If I had this house…

>> 6.09.2010

Do you ever browse through the real estate listings in your neighborhood and daydream about your dream home? Do you also like to spend a Sunday afternoon visiting homes while you don’t even have yours up for sale? Do you make estimates on your monthly payments and calculate the amount of cash it would take to bring certain listings up to your standards? Okay, call me crazy because I’ve been known to do all of that. I guess you could blame it on my “starter home syndrome.”



I know… I’m a home stalker.

You see… I’m still working on my starter home. I purchased my smallish 2 bedroom and 2 ½ bathroom home (boy, do I wish there were more bedrooms than bathrooms) less than a year ago. I hope to make improvements on it and build up enough equity and savings to move up to the “forever home” within the next five years. So, for now, I like to look up listings in the MLS and dream about what I would do to the dated, but affordable homes in order to bring them up to “dream home” status while making the most of my money (kinda like Sarah Richardson does… but with 1/100th of the budget).

Here’s my most recent target:
It's about $30,000 under my future budget, but the perfect size and in the perfect neighborhood (and yes, I'm crazy enough to look at the schools of my pretend buys as well).

Also, it has never been on the market before so this 1949 space has a lot of room for updating.
I actually hope to find a home with ugly shag carpeting... Usually, that means I can save on the purchase price and install flooring of my choosing (rather than being stuck with some expensive tile job). In this case, it means that the original hardwoods are probably in good shape under there.

Both of the two bathrooms are straight out of the 1950's.
 While the tile will probably need to be updated to to its age, I don't really mind the look of either. I could totally live with either while renovating.

The same goes for this kitchen... it's not really working for me the way it is, but it's totally livable.
I think I would reface all of the cabinets and then add in new appliances, countertop and sink.  The cheap tile would go to hardwood when I replace  all of the non-wood flooring in the house:
It's really not all that impressive from this picture, but what stand out to me are the high ceilings and open floor plan. After redoing the flooring with wood, replacing the lighting, and bringing in my furniture, I have a feeling that this would be a pretty nice space!
Some of the spaces would be good as-is (minus furniture), like this master bedroom. I love all of the natural light that fills the space.

The important things I look for in a *pretend* future home are:
Structure (sound and well-maintained)
Layout
Location

After doing the flooring, lighting, and cosmetic updates in the kitchen and bathrooms, I can totally see this as my dream home at an affordable price!

Confess, have you searched for a home prematurely? Do you still look at houses even after buying one?

16 comments:

Sara @ Russet Street Reno June 9, 2010 at 11:02 AM  

I look at listings just to see what houses in my area are going for. Ours may not be a 'forever' house because I'm not sure we will stay in this city, but it certainly isn't a starter home, either. The one you featured here would be a great place to update. I like those bathrooms! The retro tile is pretty.

Mel June 9, 2010 at 11:12 AM  

Oh yeah, I look. I like seeing other people's decorating styles and compare mine to them and also to find my dream home :)

laura @ so alaurable June 9, 2010 at 11:13 AM  

I look at houses all if the time after buying our condo...partly to wonder "what if?", partly to see what others are going for when it comes time to sell.

It can be bad for me though! There was another condo I sooooo wanted at the time but we lost out on that I came across as on the market a year after they and we bought! It was still just as great abd unique and made me sad.

Flavia @ Estilo Home June 9, 2010 at 11:24 AM  

Yeah, I am guilty of pretend-buying homes! I don't do it too often or jealousy starts to creep in (my place is reaaally small) but it's so fun to daydream about what I'd do to some of these homes!

Kat June 9, 2010 at 11:27 AM  

Totally guilty as charged! I still live in an apartment and we're about 2 years away from buying a house. However, on Saturday mornings we sit around watching "My First Place" and searching Zillow for our future home. It's really interesting to see how our type of home we see ourselves in one day has changed so much.

Mrs. Chic June 9, 2010 at 11:46 AM  

Sometimes - when I start thinking, we can do this, and this and this....I'm not sure how long we'll live in our current home and had so much fun fixing it up!! and have put so much love in to it - its would be so hard too sell

Sarah @ Dream in Domestic June 9, 2010 at 11:51 AM  

I am in college and nowhere near buying my first place, but that doesn't stop me from looking at all the listings and subscribing to their daily email lists! It's so addicting. I figure once it's time to actually buy a house, I will know exactly what I want and how much I can get it for.

Amanda June 9, 2010 at 11:55 AM  

I totally do this! We have www.HAR.com here in houston Texas for MLS listings. My favorite thing to do though is look at the million dollar homes *drool*

Kim at Yellow Brick Home June 9, 2010 at 12:07 PM  

I'm always looking! And I crunch the numbers with other Chicago homes and wonder if we got a steal. Sometimes I can end up very frustrated though...

Danielle and Clint June 9, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

I am guilty! Lock me up and throw away the keys! But, I do feel I am in my forever home already. There are things I want, like a big front porch, but I feel I can add them on as I go. This pretend house you posted is fab! So clean and neat! That is rare to find. It has great charm also. Btw, my kitchen had that fake wood stuff all over the counters and backsplash...why did people think that looked nice?

GreenerLinen June 9, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

I've been lurking on your blog for a while (can't remember if I've ever commented before.)
But I'm SO glad you admitted to this because I do it ALL the time. I'm a renter and SEVERAL years from being able to purchase a home. But I LOVE the neighborhood I live in, and every time I see a condo or a house go up for sale I examine the price and the size and judge EVERYONES decorating choices. But 90% of the houses in my neighborhood are close to double my 'house budget'

LizzieBeth June 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

70 N. Wakefield Road, Norristown, PA

We love it. We've looked at it during an open house twice.

However, we are still an year out from buying a house.

Are we just setting ourselves up for dissapointment?

LB

Monica June 9, 2010 at 12:37 PM  

I look all the time and really wish I could ban carpet from the planet. That's the first thing I notice, because I never ever want to have carpet again...and I'm not handy and talented like you :) and floor are expensive.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog June 9, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

@GreenerLinen~ If I have my math right that means 10% ARE in your budget. Use it as motivation to save up for a big downpayment!!

@LizzieBeth~ Here's the plan: take down the open house signs pointing towards it... or better yet, direct people to the wrong location... or maybe just go over and tag a "sold" sign on it every morning... I'm sure this will hold it for you for a year ;).

Jeannine @ Small and Chic June 9, 2010 at 2:30 PM  

Ha! I do the same thing! Oh the blog entries I'll write when I have an old, disastrous house on my hands!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards June 9, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

We never stopped looking at houses, and now we're buying another. ;) We have a house addiction. But, luckily, hubby is totally with me. He loves to find ones that we can make money on. I love to find the "dream home" potential.

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