Buying our first house: Our wish list

As J and I really dig into the process of finding our first house, we know that we have to get over our anxiety and fear of failure, and just get out there and look. And that means, identifying our “wish list”. You know, those bullet points they list on House Hunters of the “must-haves” and “would-be-cools” and “definitely-nots”.

From the very beginning, we’ve tried to be realistic when coming up with our house hunting requirements. We know this isn’t going to be our dream home. We know it won’t be perfect. It will most likely be a little small. It may require some work. And really, what we want isn’t too much of a stretch:

Must haves

  • Three bedrooms
  • One-a-half to two bathrooms
  • A decent-sized, decently-updated kitchen
  • A basement (for storage and because we’re scared of tornadoes)
  • A two car garage
  • Detached home
  • Some yard or outdoor space (a patio or porch)
  • At least 1,400 square feet
  • Central air and heating

Not too much, right? Pretty basic, if you ask me.

Our wants and desires

  • Fireplace (man, I want one of these so bad)
  • Gas stove
  • Hardwood floors (I know, we’re one of those people)
  • A somewhat finished basement
  • Updated windows
  • Updated bathrooms (at least, updated in the last 10 years)
  • Lots of windows and light
  • An ensuite bathroom off the master bedroom (a lot of the older homes we’re looking at do not have this luxury)
  • Closet space
  • Built-in bookshelves (OK, this is me projecting my dream house, but it would GREAT)
  • A house that comes with most of its appliances including a dishwasher or dishwasher hook-up.

One thing we’d both like in a house – though we know it probably won’t happen with this house – is a house designed, laid out, or decorated in the mid-century modern style. J is a huge fan, and while I also appreciate traditional elements in a home, I do like the modern aesthetic, complete with clean lines, wood floors, and lots of light. While we know we probably won’t find an actual mid-century modern home in our price range, we will have our eye out for homes that can at least be adapted or decorated in that style. I’m thinking a combination of Crate & Barrel, West Elm, and Ikea (for budget purposes).

home1

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What I find funny about this whole house-hunting experience, though, is how my tastes have changed. I grew up in your basic 1960’s era ranch, and so of course, as a kid,  all I wanted was to live in a two-story house. It seemed so awesome to have a room upstairs, instead of, you know, down the hall from the kitchen. When you have your preteen angst attacks, you can just stomp up the stairs and blast your Savage Garden, and oh you would be so cool. I always envied my friends with bedrooms upstairs because it just seemed right and domestic and proper. It was all very Clarissa Explains It All; how else could Sam use his ladder to visit my window seat if I didn’t live on the second floor, damn it?

Now that we’re searching for a house, a lot of traditional two-story homes are showing up in our MLS listings. A bit outdated but oddly enough, exactly the kind of house I’d have loved to live in as a 12-year-old kid. But now that I’m older and wiser, all I want is an updated ranch. I think this is where J’s love of mid-century modern has influenced me; as a 27-year-old, I find myself drawn to those clean lines and open layouts. I also like the idea of the smaller home, both because two people with two cats don’t need a huge family home, but also because it will be easier and cheaper to clean and decorate.

Our house is out there somewhere…somewhere.

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