Author Topic: First House - Anxious and Uncertain  (Read 2448 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 27
First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« on: May 03, 2018, 08:07:23 PM »
Hello Mustachians,

My wife and I have been looking for a house since getting married last summer. Had a bit of a roller coaster, it's been a bit rough: not a lot of houses in the area we are looking, and we've said no to a bunch due to location and lot.

Found a house which feels small to us. Apx 1200 Sq ft, raised ranch, 3/4 finished walkout basement, on an acre.

My wife and I are anxious because it doesn't quite fit the mold, but it's hard to describe why. Mostly, size, it's a 3 bed, and we were thinking we wanted 4.

It's well in our budget [even with the shrinking budget from the recent hikes in interest rates] and the houses we are more interested in are just outside of our budget, but we are holding to our budget.

Are we crazy?


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
  • Location: Northern California
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2018, 08:58:02 PM »
Do you have any kids?

My wife and I made a list of maybe 10 things that were important to us in a house. Biggest want was 10, rank down to 1. Use this ranking on each house you might consider. We were surprised at how some houses scored for our actual “needs” and not emotion.

Is the 3/4 finished basement included in the square footage? If not how big is that? Maybe that finished gives you the “extra” space your looking for.

Do you plan to move up in house 5-10 years from now? Sometimes it helps to overlook certain things if this isn’t your “forever” home.

If your planning a dedicated “guest room” you will not use it enough to justify going from a 3 to 4 bedroom house. 1200sqft can be a nice size depending on layout. Bigger= more cleaning, more maintenance, higher power bills.

We lived in a 1100sqft house with our first child and it felt fine.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4865
  • On a forum break :)
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2018, 09:08:28 PM »
The size sounds great! 1200 sq ft is plenty, fits a good number of people. Just don't fill it with excess furniture, knick knacks, etc. If layout demands, you can be creative with how each space is used. (The decluttering thread just had a great account on what a bit of rearranging did to one family's space.)

So, the size I think is dandy, generous even.

You can always create a fourth bedroom/studio/den/office on the acre -tiny house, shed, sleepout, RV, whichever.

Your not loving the place is more of a concern to me. There's been lots of discussion on the forum re: we should not buy a house according to feelings of "in love" yadda yadda. At the same time, a huge and long term investment should fit for you every which way, including emotionally (at the very least a peaceful acceptance).


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2018, 09:51:25 PM »
I'm in the process of selling a house that never felt right to me. It was in a sought after location. Like you, at the time of my purchase, I was having a hard time finding a place due to inventory. It's like that all the time where I am. Long story short, I made the best of it and rode it out 5 years now making some bucks and moving into a house I love. Bottom line, the house never really appealed to me and still doesn't but location, location, location trumped all & made selling easy & profitable. Not sure if this helps.

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2018, 12:17:44 PM »
Thank you all for the replies.


No children. We don't have our heart set one way or the other. We talked about it during premarital counseling. We are planning to make a decision when we are settled down. Right now the thought of kids stresses us both out. We are comfortable with either path forward if/when the time is right.

The 3/4 finished basement should be another 500 to 700 square feet, but I'm going to have to measure this weekend when we take a second look at the house.

Although the future could surprise us, our careers will likely keep us in our area, and our intent is to find our "forever home".


I think the in love part is what I'm having the trouble with too. We certainly don't hate it, but I don't want to call it the house I don't hate. We are feeling a little ragged from the house hunt, especially with a lot of waiting for houses to pop up, scrambling and trying to determine if we like it enough to move forward with a house when it does. We fell in love with a few houses but then worked our way through our wants and needs and had to un-pick most of them.

Our friends and our agent say that this is the lowest inventory they've seen. A friend's house [15 miles away] had 3 offers the day it went on the market. A coworker wad beat out for a house 30k over asking.

I see a lot of potential with the land, and expansion with out buildings is an option.

I don't know if we just have our guard up since we've been burnt a few times, we have been trying not to fall in love with a house that could get snatched up.

I like your peaceful acceptance term.


