For the last two months, I’ve been living in my parents’ guest room. It’s been twelve years since I lived with my parents, and while I’m grateful they’re allowing me to stay with them as I make a major life transition, I’m anxious to have my own space again. So between reruns of House Hunters, Love It or List It and My Lottery Dream Home, I’ve begun the daunting search for a place to call my own.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from HGTV, it’s that creating a list of non-negotiables and desired features is the first step in the house hunting process. (The other thing I’ve learned: each property must have a cute, descriptive – and usually alliterative – name that the host can use to differentiate them throughout the episode.) So I sat down to make my list of requirements, and this is what I came up with:
Of course, these requirements are largely based on my lifestyle. As a small-town spoonie dog mom with a tiny budget, my needs are vastly different than the California newlyweds shopping for million-dollar mansions on HGTV. Don’t get me wrong, some of those mansions are drool-worthy. But when I really thought about the things that are important to me in a home, I realized that in a lot of ways, less is more.
Less square footage means less cleaning and maintenance.
Less money up front means more possibilities for upgrades in the future.
Less land means less lawn care.
Less people, traffic and crime in a small town mean less stress.
So far, I’ve found one house that meets all my criteria. It’s a fixer-upper that needs quite a bit of work, but it has a lot of potential. Of the houses I’ve considered, the one I’ll call “Blue Bungalow” is the best fit for my needs, despite the wood paneling, vintage floral curtains and salmon-pink faux brick walls. Décor aside, it checks all my boxes. And compared to the other options I’ve seen, it needs the least renovations to be livable.
Unfortunately, my offer wasn’t accepted for the Blue Bungalow, so my search for the perfect place to call home continues. I’m optimistic that spring will bring more options, but in the meantime, I’d love to know what tips and tricks other homebuyers have learned in the process. Share your advice in the comments, and subscribe for updates on my house hunting journey!