Jun 12 2011

Still shopping

We’re still shopping for  house and  van/second vehicle. I thought we would have made more progress than we have, but so far we’ve just eliminated specific houses and cars.

It’s kind of a frustrating process.

For one thing, the van market seems to be a seller’s market for what we are seeking. Fairly low inventory for sale and higher prices than I’d expect. Also, the pricing seems to be all over the place. It’s hard to see a pattern with pricing. I hope we can find something nice that will work for us soon because this is getting old.

Houses…yeah. Also still looking. We’re pretty sure about seeking:

  • 3-4 bedrooms
  • 2 full baths (at first I thought 1.5 baths would be a good minimum but now we know we want two full baths)
  • 2-car garage
  • one-story house
  • gas furnace
  • 2 separate living spaces (a living room and a separate family room/den/etc.)

Those are the musts. Beyond that, we have some strong would-likes, but things we could be flexible on. We’d love  a sunroom or deck/outdoor area and fence but those are things we could add later, for example.

We have toured older (like 1950s-60s) houses and some newer construction and we like aspects of both. The newer construction we’ve seen has some nice layouts and sizes and whatnot, but it also has some pretty restrictive HOAs and some unfortunate workmanship. The older houses we’ve seen have a lot of charm, but many of them will need a lot more money in maintenance. It’s like a lot of these houses we’ve seen have been pretty neglected over the years.

But, more houses seem to be popping on the market as the summer rolls on so that’s encouraging. With each house we see, we learn a little more about things to look for in houses, or things we definitely want or definitely don’t want. We weren’t sure about two-story houses but after being in a few of them we realized yeah, we really prefer one-story houses. We’re too lazy for all those stairs.

For you locals, we’re looking in a variety of areas: Washington Township (Marion County), Brownsburg, and Carmel/Clay. Oh, and the Merridian-Kessler neighborhood reminds me so much of Mt. Lebanon where we lived near in Pittsburgh. The old style of house (1930s or so), well-maintained and updated, and extremely pricey. But they’re adorable to look at anyway!

How long did it take you to find your house? How many did you look at before you  found it?



5 Responses to “Still shopping”

  1. We have looked at 22 houses in person and about a million online. We feel like we found “our home” with the 9th house we looked at, so we put in an offer. And now it’s been just over 3 weeks and we still don’t have an answer. Foreclosures are a pain. I specifically looked at ‘older’ homes, they’re just built so much better! All the newer homes we looked at had major problems and cheap materials. Hopefully this week we’ll get an answer to our offer. Otherwise we’ll just keep looking.

  2. Oh my goodness! Hard work isn’t it.
    We have recently sold our first apartment (even scarier than buying). We purchased it 3 years ago, and it took us 6 solid months of looking through the paper, looking online, and inspecting places every weekend. What an ordeal! But it all paid off, the apartment we ended up with was perfect, a very good price and has served us well for the past 3 years. I know it’s not the same as buying a house, but my message is to hang in there and it will pay off :)
    Now we have a block of land (buying that was easy, almost too easy), and the process of looking for a builder/designer and getting everything up and running is terribly slow. 6 months out from buying the block and we still can’t even decide on a builder. We don’t want to rush it though, so we will keep researching until we are ready. In the end though, it will be all worth it for our home among the trees.

    Good luck on the rest of your search, I’m sure it will pay off in the end!

  3. So when we needed a mini van we actually bought our Toyota Sienna in Utah and had in-laws drive it out. We had friends who found one cheaper in Arizona and even shipping it out it was a better deal. It seems like those Western markets have a little more selection although I will admit they also go pretty fast. We also recently were looking for houses in Indianapolis. Originally it was exciting but by the third full day of driving it was more just a pain. We focused in Carmel, Fishers, Indianpolis by Allisonville school, some Perry, and finally ended up in Franklin Township and are so happy. Here is why we finally settled there. One the commute is fairly good. My hubby is working downtown at the University of Indiana Hospital and it is only 12 miles from our house, as opposed to the 20+ a day Fishers was going to be. Those extra twenty miles every day were going to take a toll, especially since he has to work so much….plus the people we bought from showed us a way to go that keeps the commute under 15 minutes. A definite plus! Two, WE LOVED THE FEEL OF CARMEL but the only thing we could afford there without going out of comfort zone were houses that were 50 to 60 years old. Don’t get me wrong I love old houses but with hubby gone so much and so few days off we needed something that was move in ready (none of the foreclosed homes we looked at were…all needed new carpet and paint, and quite a few were missing copper, had holes in the wall or had problems with mold, which was so annoying! If they’d been a super steal it might have been worth it, but most were less then 20,000 less then the other houses in the neighborhood and we could see savings going quickly on repairs) and was not going to take a lot of maitanence. The house we ended up in was only ten years old and after inspection the buyers were willing to fix the ten or so honey do list items that hubby just wouldn’t have time to get to. Three, because we have one in school and two that will be in school before we leave, the schools were really important to us. We used greatschools.com to get an idea of where the best schools to be were and looked in those areas. Franklin offered the best schools compared to housing prices. Anyway the process was a nightmare but we survived and closed on our house Friday. The owners were so nice and she invited me into her friend group, told me where all the great preschools were, the good churches, the fun neighbors to hang out with, and the preschool group to join. In the end I still LOVE Zionsville, Carmel, and Fishers but for where we are in life right now Franklin is a good fit. Good luck!!!!

  4. We looked at four in person, two afternoons (and a million online like everyone else). Hopefully that’s not discouraging because I know it’s not the norm.
    And I’m not a fan of HOAs, so we skipped those neighborhoods.

  5. We created a spreadsheet with categories that were important to us. We probably ran a total of 40 houses through that spreadsheet, and ended up looking at maybe 7 that had great “scores” on or spreadsheet. We LOVE our house, but there is one stupid thing I wish I would’ve noticed before we bought it. I’m not sure it would’ve changed my mind, I’m not sure we could’ve had it fixed if we had asked for the previous owner to do so, but…EVERY SINGLE OUTLET IS UPSIDE DOWN. That’s so annoying. I guess it’s not a big deal, and depending on how long we stay here I may forget that there was a time I found it abnormal, but for now it irks me.

    I know this isn’t what you were asking for, but it’s just another example of how important it is to pay attention to details. Open ALL of the kitchen cabinets and make sure they don’t restrict eachother’s function. Somebody I know has a couple of cabinets that are useless because the knobs on the adjacent corner cabinets keep them from opening more than 2 inches. DUMB. Another silly one, interior doors that don’t latch. If the door isn’t plumb and it’s not just a latch hardware issue, it can be super annoying to fix.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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