Aloha Friday: Imaginary House Hunting

It’s time for another Aloha Friday, the day that you take it easy and look forward to the weekend, in Hawaii and blog land anyway. As you should know by now, over at An Island Life, Kailani decided that on Fridays she would take it easy on posting and ask a simple question for you to answer. Nothing that requires a lengthy response.

If you’d like to participate, just post your own question on your blog and leave your link at An Island Life’s blog. Don’t forget to visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

So one of my favorite hobbies is imaginary house hunting. I figure I’m doing something to stay familiar with the housing market, hone into what types of houses my husband and I like… and well it gives me something to fantasize about. Between our recent unemployment stint, the move to Wisconsin, the new baby and my upcoming dental needs I really have no idea how long it’s going to take us to save up a decent down payment although we do have the advantage of having excellent credit and no debt to speak of – point is – I don’t know when we’ll be buying the house of my dreams, but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming.

Last weekend we went for a drive through our neighborhood, checking out the houses I’d found nearby that were for sale, in our imaginary price bracket, that I liked from what I could tell in the pictures on Trulia.com. We’ve found quite a few drool worthy houses or houses that we liked enough to say, “Sure that’s a really nice house,” but this weekend we found It. The House. The place I want to raise my children. The backyard, oh my god, the backyard. We couldn’t stop talking about our little fantasies of what our lives would be like there – Dan cooking on the grill that would be on or near the gorgeous little patio – our children playing in the beautiful little garden that trailed the fenced in perimeter of the yard – and of course me, sipping some lemonade or iced tea while reading a book or blogging on the imaginary lap top I don’t own. It was perfect.

And from what I could tell of the pictures, the inside is perfect, too. Drool worthy kitchen, good lighting. And the curb appeal is nice, too, complete with a cute little front porch with a picturesque bench by the front door. It’s everything we want and if we HAD a price, the price would be right. If we could fast forward two years or so, giving us time to re-save up a down payment… and the house magically stayed on the market… Point is – I want it. And that makes me a wee bit heart broken because I know the odds of it still being for sale are slim. Now I’m sure there is something wrong with this house – there is something wrong with every house, but still. This is my fantasy and in my fantasy, it’s The House. So I’m in mourning for it because I’m 95% sure we’ll never own it.

The nice thing is my husband and I are getting good at spotting the types of houses we would both like and we know what we both look for in a home. The two first things I look at in a home are the kitchen and yards and I’d venture to say it’s the same for Dan. Anyway, my questions for you this week are:

  • What are the most important things to you when looking at potential homes? What do you look at first?
  • Do you have (or have you ever had) a The House – the one you would drop everything to move into if it were feasible?
  • Do you imaginary house hunt, too? Or maybe imaginary vacation shop? I do that, too. 🙂
  • If you were going to buy a house today, how much of a down payment would you ideally want saved? What do you think a bare minimum acceptable down payment would be?

6 Comments

  1. What are the most important things to you when looking at potential homes? What do you look at first?— Like you I look at kitchens and yards- both are a huge huge deal to me

    Do you have (or have you ever had) a The House – the one you would drop everything to move into if it were feasible?- The house I grew up in! If I won the lottery today I would seriously go and offer cash for the place. (except ive heard the knocked down the wall between my brothers and parents room)

    Do you imaginary house hunt, too? Or maybe imaginary vacation shop? Yeah- everytime we drive by a place that is for sale I imagine just being able to buy it and live there and what our yard would look like.

    If you were going to buy a house today, how much of a down payment would you ideally want saved? What do you think a bare minimum acceptable down payment would be?- I’d say $10,000

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  2. # What are the most important things to you when looking at potential homes? What do you look at first?

    Location.. I refuse to fall in love with a neighborhood full of ghetto kids and party animals. I need some sanity in my life! My second thing…. front porch. I am a frond porch freak! I love wrap around porches, porch swing accessibility and a happy place for sun tea and friends. I am a southern girl at heart.

    # Do you have (or have you ever had) a The House – the one you would drop everything to move into if it were feasible?

    Yes. I still do… I love this house. Lots of land, perfect landscaping, beautiful exterior with an equally wonderful interior. It’s my boyfriends parents house. I love this place!

    # Do you imaginary house hunt, too? Or maybe imaginary vacation shop? I do that, too. 🙂

    I do… I love to go “house shopping”. Look at model homes, etc.

    # If you were going to buy a house today, how much of a down payment would you ideally want saved? What do you think a bare minimum acceptable down payment would be?

    I would want about 30K. At least. It would help a ton

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  3. I always look for @ least 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 or 3 baths, large kitchen, large yard, spare room for Hubby’s office & storage room which we really didn’t get w/ this one.

    I imaginary house hunt all of the time! Especially to places that aren’t HERE!

    We typically use VA loans which mean we don’t have to put money down. We do however make sure that we’ve got money for things like new blinds & sometimes new appliances.

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  4. It must have a basement, garage, central air, two stories, minimum 3 bedrooms, and about 20% down would do it.

    I think you can get a special loan for 3% down but I can’t remember if it’s for first time buyers or just a special loan arrangement with points. We did that on our first house but we’ve gone back to the standard 20% conventional mortgages since then.

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  5. As you know, we recently finished our real-life house hunting, but I imaginary hunted for years beforehand! My criteria: 1. yard for kids to play in 2. at least two bedrooms, with space to add a third and fourth, 3. at least one car garage, 4. in our price range. Those were the major things. We were thrilled to get a house that had a whole bunch of updates like roof, windows, central air, siding, but also has neat features that are common in old houses, like a built-in bookshelf and original wood floors and woodwork. We were very lucky to get our house! It was definitely THE house for us. After looking at it, we didn’t feel like shopping around for anything else.

    Down payment: my advice is to call around to banks in your area and ask them that question. The loan officers are very helpful and knowledgeable, in my experience. Just make sure to shop around! Some loans don’t require a down payment, and some require up to 20%. You could also look around for grants or programs that help with down payment. That’s what we did. We only had to come up with $1000 and the rest of the 20% was provided by a local non-profit as a deferred, no-interest loan. It doesn’t have to be payed until (if) we sell our house someday.

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