Hey everyone, as promised here is the first update on our house hunting experience so far! Spoiler alert: it hasn’t been great. As time goes on, I can’t even remember why I thought that it would be, in any way, fun.
We’ve seen 15 houses now from all over the board. Literal drug dens (that’s another story) to model homes. Most of the houses we’ve seen fall somewhere in between – average homes that, with a new paint job and some deep cleaning, are actually pretty nice.
But the problem is, we have a very tight budget…and so do the many other young couples who are trying to move into this city (because it’s the cheapest city in our area but prices are starting to go up. Fast.)
So the nice houses within our price range are also the nice houses within every other millennial’s price range.
Because of that, we’ve already lost two houses we put offers on. And as you can imagine, that was extremely discouraging and I almost gave up after the second one fell through. Especially because we were strung along for an ENTIRE day, made it seem like we were for sure going to get it, and then…nope.
House hunting really sucks. It just sucks, everything about it sucks. Maybe if you are a billionaire looking for homes that have zero competition, it’s fun. Maybe it’s fun if you are the easiest going person in the world (although I doubt that because even Jefferson is stressed out right now). Overall, this whole process is terrible, 0/10, do not recommend.
Still, it’s a necessary evil unless we want to continue living in my parent’s basement for the rest of our lives. So we move on, we keep trying, and our souls will die a little more every day until we can finally relax in our own home (just kidding, we’ll probably be worried about mortgage payments by then!)
If you are like us and are new to the house hunting process, I’d like to give you some tips. It’s only been a few weeks but we have definitely learned a lot so far.
House Hunting Tips For The Clueless Millenial
I avoided doing any research before looking for a house because I (rightly) assumed that most articles targeted at the Millenial generation would be…depressing (i.e. most of them said to give up because we would never be able to afford a house, let alone a fancy sandwich). But since we are, and many other young couples, are in a position to buy a house one way or another, here are some (hopefully helpful and not as depressing) tips from me to you.
1. DON’T GET SUCKED INTO BIDDING WARS, SERIOUSLY DON’T DO IT!
This was the first piece of advice we were given by multiple people. And when they said this to us, we were like, “uh, yeah, duh! It’s just a house we would never do that!” And you will think that…until you find your “dream” home listed at the “perfect price” …but someone else already put an offer on it! NOW WHAT DO WE DO!?
You don’t wanna get sucked into a bidding war, just don’t do it. But when you’re in that moment and you’re like, what’s another 5k, 10k?! We’re already plopping down hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house! It seems like it makes sense. After all, it is your “dream house.”
But that money adds up. And you will likely regret making such a MASSIVE decision in the heat of the moment, under immense amounts of stress. Be prepared that you WILL feel pressured and you WILL want to throw away all these values in that moment – but unless you have massive amounts of disposable income, don’t do it.
2. Ignore the dirt, ignore the furniture, ignore the hideous what-were-you-thinking purple paint
Sometimes it’s hard to look past the grime built up in corners and the 1970’s furniture and WHY DID YOU EVER CHOOSE THAT COLOUR paint. But you can clean, and you can paint, and guess what, the house doesn’t come with the current owner’s furniture.
There is a house we are interested in right now that is like a 1960’s museum. It’s very clean, but man, is it ever dated. But the structure of the house is great. It has “good bones” as our real estate agent says. That is what matters.
When you don’t have a lot of money, you’re probably not going to be able to afford that perfect little modern detached home you’ve been dreaming of. So look at the bones of the house and dream about all the things you could do over time if it was yours.
3. Choose neighbourhood over house
At first, all we cared about was the way the house looked on the inside. We found a ton of recently renovated (obviously bought-to-flip) houses that were totally in our price range and absoluuuuutely beautiful. But the thing is, I was not a fan of any of those neighbourhoods. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable taking my dog for a walk alone or even sitting on my front porch.
So what’s the point of having a giant backyard or beautiful house if I don’t want to spend any time in it!? We soon realized that you can renovate, paint, and improve your house, but you can’t renovate or change your neighbourhood.
Soooo there you have it. Part one of our journey with a few lessons learned. Hopefully I won’t have to make too many parts to this series, ideally, I’d like to actually find a house pretty soon. But we’ll see. I’m actually doing okay.