I am a real estate junkie. I fully admit it. I search the MLS at least twice a week (just looking!). I would even do it 2 months after we moved into our house (it drives my husband crazy!).
We're not in a position to buy a new house - and won't be for quite some time (it will take either 2 incomes or a lot more equity than we have). But I like to look. And dream....
*Rewind to 1999*
I had just graduated from college and was working and planning a wedding. Craig was still in college (he's 2 months younger than me, but a year behind in school). We knew we would rather buy a house - any house - than "throw away" money in rent, so as Craig was being fitted for his cap and gown, I was out house-hunting with my dad. By the time Craig was also a wage-earning member of society, we were spending every weekend going to Open Houses and actively looking for a house.
It took a few months, and a few rounds of disappointments and tears, but we finally found our house. It was an 80-year-old twin in the west-end of a fairly large city. Everything about the house was charming, but old. We had 3 nice-size bedrooms, 1 full bath (and a scary toilet in our basement that only the brave would approach!), a beautiful sunroom and a postage stamp yard just perfect for a toddler to play in. It needed some work (all new wiring plus some cosmetics), but basically was a nice sound house.
Look at the beautiful front room we had! 6 windows! And the front door was all window too! We started out with wicker in there, but as we had children, it slowly turned into a playroom.
Living Room & dining room - our house was nice and spacious. Brick fireplace in the living room. HUGE dining room that fit tons of furniture PLUS a curio cabinet PLUS my piano! There was beautiful woodwork in this house that was just begging to be refinished (we never did!).
The kitchen was pretty hideous in this house. There was a bad circa-1982 renovation done - complete with orange counters. The layout was terrible too. had we stayed, we would have redone the kitchen (I heard that was the first thing the new owners did!).
We could have made this house work for us - had it been in a better school district. We lived here for just shy of 3 years, and then found a new opportunity in a much better district.
*Fast-forward to 2004*
This is our "new" house while it was still under construction. It's a townhome - but we gained some square footage, several bathrooms, a garage and a much larger yard. We're also in a great school district (that we don't ever want to leave). I don't have many recent photos of the house - that will be my project this weekend (so expect a photo tour next week!).
*Return to 2009*
While we do love our house, I find myself still looking at the MLS twice a week. Now that the real estate bubble has burst, I see so many opportunities becoming available, but we just aren't ready to make the move. Not only do we not have the confidence to tackle a bigger mortgage on a single income, but I just can't find the "perfect" house. This is where I start to question if I have become a house snob. Ugh.
We are blessed with a great backyard. Especially for a townhome. I could never give my kids less space to play! And we have 2 full baths and 2 half baths. Now, I could do with fewer bathrooms to clean, but it's soooooo nice having a bath right off my bedroom. And it's really nice having a bath on each floor of the house.
I think my biggest area of becoming a snob is air conditioning. I LOVE CENTRAL A/C. I really, really do. Not only does it keep us nice and cool, but it helps our allergies so much. I don't think I could ever go back to not having central air!!!
So maybe I've become a house snob. Finding the next "perfect" house may be a real problem. Guess it's good we aren't going anywhere soon!