Our House-Hunting Journey: Part 1

Happy building
josemanuelerre / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

It is KILLING me that I never took good photos of the house to share whenever I talk about it on the blog. Maybe I thought it wasn’t going to be that great or maybe I was just so excited about it that I forgot, but I am super excited to be closing next Tuesday so I can get some photos of it.

But my lack of photos? Not the point of this post.

Our house-hunting journey is really not a typical one so I wanted to share it with those out there that may be in the same position we were or even may some day be in that same position. I’ve heard all of the horror stories about being outbid, inspections, damaged properties, etc so I was incredibly nervous about even beginning the process. On top of that, I knew if we found “the one”, I was going to get emotionally attached. Pretty much breaking House Hunting Rule #1 even before we started looking. So these posts won’t be filled with the rules you should follow when buying a house because I have no concept of actually following them.

Over the past year, our house had gradually become too small for us to live in and run a business in. We rarely could eat at our kitchen table because of work, our bedroom started filling up with household items to make room for us to work in our living room and dining room, and not a day went by where we didn’t bump into someone or something trying to get from one room to another. We needed to find a way to separate our personal lives from our work life and a bigger house was hopefully our best option. So we started considering the move to our own place in early December 2013, hoping that by the end of 2014 we’d be ringing in the new year in a new home.

We started our journey by listing our must haves:

  • At least a little bit of land – .5 acre of more
  • A separate out building for the business or the ability to build one
  • Out in the country or at least not surrounded by neighbors
  • A bigger kitchen, preferably with an island or extra counter space
  • 2+ bedrooms
  • Within 20 minutes of Green Bay (where we currently reside)

And some nice to haves:

  • 2 stall garage
  • A bigger bathroom or 1.5 baths
  • A fence
  • A fireplace

This was pretty much the bare minimum. Our ideal place was also a semi-fixer-upper: didn’t need too much work to move into it, but could use some TLC to make it perfect for us. Once we wrote down our lists and had a rough idea of a budget ($100k or less), we started looking in the towns around here to see if our wants and our price range matched the housing market. We found out pretty quickly that in some aspects, it did. But in a lot of aspects, it definitely didn’t.

In order to be within that 20 minutes of Green Bay, we would need to spend at least $20k more to get most (not even all) of our must-haves and maybe some of our nice to haves. The closer we got to the city, the less it met our must-have list at that price-range. The farther we got from the city, the more it fit what we wanted. So we were faced with a decision that I’ll talk about in part 2: give up on some of our must-haves, pay more for a house, or move further away

how/why did your house-hunting journey begin?

feel free to ask any questions on our journey, too! we’re happy to help if we can