This year, Paul and I made a goal to buy a house. This comes with much sadness because we LOVE being renters. Ha! The idea of being responsible for so many things sounds terribly stressful and time consuming. At this moment in my life with my work, family, and church responsibilities, I’m really enjoying not being in charge of something, anything! That said, the idea of having a place where I can go to town decorating in whatever way I want really floats my boat. Imagine all the floral wallpapers I’d get to put up! The thought is almost too much to bear.
Realtor.com asked if I wanted to partner to talk about their site and app and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’m already on their site all the time so there was no stretch in trying to figure out if it was a good partnership. Authentic? You got it! I already dig their site and use it nearly every day so I can tell you some things I love about it and what I’ve been doing in my search. As you might know, the home buying market is competitive and overwhelming, especially around here where housing prices have gone up a ton recently. It’s a seller’s market for sure. I’ll take all the help/advice I can get and this app is a great place to start.
If you’re also thinking about buying a home here are a few suggestions I have when you’re starting out.
How to find your dream home
1. Make a vision board
Create a tangible vision board, not just a Pinterest board (though if you’re interested here are 1600 of my favorite houses on my board). Last year I made a new year’s resolution to focus more on what inspires me and have that drive my artistic and life choices. Creating physical mood boards has been THE BEST for narrowing down what it is that really revs my engine and reminds me of my original inspiration so I can keep my decision making focused on my desired outcome. By printing off my pictures and cutting them from magazines, versus just having a digital board, I noticed some trends in what I was choosing that I probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. For example, I was selecting a lot of houses in Europe. Surprise, surprise! I’m well aware of the fact that Provo, Utah is not France and never will be, so the chateaus with the large gardens are not going to happen (yet ;), but I did realize that I wanted a place with the potential to create a magical garden.
There are also some qualities from these dreamy maisons that I’ve learned I’m looking for: I started to realize that I love a house with character or has a story to tell. Yes, I love the historic ones or at least the ones that look old. Provo has a limited amount of historic homes and a lot of mid-century. I could definitely do mid-century as long as it has the right character and integrity to the design. I also started to notice how traditional my choices were. There were a lot of neo-classical and colonial choices in the mix. And a lot of white! Who knew?!
But what does Paul like? New, new, new! Maybe it’s because of him growing up in a country, Denmark, where everything is old, old, old. We’re working on a joint moodboard where we can find the happy medium.
2. Make a list of your top priorities
From the photos you’ve gathered, have you noticed any trends? Probably so! Now write them down in addition to other factors like neighborhood, school districts, etc. Mine are the following in no particular order (yet, I’m trying to figure out what’s most important to me!):
- Ample space for our needs
- Natural light
- Good neighborhood
- Garden space
3. Use Realtor.com to get acquainted with the market
I use Realtor.com to constantly scope out my options based on the priorities that are most important to me and Paul. Realtor.com is the most updated online home buying website/app so you know it’s the most comprehensive and accurate information anytime, anywhere. I like not feeling like I’m missing out on additional information. You have the option to add a variety of filters like price range, bedrooms, type of house, school information, etc. By nature, I’m a researcher and love to know what’s out there and how much things are going for (wish we had bought a house ten years ago when the market better for buyers!).
4. Use the map option
This is my favorite feature on the site/app because you can get acquainted with the neighborhoods you’d like to live in, if you already know, and quickly see if the houses are in your budget. Paul and I like driving around the town to see things in person and this feature is one we use all the time.
5. Save your favorites
Saving my favorite houses is great for reminders. It keeps it all in one tidy place.
Though I realize the market for European garden chateaus is, shall we say, non-existent, I’m hopeful that I’ll find qualities in a few houses. Wish us luck! And stay tuned for a follow up post on our home-buying progress.
Are you looking for a house? I’d love to hear what you’re looking for and how you search for the good ones. Dish!
This post is sponsored by Realtor.com® but all thoughts and opinions are my own.