This home’s too big; this one is too small. This home has a dishwasher on wheels and this one has no kitchen at all.
If this sounds a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, then you’re right except that this story is a lot more stressful and no one has given me a bowl of porridge or a comfy bed to rest on. Will I become the old lady who lives in a shoe? That has yet to be determined, but here’s hoping for a happy ending soon because I’m already exhausted with all of it.
Our fruitless search began roughly one year ago, when Bryan and I were still bright-eyed and bushy tailed, before we had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. After countless open houses and viewings, there have been three homes that have stood out as the one (or three) that got away.
The first was a raised ranch overlooking a lake in Parsippany, New Jersey. It had everything we could possibly ever ask for—enough room to grow, hardwood floors, character, and it was on the market long enough that we thought we could just swoop in and make a lowball offer. Drawbacks? No backyard, but who needs one of those when you can do morning yoga from your own little dock?! This was our first experience getting outbid on a home.
House #2 is one I’ll never forget as we stalked the open houses and drove our realtor batty to find out details about the owner, the other bidders, potential offers, etc. I never imagined falling in love with a one-level home, but it was charming, a great size, and had a wonderful backyard for entertaining. I drafted a letter penned by Buster about how this home would be perfect for him to live out his golden years, and how his parents couldn’t wait to bring home babies and rescue animals. Basically, I laid it on thick. We submitted an offer and chewed our fingernails down to the quick. Again, we were outbid.
House number three was a beauty. Located in Denville, NJ, this home had beautiful reading nooks and built-in crannies, storage closets galore, and brand-new everything (except for the aforementioned dishwasher on wheels, but I digress). We simply had to unpack our bags and settle down our roots. Of course, there was a major setback that I simply couldn’t get over: it was way beyond our means (on a side note, I also couldn’t get over the fact that the home really was too big). We considered making a low offer, but after our previous experiences, we knew there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell, so we walked away.
Did I mention it had a Juliet balcony off the master bedroom?!
House hunting has taught us a lot—that communication is key, that the entire process is stressful so it’s best to come prepared with granola bars and lots of coffee, and that sometimes it’s okay to walk away. We don’t want to be house poor, and certainly don’t want to invest in a money pit (unfortunately we have seen way too many of those).
What lessons have you learned in house hunting, and how many homes did you have to visit to find The One?