If you read Monday’s post, you know the 4 things we did to get started on our search. Now, it’s time for the fun part: the actual search for our new home.
Since we already have a realtor and have a list of the basic features our new home must have, our realtor was able to put our criteria in her special magical search tool for the Multiple Listing Service (where homes for sale are listed so agents from different real estate offices can find them) and it gave us a list of around 70 houses currently on the market that fit.
$350,000 or less
2 or more bathrooms
A minimum of 1800 square feet living space
A 2 car garage, or larger if possible
At least 1 fireplace
A lot size of at least 6000 square feet
Located in the north, northeast or northwest of the city (these are spelled out for the search tool, it wasn’t working when we just said “north” because of how neighborhoods in Colorado Springs are designated)
There are of course other things we would like to have. I’d like a large front porch and a well laid out kitchen with lots of cabinets and counter space. SJ would like a greenhouse already onsite, designated garden space in the backyard, and a workshop built into the garage.
A few things we don’t want: an open floor plan (I can’t stand this nonsense), hoarder neighbors, lots of 70’s wood paneling, aluminum windows, and an unfenced backyard.
Anyway, like I said, there were about 70 homes that fit our search parameters. With the real estate agent, we went through the first 25 listings and ruled out 20 of them right off the bat, based on the pictures for the listing, or because there was something else about the listing that we did not like. For instance, one home was currently occupied by renters, which we did not want to deal with, and another was listed “as is” with a disclosure of structural damage. No thanks.
We had the realtor arrange showings of the remaining 5 and went to see them a few days later. In the meantime, SJ and I went through the other listings and kept weeding out the ones we weren’t interested in, and then sent a list of 10 more to the realtor to schedule also. Ms. Realtor also set up an automated search with email notification, so any time a new listing comes up that matches, we get an email with the info.
Our first time out, we saw 6 houses. 2 had potential, and we ruled out the other 4, mostly based on weird floorplans or neighbors we didn’t really want to live next to.
The second time, we view 5 houses (a few were listed new between our first search and this trip to view houses on our list). Again, 1 had potential, and we ruled out the other 4. One had water damage in a bathroom, another reeked of cigarettes, cat pee, and weed, and the other 2 had the smallest kitchens I’ve ever seen. So now we have 3 possibles.
About 2 days later, 2 of our possible went under contract with other buyers. This sucks, but I try to keep a positive outlook. I mean, yes those houses were great, but we weren’t ready to make an offer after only looking at a few houses, and I’m determined to make our decision not just on how I feel about a house, but also based on sound business principles. This is a huge investment, and I’d like it to be a smart one.
Our third time out, we ruled out 5 and had 1 possible.
Basically, though 70 homes match our basic criteria, roughly 10 of those were ones we would actually consider purchasing. Because we aren’t in a hurry, and we know what we want, we will be ready to make an offer on the perfect home when we find it, not because it’s got awesome granite counter tops, but because it’s got awesome counter tops, a great floor plan, plenty of space and is in a good location.
Our realtor is helping with this search too. She knows the neighborhoods very well and can tell us about things we wouldn’t necessarily consider, like school districts. We don’t have kids, so this means little to us, but if we want to sell in the future, buying in a good school district now will help with prospective buyers.
Another area Ms. Realtor is great at is letting us know about traffic patterns and accessibility to stores, gas stations, parks and the like.
SJ commutes to work every day, while I’m at home. Nowhere in the Springs takes too long to get to from anywhere else, but he prefers easy access to the main road he takes to his office. I prefer to live within walking distance to a park and at least a corner grocery.
So for now, we are seeing homes, ruling them out or keeping them as possibilities, and continuing the search. I try to have fun with this part, though it can be tedious and kinda depressing sometimes when a house you love goes under contract before you can even research the property taxes. But we will continue the search for our new home and I’ll keep updating as we go along.
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