House Hunting Wish List


We're looking for a house! After years of waiting, I'm super apprehensive and not at all convinced that this is the "right time" to buy, with the economy and all. But it's the first time that it feels right for us, so rather than try to time the market, we decided to start house hunting and see how it goes. I'm still kind of doubtful about our chances, and a part of me thinks we'll just end up discouraged and continue renting for another year. But the optimistic part of me is quite hopeful and excited. This is the farthest we've gotten in the process, and it feels good! We're not just dreaming and talking about buying a house, we're actually pre-approved for a loan and working with a real estate agent. It's happening!

House hunting wish list

That said, I'm reeeaaally trying not to set my expectations too high. You see, buying a house has always been a dream of mine...but not just any house. I have visions of a beautiful white colonial or farmhouse, with hardwood floors and big windows that let in lots of light. As long as it's still in the future, I can delude myself into thinking that could be my reality. But truth be told, with our price range in the Seattle area, we will probably end up looking at a lot of split levels and ranches, with nasty carpet and trees blocking all the windows. And that makes me cry a little inside.

House hunting wish list

Here's a classic example of a house in our target price range and neighborhood, that's actually for sale. Not exactly what dreams are made of.

Still, it's exciting to be making some progress towards the goal of buying a house! And while it's highly unlikely that we'll find a house that checks all our boxes (unless a downright miracle happens!)...I still want to share what we're hoping to find, from the big things to the little ones.

BIG WISHES - Make it or break it

At least three bedrooms, preferably four
Not on a busy street
In a safe neighborhood where I'd feel comfortable going for a walk alone
Lots of natural light--not shrouded by trees
North of Seattle, with less than an hour commute to downtown (for those of you in the area, we are hoping to find something in Shoreline or Edmonds)
Some yard--not squished up to the house next door.
1,500+ square feet
No need for any major renovations--electrical, plumbing, foundation, etc.

LITTLE WISHES - Would be nice

An exterior with some character (I especially love colonials and farmhouses)
A big yard, with room for a garden, fruit trees, etc.
A large, open kitchen (not galley-style)
Hardwood floors throughout
Vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, big interesting windows, or a loft space--something to give it more character so it doesn't feel like it's just a box
A fireplace
At least two bathrooms
A porch
Walking distance to coffee shops, parks, the beach, etc.
Need for cosmetic updates--I don't want to overpay for a flip, with new kitchen counters that I still hate, etc.

For those of you that have already bought a house, what were your must-haves? Did anything change as you went through the process?

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  1. Posted by Jessica on Friday, February 19th, 2016

    The house in the second picture reminds me of Lilo & Stitch's house in the Disney movie! :O
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, February 19th, 2016

      I've never seen Lilo & Stitch! But I googled a photo of their house :) I can see the resemblance!
  2. Posted by caslyn on Friday, February 19th, 2016

    when we were house hunting, we looked at SO MANY houses. I was getting so sick and tired of looking at them that I was ready to take anything. Then the perfect house came on the market and we payed full price because we knew it was worth it. My advice is to not just hop on something because you just want a house and it has most of what you are needing. be patient and the right house will come along. you'll know right away!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, February 19th, 2016

      I have a feeling that will be us! We have some friends that started house hunting recently and found a home within weeks. I was super happy for them, but also a bit jealous. :) But it's ok! I'm pretty sure our own house search will take a long time, but hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end. I'm willing to be patient for the right house! And I think you're right--the more houses we look at, the more we'll know immediately when we've found a gem that we really want. P.S. Congrats on finding the perfect house for you!!! That's awesome and so encouraging.
  3. Posted by Susan M. on Friday, February 19th, 2016

    We bought a house in Seattle a few years ago. It can be tough when your ideal house and budget don't match up (which is definitely the case for most people in Seattle!) If you're not looking for your "forever home" yet, it's good to be able to compromise on a few things, as long as the house works for you and makes you happy! We couldn't afford any of the beautiful old craftsman houses that I love, but we did manage to score a house in a great neighborhood that still had enough character to it to make me happy :D I hope you guys find something you love!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, February 19th, 2016

      Hi Susan! Thanks for the comment. I'm definitely not expecting to get our dream house or forever home yet. Location is important for sure, so I'd be happy with a big-enough house in a great neighborhood, especially if it has some character! Sounds like you found a great home (congrats!). And thanks for the well wishes!
  4. Posted by Sofie on Friday, February 19th, 2016

    It's so exciting that you're starting to look! My boyfriend and I rent in downtown Seattle and just looking at house prices in the area scares me. In my mind, I see us living in Ballard sometime (far) down the road, but I'm beginning to realize that nonprofit jobs and nice city houses may not go together =( It's hard out there! Best of luck with your search!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, February 19th, 2016

      Thanks Sofie!! I definitely hear you on the scary house prices. Every time I watch HGTV, I think "why am I not living in North Carolina or Texas?!"
  5. Posted by Debbie on Friday, February 19th, 2016

    I always wanted a ranch. Every home we've owned has been that. I never wanted an open kitchen, but now I have 2, and do love them but my kids are older ;). Loved an attached garage and laundry on the main floor. I love trees and don't mind a forested area, but all my homes large windows faced south. LOVE THAT! I always wanted (and got) a front porch. I would say go in with an open mind, and you might find something you both will love. You will make changes to make it yours, just make sure the structure and foundation are secure. The cosmetics are EASY to change. Our first two homes were fixer uppers but the shell we worked with was perfect. Make it fun like a treasure hunt!
    • Posted by Aileen on Friday, February 19th, 2016

      That's so funny! My parents really like ranches too. There are a lot in Spokane! There's a house for everyone :)

      Thanks for the advice too--I'm definitely open to fixer uppers. I think making cosmetic changes sounds fun!
  6. Posted by Amanda Katherine on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

    Congrats!! Definitely an exciting road ahead :) I remember when we were looking for houses and thinking nothing even came CLOSE to my hopes or wish list. After we saw a house that didn't have green kitchen counters I was sold! I had the realization that with our budget we weren't going to get our dream house, but after I accepted that I could see the potential for homes. Our house looks completely different than when we bought it, and it hasn't taken more than a lot of paint and good design. Best of luck!

    • Posted by Aileen on Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

      Haha, yes I hear that. You've done an amazing job with your home! And I do think it sounds fun and rewarding to bring out the potential in a house. There's a lot you can do with paint, good ideas, and hard work!
  7. Posted by Hailey on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

    I have to laugh that you already responded with a comment about North Carolina! I live here and my first thought was "Here, you could have the first house for the price of the second!"

    I used to live in Seattle though and understand the love, but NC is a beautiful place to live too!