The Home Search Begins

I, sometimes, wonder if I have good timing. Just when we have enough money to put 20% down on a home, interest rates and home prices start rising.

Technically, we could bought a home with less than 20% down in January, and paid less for a house, as well, as taken advantage of a lower interest rate. We would have had PMI, but at the rate we save money, we could have attacked our mortgage to get rid of PMI. Oh well….we weren’t ready for a house in January.

Since we have some time before our apartment lease is up, we will be taking our time looking for a house. Hopefully, this is an advantage.

Dallas’ supply of homes are at all time low. House prices and interest rates are rising sending buyers out in the market to buy homes. It’s definitely a seller’s market.

Our maximum purchase price of $150,000 is limiting the houses we can buy. New homes are out of our price range and too far away from work. We’ll have to buy a fixer upper, and renovate it.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Most homes need renovations, and we would rather buy a steal of a house, and put some extra money to make it our own.

I keep dreaming of an open kitchen, nice bath, awesome master bedroom, big closets, hardwood floors. Hah! I like to dream, don’t I?

We went to look at a foreclosed home last Saturday. We quickly walked out because it required too much work. Work we couldn’t do ourselves like fixing the foundation, rotted wood outside the home. Plus, it was too small.

At first we thought 1300 sq. feet would be enough. But we realized we need a tad more room. We have upped our square footage to a range of 1500 to 2000 sq. feet.

Anybody out there looking for a house right now? What is your experience so far?

Rustic Kitchen Island

Rustic Kitchen Island (Photo credits: West Elm)


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  • I’m sure you’ll find something soon :)

  • Good luck with the search! If I can offer some unsolicited advice- don’t limit your search to exclude small houses. If we had done so, we wouldn’t have ended up in our 1100sqft house that no one believes is anything shy of 15-1600sqft. Layout plays a huge role (hallways and stairways eat a lot of space!) and especially in Dallas, you’d be able to take advantage of a nice covered patio most of the year. The covered portion of our patio adds another ~500sqft of space that we use year round, but the beauty part is that we don’t pay to run AC in it, and pay taxes on about half as many square feet as friends do even though they swear we must be lying about our square footage.

    • I completely agree with Mrs. Pop’s comment. Our home now is around 1400 square feet for a family of 4 and it suits us fine. Or will when we are done renovating.

      Our past home was gigantic, but we didn’t use most of the space. For example, it had a family and living room. Why does anyone need both of these? I’d rather have one nice gathering space than a separate one for nick-nacks or whatever people do with living rooms.

  • I hope you find something! We have put our house search on hold for now. We haven’t found a single thing we like!

  • Id take your time even further. There’s always another one that comes along!

    Avoid housing fever!

    • Trying to avoid housing fever! I know it won’t do us any good. Looking at it from an investment point of view.

      • Make sure you don’t buy a home because it is cheap. Especially if this is going to be an investment. When it comes to real estate, you usually get what you pay for.

        • Totally agree with this. Take your time and do it right. There’s not much more in the world that is more expensive than a cheap house! Think location, then shell (roof, windows and walls), then systems (heating and cooling, plumbing and wiring) and finally quality (is it falling to pieces or is it usable as is?). I’d be happy to write a guest post about buying a first home for your site sometime if you’re interested…

          • Thanks Nick! We definitely keep thinking about this. Location is definitely a primary factor in our search. My company is located in a high real estate market for Texas. I would love for you to do a post!

        • Thanks for the advice! Don’t worry we will walk away from something that doesn’t make sense.

  • House Hunters makes buying a home look so easy don’t they? (assuming you’ve seen the show). On one hand it’s good that sellers aren’t losing their shirts on selling their homes anymore (which could be good for you for a future sale) but tough if you are looking I’m sure. I hope you find what you’re looking for!

  • I know for a fact it’s a sellers market in Dallas because my dad and step mother just sold their house in Coppell for more than asking price. I highly recommend the fixer upper route. As long as the fixer upper doesn’t have foundation issues or serious issues with necessities (electrical/plumbing/roof/etc) if you’re the type of person that can live with an outdated but functional kitchen and bathrooms, it’s the best bang for the buck.

  • Good luck with the house hunt! We bought our current condo late last year and I’m afraid with the Vancouver housing market, we paid almost twice at much as your max budget for 500 sq ft :) But we don’t need a lot of space and I love our neighbourhood. Tradeoffs!

  • Good luck! I’m jealous….I love looking for houses! I hope that you find exactly what you want!

  • Been house hunting all my life it seems. Seriously need to become a Realtor. I know it is said over and over but your location will determine the future value of your home. I also consider HOA’s a necessary evil to maintain the value of the neighborhood. Unless you are a minimalist, you should pay close attention to storage space. Something people tend to overlook are how small the closets and linen closets can be. From a garage, attic, basement, or even a shed in the backyard, these can be valuable to have.
    I know there is no guarantee of getting “good” neighbors, but I do notice that the quality of people living in more expensive homes is much better than those in cheaper homes. Sad but true.

  • Wow houses in Dallas are super cheap! $150K gets you about 1,000 sqft or less in the best parts of Guatemala City and around 2,000 sqft in less desirable part but still nice to live in.

  • Pingback: Looking For A Home? Don't Ignore Small Houses! « Planting Our PenniesPlanting Our Pennies

  • jefferson @seedebtrun

    I would say that the best thing about going the fixer-upper route is that you get to put things in according to your tastes– which is a nice perk.

    from my recent experience, i would recommend putting a priority on the neighborhoods where the homes reside. perhaps even moreso than the house itself. winding up in the right (or the wrong) neighborhood, can directly impact your quality of life.

  • Your Daily Finance

    Good luck on the house hunt and getting a fixer upper isn’t a bad thing. You get to do things the way you want to and don’t have to worry about living in a place that met what someone else wanted. Rates and prices are jumping but you can always find a deal.

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