House Hunters

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I have a very long mental list of stuff to do "once things calm down." One of which is getting back to blogging every single day. I hate not being able to write regularly.

But then I remember that I've been waiting for this magical "calm time" for awhile now and perhaps it's never coming. Maybe it's just called life. And I should probably learn how to balance things sooner or later (or "time block" as Chris says) because it's only going to get busier.

I look around at people my age with 2 or 3 kids and a four bedroom house and wonder how in the hell they do it. It's a struggle for me to keep our two bedroom apartment clean on the regular and it's just Chris and I. And Harlow. And in my defense Harlow insists on dragging every single toy from his basket to various places around the house every single day.

Speaking of houses, we've been on the hunt lately. Our realtor has jokingly told us he knows the producers from House Hunters and do we want to be on an episode? I jokingly bring it up every time we meet with him...Because yes, yes I do want to be on the show. And since I am a hustler I would just casually change the t-shirt I'm wearing every five minutes to showcase my entire collection during filming.

House hunting in Chicago is interesting. Houses get listed and sold within hours, often for above asking price. And when I say a "house" I mean the floor of a house, sometimes even just the back half.

We have our lists of "wants" and "must haves."

After living in the city for five years my "must haves" seem pretty simple, yet also pretty dreamy after being without them for years.

*In-unit laundry.
A washer and dryer NOT in a scary dungeon basement that is also shared by 8 other tenants would be AMAZING. Every time I do laundry now I have to make sure we have quarters (we never do and the quarter fight is an on-going thing in this house) and then I have to fight off rats and spiders in a basement that feels like the Upside Down.

So to have laundry steps away from our bedroom and/or kitchen would be unreal. I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Probably laundry all the time.

*A parking spot.
Doesn't have to be covered (what do you think I am, a millionaire?!) but simply a designated spot where I know I always get to park.

Walking a block with eight bags of groceries isn't as fun as it seems. Especially in January.

*Two bathrooms.
We've lived with one bathroom for far too long now. We have people stay with us A LOT and one bathroom makes everything so much harder.

For example my family is coming to stay with us this weekend and I'm already dreading the bathroom situation. I can't wait for the day we're living like fat cats with two toilets in the house.

I guess that's pretty much it. Like I said, we're not looking for anything too crazy here.

I guess I forgot one thing, I'd love to have a fridge that has an ice maker. I don't feel like that's asking too much, and yet I've gone my entire life without having this luxury. And I am so damn tired of filling ice trays.

Anyway, we've been looking for about six months and have already seen some crazy shit. I need to write more about house hunting in Chicago but it's already 1 a.m. and I'm exhausted and need to head into T-Shirt Town for a bit.

The thought of buying anything is exciting and also very overwhelming. If you're a home owner, have any tips? Give me all the tips, please.



37 comments:

  1. This all sounds familiar - my family just went through all of this in Boston last year. My parents casually looked for 3ish months, and then it was another 3-4 before they found a place that fit everything. And of course there were several times within that where they put an offer on a place only for them to be outbid by someone who paid way over the asking price and/or was able to pay in cash and wouldn't need a mortgage! From everything I've seen, I think the only thing I can say is to just keep going. Good luck on your hunt!

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  2. I bought a condo in Chicago (and ended up purchasing short sale, which was the absolute worst). Your goals were mine as well! We ended up needing to go further away from the train than I would have liked (Lawrence/Ravenswood) in order to get all the things we want (which included garage parking), so I'd say keep a several different locations in mind! There are great places all over the city to fall in love with (though Lincoln Park/Lakeview is amazing, of course). Our realtor also wanted to do HH, and we even got approved and planned filming dates until the short sale went to hell and we were almost homeless for a brief spell (so intense that when our movers called to confirm the night before I didn't know where to tell them that our stuff was going). Anyway, HH takes 3 full DAYS of shooting. They also figure out your "back story" or prime conflict (ours was that I wanted to move to the burbs (I didn't) because I wanted some of the amenities you listed (which, really??) but that my husband wanted to stay in Chicago. Weird, huh? Anyway, keep looking and don't give up hope!

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  3. We are house hunting too and DC sounds like a similar real estate situation to Chicago. I just want a place with 1.5 bathrooms, but that's apparently asking for a unicorn.

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  4. Definitely keep writing about your experience with house hunting in Chicago! We got so discouraged that we decided just to rent for another yet and try again at a later point! So it'd be nice to hear how the process moves forward for you :)

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  5. We have been looking in Phoenix off and on for about 6 months. Some of our wants feel truly crazy.

