How We Fell in Love with a House We Couldn’t Have

by Kevin on October 3, 2008

This week I am writing about the process of us buying our first home. We bought our home one year ago in September of 2007. Yesterday I told you how we picked our realtor. Today, we’ll review the beginning of our house hunt.

The internet is a dangerous tool as you search for a new home. It’s so easy to fall in love with a house based on photos alone. Thanks to the internet during our home search I could find a home, place its location on a map to judge what neighborhood and section of town it was in, pull up similar home prices in the area, look at photos, and pull up a bird’s eye view map of the area to see how the yard was laid out.

There wasn’t a lot of guesswork except for what the inside of the house looked like including how the owners had staged it and what the floorplan was. Nonetheless you could get a good idea of the quality of the house judging from how well maintained it was on the outside and what the photos showed you of the inside.

The First House

Our relationship with a realtor was a bit different. We weren’t going to sit around and wait for him to find us something. We were scouring the internet for homes. When we would find something we would e-mail or call him and ask him to get more information.

We found this house on another realty company website and started our research. It was relatively new, had a nice, well landscaped yard, a big backyard that was fenced in, and the siding had been replaced in the last year. It looked really, really nice.

The photos of the inside were also all thumbs up. It was within our price range even before negotiating. We started to get excited.

Falling in Love

This is where the pain begins. You have to remain objective when you are searching for a house. There are literally thousands of homes out there you could buy. You can’t get set on one home based off of photos alone. We hadn’t been to the house, we hadn’t walked inside, we really had no idea of the quality of the house. You can make photographs look really nice…

We plugged along. While waiting for information about the house from the listing agent, we did a drive by on the home. It was at the end of a cul-de-sac with a lot of wooded area around it. There was little chance of additional development behind the home. Everything looked great.

We got anxious, and finally heard from the listing agent. He said there was another offer on the house. Our agent said he wasn’t very forthcoming… meaning he thought the listing agent had found a buyer as well and wanted to keep all of the commission for himself. We never heard from the listing agent again.

Frustration, Keeping Objective, and Starting Over

So we kept up the search. The house was in a good area, but the closest highway is probably the busiest one in our city. When we thought about it, the house wasn’t ideal for us. It was on the opposite side of town where we both had jobs. But we saw it first, we liked it first, and we wanted it first. It was still hard to get past the disappointment.

But we continued on and kept searching. More on that later this weekend.

I’m guessing I’m not alone here. Who else has fallen in love with a home before and ended up not being able to purchase it (for whatever reason)?


Pete October 3, 2008 at 10:19 am

When my wife and I were looking for a house a couple of years ago – we fell in love with a house, but couldn’t buy it for other reasons – we couldn’t sell our existing townhouse, and we needed the money for the down payment.

It ended up working out though as we were able to buy another house just like it a year later for a lot less money. Things have a way of working out.

Kevin October 3, 2008 at 9:04 pm

@Pete: We have were lucky enough to end up in the same situation. More on that later in the series. 🙂 It’s hard to not get emotionally involved isn’t it?

philip October 4, 2008 at 10:48 am

Yes, it is easy to find a home on the net now. There is soo much available to you without being a realtor. Honestly I had picked the housed I wanted to see and then with the realtor had him let me inside the houses for some final looking around.

I guess I had pretty much made up my mind on which house I was going to get without the realtors help. I have always wondered if I could have done it all with out the help of the realtor, but I didn’t know enough to be able to do that yet.

Kevin October 12, 2008 at 12:54 am

@Philip: That’s pretty much exactly what we did.

“Hi, Mr. Realtor? Yes, we want to see this home, that home, and this one as well. See you tomorrow.”

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