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House Hunting Reality versus TV

August 22, 2012 Sarah Coggins

In the last month, I’ve learned a number of things when it comes to the reality of house hunting …

Photos Lie

I sort of knew this beforehand, but it is nice to think that a house looks as good as its photos. Sometimes they are pretty close, but some are soooo far off. Like the house that looked empty and had lots of great features. In reality, it had people living in it that were total slobs. Now, I’m not the best housekeeper myself but this showing was delayed and the place was still trashed. All the lights were off, window treatments closed. It was dark and creepy including the horrid spiderweb covered exterior. Our Realtor even joked she felt the need for a bath after walking in it. Yeah, gross. (I won’t post photos – partly for the privacy of sellers and, frankly, I was so horrified I didn’t think to take any!)

Staging Makes a Difference

Thankfully, Trent and I do have vision and can look past a lot. Ok, so not so much the house mentioned above. We both agreed we could never see past the filth to imagine ourselves in that house. But, aside from it, we’ve been able to envision possibilities in some homes. Those that have a least some staging (ie, furniture and minimal clutter) definitely make that easier. A couple empty homes we saw were a bit more challenging to picture what furniture of ours might fit and how we could arrange it.

House Hunting Photo Strip
Glimpses of a few of the homes we liked.

Location Location Location

This is our focus. There are plenty of houses in our budget that fit our “wants” list, but not so many in the area we want to be. Lots can be changed about a house. Location isn’t one of those things.


It seems fun when watching other people search out their next house on TV, but after a few weeks, reality is it isn’t that much fun. Perhaps it’s the pressure of the closing date on our current home fast approaching (although we did learn this morning that we could possibly push it back. Hurray!) or the pressure of finding what’s right for our family for years to come. We have no intention of doing this again until our son is grown and out of the house!

I think I’m probably the pickier one and kudos to Trent and our Realtor for their patience with me as I comment on each new choice presented. I’ve truly lost count how many we’ve seen … the “dark house”, the one with the sinking floor, the cute 70s split level that was a tad too small, the one with the stage, the one where 2 cars really didn’t fit in the “2 car” garage, the one with half the property under water due to a retention pond, the foreclosed home, the one that felt like it would slide down the hill it was perched on, etc.

The Reality

House hunting is extremely frustrating.

We have found a few we liked and already “lost” 2. The first we weren’t quick enough to get an offer in before another buyer did. The second another buyer slipped in during our negotiations over the weekend and snatched. It wasn’t until a day later that the seller’s agent told ours we were no longer a contender. That was hard.

This morning we submitted an offer on yet another house. Still waiting word. Fingers crossed.


  • Mame Johnston August 23, 2012 at 6:29 am
    Just remember that you won't find the perfect house for you until it IS the perfect house that has been chosen for you. You'll know it when you 'find' it or until it 'finds' you.

    • Sarah C. August 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm
      Thanks, Mame! I think the one this week is the one - waiting the final approval as it's bank owned. Very close to Wish <- huge plus! :)
  • Melisa - Mommy This & That August 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm
    I totally feel this post and was actually going to do one myself. Of course right now we are just watching certain houses and hoping they stay around for a few more months. But mostly we drive by and see if the outside pictures actually match and whether we like the neighborhood upon getting there. Recently we went to a gorgeous house that had everything we wanted...but actually shared a driveway with the house next door. Instant no from both DH and I! Amazing how a seller can trick you, right?
    • Sarah C. August 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm
      With the right angles, the pictures tell a thousand words and hide a thousand secrets! I know they are meant to highlight the best features, but it is so frustrating. The ones we like the best in photos the first week were the first we said absolutely not to.
  • Bonnie August 27, 2012 at 9:18 am
    Good luck on this one, Sarah! It's frustrating business and I hope I don't have to go through it again!
    • Sarah C. August 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm
      Agreed! Looks like things are finally moving forward. Will be happy to have this behind me. :)

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