Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hunting Houses: First Impressions

Saturday was our first official outing with Iris our realtor to check out some showings!!

With a large purchase such as a house, I feel that first impressions can make or break the deal.  Out of the 3 houses that we viewed on Saturday, 2 of the first impressions left something to be desired.

First off, I should give a little background on the houses that we checked out.  All three of the houses had very similar floorplans.  This is a floorplan that we have noticed during our online house hunting since 2011 and have really fallen in love with it.  All 3 are located in the same subdivision, which meant that they all matched our criteria with the school district.

If you remember my blogging from weddingbee, you know that I love the little details.  I really appreciated the prep book that our realtor Iris created on the properties that we were going to view. The book included information on the houses, the neighborhood and space for us to jot down notes.

We went into the first house (first picture above) thinking we were getting in on a good thing.  Great curb appeal, corner lot. It was a similar layout to house #2 and #3, just listed on the market on Friday and was a whopping $30,000 less than the other two.  The pictures online did make it appear that the house could use a little love, but no real red flags.

Boy were we wrong!

As soon as Iris opened the door we were hit with a not so great smell (and that's putting it mildly).  I don't know if it was a mixture of musty, BO, possible water damage (very stained carpet and a dark spot on the ceiling)...but it hit you like a brick wall.  Looking past the smell, the next thing that I was shocked about was the cleanliness of the house.  I wasn't expecting it to be spic and span tidy, but I also wasn't expecting boxes, clothes and random tapped up big screens in the entryway near the stacked  formal living and dining rooms.

Many upgrades we are willing to make. Cosmetic changes up front and bigger upgrades like appliances, flooring and new countertops down the line. Unfortunately the cabinets and appliances in this kitchen did not have much life left in them so those upgrades would need to be made sooner rather than later.

The cabinets don't look bad in the picture, but up close and in person is a different story

There were some positives to the house, like the decent sized back yard.  In our part of Texas, it's very common to have very small backyards.

Another positive was the size of the house, 2,652 sq feet.  It had a dedicated office space and we loved the vaulted ceilings in the family room and the upstairs bedrooms.

The dimensions of the bedrooms were great for our needs. Sadly you could barely tell what the sizes were due to the amount of stuff, oversized furniture pieces and gym equipment stacked in the rooms.

The master bath was a downer.  We knew about the wallpaper from the listing (which we did not mind removing), but there looked to be some major damage around the tub tiling that would need to be inspected and fixed prior to use.  The cabinets were chipped and peeling, looking like they had seen better days.

Upstairs we found 3 bedrooms, 1 bath and a gameroom.  We also found children's scribbles on the walls.  In actuality, I think there were scribbles downstairs, going up the staircase, pretty much anywhere we looked.  These of course could be cleaned and covered with new paint, but I was just surprised that the sellers would have a showing without trying to cover it up first. The bad smell was intensified upstairs and cut our time up there short.

It's a shame this house did not show better.  I remember when we were selling our house in PA we would always keep it clean and made sure that it was as tidy as can be whenever we left before a showing.  This house has potential, but it is going to require a lot of money in the beginning in order to make it worth it.

I'll skip over the 2nd house for right now (you know what they say about saving the best for last) and move onto the 3rd house that we looked at.

Again, similar layout that met most of our criteria. This was the highest priced house that we looked at on Saturday which I believe was a result of having a legal 5th bedroom and 3rd bath (instead of a half bath) downstairs.  The house was currently occupied by tenants who must LOVE animals.  There were dogs (caged), turtles, and rabbits to greet us as we walked in.  The master bedroom had plenty of room,  with another master bath that would need a little wallpaper removal (it was peeling and splitting over the tub).

The deal killer for us was the backyard.  

It backed right up to a busy road that would be a constant noise issue.  After seeing the backyard, we skipped going upstairs and called it a day.

When you looked at houses, did you have any surprising finds?  Any not so great first impressions?


  1. Wow, I can't believe those people didn't clean up at ALL! That's nuts. Can't wait to see the good house!

    1. I know! I mean I understand if you're packing up to move, but I would probably do that before or after you put it on the market...not during.

  2. Oh wow, sounds like a treat to enter a house that stinks, haha! Really looking forward to seeing the third house. :) Loving these floor plans, and the brick fronts so far!

  3. I love looking at these posts because I think I know these neighborhoods. I'm from Flower Mound. We don't live in the area right now, but when I look at houses for our potential future move back, I'm always looking for closer to Dallas proper. I enjoy seeing your house search in the more 'burby area. It is nice to see that not all homeowners have done major cosmetic improvements inside. Makes me feel better about my parents' place!

    1. It's funny that you mention that. There are actually a bunch of houses out there on the market with lots of upgrades. While they look amazing, Chris and I really wanted a place that we could make our own through improvements down the line.

  4. I disliked walking into homes and having them smell like paint, but having a bad smell would be so much worse! I can't wait to see the good house!

  5. sounds like you guys knew right away that these two weren't the right houses for you. can't believe the condition of the first one!