo in 1 day with multiple offers, so I’m hopeful that ours will go quickly as well. If you know anyone looking for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in Chicago…send them my way (seriously, have them email me at [email protected]!). I even say that I’d be willing to part with all of our furniture and sell it fully-furnished! Just packing a bag and starting over in a new house does sound appealing…
Narrowing Down our Search
Because things have been slow in the market, it has given Finn and me a chance to thoroughly discuss what we’re looking for in our next home. At first, we thought we wanted a duplex or townhome in our same neighborhood. That’s basically twice the amount of space we have, but would still be in a building with a couple of neighbors. But after more discussion, we realized we’d rather spend more and buy a single-family home in the city.
The problem is single-family homes are craaaazy expensive in Chicago…especially in our neighborhood. We love the Ukrainian Village/Wicker Park/Bucktown area, but SFH start at around $650k and need tons of work. (If you watch the show Windy City Rehab, you’ll know what I’m talking about. She purchases homes in the 600-800k range that are literally falling down. It’s insane how expensive these neighborhoods are). House hunting in Chicago is no joke!
We’ve wanted to stay in this neighborhood because it’s so close to Finn’s work, our family, and tons of shops/restaurants/bars. However, after settling on our desire for a single-family home we’ve agreed to look outside our neighborhood (while still staying in the city).
The funny thing about Chicago is that you can drive 1 mile in any direction and it feels like a completely different place. When we say we’re looking outside of our neighborhood, we really would only go 2-5 miles away, but to us, that feels sooooo far away.
We’re spending every weekend in March checking out a new neighborhood in Chicago. It’s one thing to look at a place on a map, but you can’t get the real feel for a neighborhood until you walk around it. We’re looking a little north of our area including Avondale, Irving Park, Ravenswood, and more. Honestly, all of these areas are so new to us so if you have any input I’d love to hear!
Our Dream Home
Location and size is the most important factor for us because they really can’t be changed. We also need to be near public transportation so Finn can commute to work easily. We’d love a home with at least 3-4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, a backyard, and a basement. In terms of age, look, and style, we don’t really care. The only thing we don’t want is something that has already been re-done. We’re hoping to buy at a lower price point and then spend the next few years fixing it up ourselves right here on the blog.
But some of the properties are pretty scary…
And that is my face whenever I see a new property that is in need of sooooo much TLC. Yikes.
But even though it seems like a monumental task, I’m excited at the prospect of taking a home that needs lots of love and putting our heart and soul into it. A fixer-upper, in a family-friendly neighborhood, with loads of potential….that is most definitely our dream home at this point!
House Hunting in Chicago- What Now?
The moment I have more news, I’ll be sure to share here on the blog. I plan to do a series of posts on the entire selling and house hunting process, but let me know if there is any topic in particular you’re really interested in. I’m happy to share more details as we navigate this exciting/overwhelming time.