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”.
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.
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!
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.
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 Photos
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-Minded
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 Opinion
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 Patient
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 Poor
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”.
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.
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!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.