As we got to the end of our one year lease agreement my fiancé and I began our search for a new place to live. The owner of the home had given us notice that she was intending on moving back into the home so therefore we could not renew our lease. We quickly discovered that finding a new place to rent was going to be difficult. You see, my fiancé and I have a few pets, most notably a great dane mix who weighs in at a featherlight 110lbs.
Most apartments in our area have very strict rules on pets. After renting a full house we were really just hoping to do the same. We went on the internet and searched for home rentals in our area and found that most homes do not allow pets. The ones that did allow pets generally only allowed dogs specifically, or cats specifically.
After finally narrowing down a handful of homes we were informed of the various weight limits and breed restrictions. Most homes would not accept any pet weighing more than 15lbs. The two houses I found that did not have weight limits, had breed restrictions. Furthermore Great Danes are aparently ferocious, while the only time ours shows it is when you take her spot on the couch.
We began looking at homes on Zillow.com and every once in a while we would drive by the properties and check out the neighborhoods. We put a list together of areas that we liked and where we would be willing to live.
The Guidelines We Set: First Home Wish List
Before going out and touring homes it is a great idea to put a list together of necessities and wants. It’s not all that different than setting a budget. As an example here is the list we started with when we began looking at purchasing.
- 2 Bedrooms
- 2 Bathrooms (or 1 Full and 1 Half)
- Close proximity to work
- 3 Bedrooms
- 2 Car Garage
- Large Backyard
- Solid School District
- Close Proximity to the Trail Systems
,No matter what you think house hunting is not as easy or glamorous as it is on tv. We ended up doing most of the work for our realtor and every week gave her a list of homes we wanted to look at. (And yes we eventually fired her). Some of the homes we went in were in unbelievable bad shape. There were homes that had their roofs caving in, slopped floors, and bathrooms in worse shape than those at a gas station. We weren’t against having a project, but the house had to be livable.
We Ended Up Purchasing the Home We Were Renting
After all of our house hunting we stumbled upon a interesting opportunity. Midway through our house hunting journey the owner of our home scheduled a time for a contractor to come over to quote some of the changes she wanted to make. Many were changes that I had already toyed with in my head. About a week later we got a surprising call. She wanted to know if we were interested in purchasing the home. The work she wanted to have done was quoted at over $40,000 and she was considering just purchasing a new home that had everything she wanted. I cannot recall how many times I swore to my fiancée that there was no way to convince me to purchase this house but after house hunting I had a different perspective.
The Biggest Benefits:
- We already knew all the problems this house had
- There were not going to be any surprises
- We loved the neighborhood
- It had a few of our wants and met most of our needs.
The day we closed on the house the property manager told us that in all his years of managing rental properties we were the first ones to actually purchase the home we were renting. He said that people only ever see the negatives of the rental homes. Due to that many of them go elsewhere and find issues shortly after they move in. While I was definitely not in love with it at the time, I could see the advantage of knowing all that I was getting ourselves into.
Check out: 18 Months of Homeownership