Friday, May 2, 2014

House Hunters: Tampa Edition

by Meghann on May 2, 2014

Please note that we know that no house is perfect. Derek and I have really just started looking at properties and are not in a hurry to settle just yet. We’re taking our time and learning as we go. I thought it might be fun to share some thoughts about the houses we’ve looked at thus far. We may only see one more or we may see 100 – who knows what the future will hold!  (p.s. I hope you enjoy my awesome Paint skills!) 

House #1: The Foreclosure


Derek and I got our dates/houses mixed up with our realtor for our very first showing with him. D’oh! We arrived a little early (not even realizing we were at the wrong house) and decided to take a little peek inside. The gate on the back fence was broken and the back sliding glass door was unlocked and easily accessible, maybe this should have been out first sign this was a no go?

While the house appeared to be recently renovated and in great shape in photos, it was a whole other story in person. The fresh paint and new kitchen was just a band aid for the odd floor plan, tiny master bathroom, and missing pantry in the kitchen. The doors and windows weren’t sealed properly and we saw a lizard easily squeeze itself out the back door onto the patio. We weren’t fans of this place at all.

When the realtor finally called us to see where we were, we told him it was a good thing we saw this place first because it was a definite no.

House #2:  The Dream House

dream house

I loved this house the second I stepped in. It smelled amazing – which I’m discovering is a huge selling point for me.

The layout was perfect. The three extra bedrooms were in a separate hallway with a beautiful second bathroom right in the middle. All the rooms were also colorful, decent sizes, had great closets, and great big windows. The master bedroom was on the other side of the house and had a huge bathroom and walk-in closet attached. The floor plan was very open, with a separate play space at the entrance and a small dining room near the kitchen. The kitchen had older cabinets, but the fresh coat of paint and new hardware really gave them an updated look. There was so much space, too! Lots of cabinets, a big pantry, and about 3x as much counter space as our current place. Love!

Location was great as well. The house was close to the major road we both take to work and there was a Publix within walking distance.

Unfortunately the backyard was really where we stopped and paused. It was a beautiful backyard, but it was small and not kid friendly at all. There was a big deck that took up the majority of the space and a hot tub that nestled itself on the side. There was no grass and no space to really let Maddie or future kids run around.

It was also the second house we saw and we weren’t exactly ready to settle on something if it wasn’t 100% what we wanted. If the yard had been just a tiny bit bigger, we might have put an offer right then and there. Unfortunately we had to pass. The house went off the market a couple of days later and is currently under an active contract. Sigh. Now it’s simply the house we compare all other houses to.

House #3: The Big House

big house

I liked “The Big House” as soon as our realtor sent the listing. It was at the top of our budget, but I was impressed with the location and the big, beautiful kitchen featured in all the photos.

Unfortunately, photos can once again be deceiving. While the house was gorgeous – and the kitchen super impressive – there were too many things that needed to be done to it. It looked like a house that had been lived in and loved by a good family and was put up for sale only after all the kids had moved out. There were walls that had been DIYed with some sort of plaster embellishment that would need to be removed, there were doors that weren’t properly aligned, and various elements were cracking and peeling for one reason or another. It was also very big. Too big. We didn’t need that much space.

So, once again, we walked away.

House #4: The House with the Great Backyard

While I was away for business last weekend Derek saw a couple of properties without me. There was one house in particular that he saw, loved, and wanted me to see asap.

The house was a recent flip, only on the market for a day after being sold a month prior to the flippers. They did a great job for the short time they had, they updated all the fixtures, redid the natural oak floors, put in a new kitchen, and updated the second bathroom. It was a beautiful house, with a great backyard. I walked outside and immediately felt at home out there. It was large, open, and plenty of room for a pick-up game of soccer or a barbecue.

The only problem was the master suite. The bathroom was tiny and the closet wouldn’t even hold my winter wardrobe (this Florida girl’s winter wardrobe!). Derek presented the idea of redoing the master suite ourselves and we spent about 20 minutes discussing plans for gutting the bathroom and putting in what we wanted. The house was well below our budget so any extra construction would still be feasible. Could we make it work?

Nope. It took a couple of beers for us to come back to our senses and realize we don’t want to mess with that at all. In fact, we’re willing to pay a little more to not have to mess with that at all.

I think the most important factor that links all the houses above is none of them felt like home. I’m still waiting for the place that gives me instant butterflies. I feel like we’re internet dating houses and we just haven’t found “the one” yet.

How many houses did you look at before you put an offer in? I think we’re on 6 or 7, with 3 more to see this weekend!

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