    -No Pool. I have nightmares of neighbor children breaking in and drowning and being responsible. Also my dog isn't the smartest

    -No Astroturf. Real Grass. HAHAHAHAHA It's cheaper to have a pool apparently

    - As little Open Floorplan as possible. I hate them. I literally had an agent say it's a very UnAmerican thing to want.
    - Mailbox. I hate communal mail stations. Hate them. But I don't think this will ever be something I can get.

    We ended up putting off buying. My husband's job means he can be moved quite frequently across the US and other countries, so we decided to find a bigger place to rent until we figure out where we will be for the next few years.

    Please do HouseHunters! You'd be a couple that I don't want to hate watch!

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  6. Can you PLEASE go on House Hunters, wear all of your shirts (it would be hysterical if you had a different one on each time you entered a new room to check out), and mock every single person that's ever been on that show? Because I'd love it! Happy hunting!

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  7. I love the way you write.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  8. You guys should totally be on an episode of House Hunters, y'all would be far more entertaining than some of the people. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to house hunt in Chicago. You list of wants seems entirely possible and I hope you guys find your dream (2 bath/parking included/in-unit laundry) home soon :)!

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  9. Yep, this sounds familiar. We just bought our first house this year and every single house was gone within 24 hours! I get the ice maker thing though, my husband was adamant that whatever house we bought MUST have an ice maker (which it does!)

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  10. Yes! Sport a different shirt for each house and then at the end when you "pick" the house you want sport another shirt.

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  11. Girl move back to Omaha! You can get a huge house for what you'd pay in Chicago!

    Her Heartland Soul
    herheartlandsoul.com

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  12. This sounds like house hunting in Boston. Real estate here is INSANE and in the part of the city where we live condos can be listed and sold wayyyy over asking price in less than a day. We own where we are now (fun fact: when my husband bought our place 5 years ago it had been sitting on the market for months and they had to drop the price multiple times. Now our area is the above situation) but I look constantly for when we eventually leave and want more space and the prices people ask for something that just needs to be completely gutted make me want to throw up.

    Ohhh city living. Good luck in your search! I'm a weirdly firm believer in "everything happens for a reason" so you guys will eventually find the right place at the right price. Promise!

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  13. Do houses come furnished with refrigerators there? Couldn't you just buy a fridge with an ice maker?

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  14. Um, Steven and I applied to be on House Hunters! So for real, send that producer guys phone number my way!!!! We lived with one bathroom for almost 14 months, there are plenty of things I could live without, never living without more than two toilets again.

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  15. Hahaha I love this post- everything you listed is high on my list. I also want a grill. Fresh grilled chicken, can you imagine!?

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  16. A friend was actually on last night's episode of House Hunters. The SF couple. It is super bizarre. You already need to be in escrow on a house before you can be on the episode. So misleading! It is all a set up!

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    1. ^^^ she is completely right! I've heard the same. There are also articles online about this. Ridiculous!!

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  17. I married into a home. Eric purchased a short-sale which took 9 months, but he was living with his parents (who am I kidding, he lived with me in my one-bed apt), his mom is a Realtor, and his dad is a building contractor. We got a 3-bed, 2-bath shithole for a SONG (and in NJ, that's huge) and he and his dad re-did the whole thing.

    This is not a humble brag. This is me telling you that if I didn't marry Eric, I'd still be paying WAY too fucking much for a 1-bed rental in NJ.

    My advice - become best friends with a contractor / someone who takes on projects and FOLLOWS THROUGH and get a house that you can fix up. Washer/dryer hookup is cake. Installing a tiny half-bath off the kitchen? Also super easy next to a water line. Budget for improvements and you'll be golden.

    Also? PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE!!!

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  18. It is crazy and scary but totally worth it! Hopefully you have a good realtor. Ours was my husbands friends wife. She was amazing. But yes, be patient but then make sure you have EVERYTHING (document wise) ready at all times. Our agent hooked us up with a loan specialist and while she was great, she would call or email randomly and need something that very day (within the hour if possible). It all worked out and we're still happy 9 months later! And drive/walk through the neighborhood 27 times before you make an offer. OH and last thing, get a home warranty. It lasts a year and covers all the appliances, etc in the house that are already there and if anything kicks the bucket you just pay a service fee. If anything is questionable (like the fridge or AC or anything of that nature) it's worth the peace of mind.

    Glad you aren't one of those crazy 'I hate this paint color' House Hunters. ;)

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  19. I'm a 33 year old single girl living alone in a home that I rent, and I often wonder how the hell my friends, all married with kids and pets, do it. Like, I can barely get my house cleaned on a regular basis and have time to do laundry and dishes and that kind of crap. I think giving birth must come with some kind of magic potion that makes you able to handle it all?? 'cause seriously, it's a mystery to me.
    The basement of my house is where I have to do laundry, and yes, it is also like the Upside Down. ick.