I guess it's not the end of the world if we decided to sell in 5 to 10 years. It has access to major highways for people who have insane commutes to major cities, as the suburbs continue to sprawl outward. But I wouldn't call this an area that people are beating down the doors to move to.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1697
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Dallas TX
    • SWAMI
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2018, 12:29:51 PM »
We talked about it during premarital counseling.
^^ good on you for having the serious talks *before* getting hitched!!!

about the house:
- you have not really mentioned why buy instead of rent. I am assuming there are financial incentives to do so and you plan to stay there the 5yrs+ to make it worthwhile.
- 4 bed is a bit much honestly for 2 people esp if kids may not be in the picture. you 2 will be rattling around in a 4 bed
- I'd say, if it's in budget, a good value, and you are committed to purchase, then buy it. Make it your own and enjoy it.

then, very importantly, go out and meet the neighbors, build roots in the area. The more effort you put into this the more it'll feel like "home".
Good luck!!!


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4865
  • On a forum break :)
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2018, 12:54:07 PM »
I really (REALLY) understand the house hunt fatigue. I just spent several years in it -HCOLA, heated and crazy fast market, almost every property a bidding war. I finally snagged one the third city I tried...and at inspection learned it was a firm no. I was quite dismayed, because where the heck were we supposed to live??? Five months later I got into my dream space, which I'd been on a four year wait list for!! Rental, affordable, flexible, big, everything we wanted and more.

As fatigued as you are, I would continue renting until you are sure about this property or a different one.


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 239
  • Location: Australia
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2018, 04:25:38 PM »
As a different perspective , we bought a 4 bedroom house ( after we started downsizing journey , from big 5 bedroom one) that we didn't love but it was purely a business decision . We planned to rent it and then sell it eventually .Like you we looked at many and that one ticked the boxes for location, size etc but we didn't "love " it .Well we ended up living in it for three years and it " grew" on us to the point that I love that house now !!
In the process we also discovered that 4 bedroom was WAY too big for 2 people so we moved into 2 bedroom which feels perfect.
We rent out 4 bedroom until we have the time to renovate it and eventually sell ( which was the plan all along ) .
Funny how your thinking and priorities CAN change in a few short years.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 27
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2018, 04:49:02 PM »
Thanks for the input.

A quick update:

1200 does not include the finished part of the walkout basement. That adds  probably 400 more. [But I am an engineer and looked forward to unfinished space to make messes and not get yelled at by the missus. But I will have the great outdoors as my workshop]

We will be placing an offer on it this weekend. I'd like to rattle off some of the details about the next steps, is Ask A Mustachian or the real estate board better for [which mortgage company should I use, what should I make sure I don't overlook, etc] type of questions?

I will start here, but may make another topic if appropriate.

Private Party [he was planning to list it with a realtor in May, but checked with people he knew and spread the word he was selling] we found out about it through mutual connections and the offer was he would hold off on listing if we were interested.

We will be presenting an offer letter this weekend. If we agree on the details he has a realtor friend who will put together the contract. He also has someone for closing. Ordinary title company in the area. We aren't using a buyers agent for this transaction, however we had one who we put an offer through on a prior property and has shown us other houses.

We are prequalified with a "package up and resell" mortgage broker. I've checked around with places like sofi, and brick and mortar banks near us. Sofi seems to have high interest rates for our conventional [20% down] loan than the brick and mortars or the reseller.

My family gave the house a thorough inspection looking for any red flags which would make a headache and not worth placing an offer. [Looked good to everyone, but we will be doing a home inspection]

As I understand it, we provide the details to the realtor who writes the contract. We all sign it and give a copy to whichever broker we decide to use [any suggestions?] Then we start our due diligence period and do inspections [New enough that lead and asbestos are not a concern] -well, septic, general, wdo  (termites). Anything else?

Then we shop around for homeowners insurance.

Then we take on debt worth about half our networth.

What gotchas should I be wary of?
I will take things that the realtor says with a grain pile of salt.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 04:50:44 PM by FireEngineer »


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4865
  • On a forum break :)
Re: First House - Anxious and Uncertain
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 04:54:10 PM »
Happy for you that you were able to reach a conclusion and satisfaction :)     Excellent.

I would ask on the AAM area -only because it seems to get more action than the RE area. (And I think the RE is more for landlording stuff?)

Super glad to hear you'll be getting a thorough, professional inspection. The last $400 I spent on one saved me countless dollars.

I don't know anything about private sales stuff, or processes, so really am just here to say congrats and also yay to the inspection!


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!