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  20. If it's any help- buying a help was like buying a wedding dress. When we found it we knew it was the one and all those overwhelming feelings were replaced with THANK GOD!

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  21. Holy shit girl. Move to Kennewick and you can have your own laundry room, THREE bathrooms, an ice maker (that's actually a non-thing in the real world??) and a driveway that can house twenty of your friends' cars on a Tuesday night. LIVING THE LIFE over here...

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  22. Oh and PS I watch House Hunters every single morning (from my home office with my own laundry room AND an ice maker) and EVERY time I watch, I think to myself, "are people on TV really this dull and BORING?" Like, how they act on that show CAN'T be how they are in real life, right? Because they are so vanilla and plain and stupid and dumb and it's like, if me and Rob were on there, we would walk into the master bedroom and he would be all, "yeah, this isn't big enough for me to throw you around and do all the crazy unforbidden sexual positions." Do the people on the show have to sign a contract to be so dang lifeless???

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    1. and by "unforbidden" I think I meant "forbidden" and I have now written three comments on your one post in the span of two minutes to I think I'll go bed now. After I make myself another drink with ice from my ice maker.

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  23. House hunting is so hard. I think the fact that you had a list of wants is perfect. people tend to either be too detailed or have no idea what they want. like me. in europe. We are currently looking at two ROOMS. and that does not mean bedrooms. please pray for us.

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    1. Tay and Helene - if either of you want to be on House Hunters or House Hunters International, I can hook it up! My hubby and I were on HHI and Tiny House Hunting (on FYI). See vids here: www.speakathometonight.com

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  24. Two bathrooms would be the best! We currently have two bathrooms for three people. I want a third (apart of a master suite) with a big ol' tub just for me! I'm not asking for much, right?! :)

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  25. Why is it that every time my stomach does "the drop"...my husband is in the shower. We're recently married and a girl is just trying to keep the mystery alive here. Thankfully, we're trading our 1 bathroom spot for a 2.5 bathrooms in a couple months. We're in Chicago too so I feel your pain and even though I'm tempted to try and push our newly listed place on you guys right now(garage! In-unit laundry! Ice-maker! Lakeview! Close to Wrightwood Park for Harlow!) I just can't advise the one toilet, newly married situation. We've been together for 4+ years but I still can't go to some levels ha. All that to say, love you, love your show - there's a vizsla in our neighborhood that often wants to kill our dog, Gary but it makes me think of Harlow and that makes me happy :).

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  26. I can't imagine living in a home that doesn't have a laundry, although the first flat Tim and I lived in didn't have one but we had a small twin tub washing machine in the bathroom and a clothes dryer as well. Also I find it strange that some places don't have a parking space but my brother has to park on the road so it happens. Two bathrooms would be a dream

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  27. Yes to two bathrooms! Although, honestly after being in one, I would just take a half bath if I could get it!

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  28. Having two bathrooms has saved our relationship! Okay, that is over the top and not at all true, but now that we have 2 we are NEVER going back to just one.

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  29. Please please do House Hunters. Looking for a house is hard. Everything in city areas are so damn expensive for a shoebox size house. I'm currently stuck out in the burbs because NYC is just so expensive for what I would like. Even the burbs are expensive & I still don't have things like a basement, or enough closets, or an entryway (our front door leads right into my kitchen table).

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  30. I can't wait to see how it goes because I am soooo intrigued by the Chicago housing market (renting sucks) but it just seems so difficult here!

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  31. The housing market is just insane, so I'd say if you can wait, that's probably tip #1! (I'll also preface this with a note that the majority of my family works in real estate, so I'm around it constantly.) Put 4-5 things on your "must have" list, which will make narrowing down properties a lot easier. I wouldn't make a decision based on the fridge- that you can change! But things like # of bedrooms or bathrooms is a lot harder and pricier to change. Have your realtor sign you up for email alerts so as soon as something goes on the market, you know about it. Stalk your favorite neighborhoods (in a nice, non-creepy way). And the perfect thing will come along! We must have looked at 20 houses that I thought all fit our criteria but it just didn't work for one reason or another, and I randomly came across an open house and said "why don't we just check it out" - to find out they were looking at offers 2 days later. We put in a bid, we won, and we have been there for 6 years! I looove our house, so it was def meant to be!

    Alyssa @ Feathers and Stripes

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  33. We are having much of the same issue in Indy. Stuff is selling before even hitting the market and above list. It's maddening. Good luck in your hunt, the right thing will along and you will know.

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  34. I've started browsing available houses and am seeing the same problem in FL with something being listed and sold within a few hours. In-unit laundry is LIFE CHANGING and I definitely agree with the need for a second bathroom!

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