Sunday, February 12, 2012

House hunting tales of woe

Another Sunday eagerly beckons at our day, full of hope and open house dreams. Checking the MLS listings, envisioning the possibilities, renovations, and decorations in a house you want to make your home. It’s an exciting day as you and your husband eagerly weigh the pros and cons of each property, while literally dragging two toddlers who can be angels or demons at each open house.

However, by the end of the day, dreams are usually dashed. Three of the four properties you saw are already under contract, with the first showing being just hours earlier. After countless hours of research and interviewing friends in the area in an effort to find the town that is a best fit for our family – how do people decide to buy a house after one showing? It floors me! In the areas we are looking, there is no housing slump to be seen. I personally can’t fathom spending our hard earned dollars and savings in a blink of the eye – I, at least, need a nights’ sleep to think about it and maybe a second opinion from a neutral party. My husband and I apparently take “too much time” – aka one extra day!

We have been looking over a year to no avail and just one rejected offer (which is actually not bad compared to our friends’ with multiple rejections). When we first purchased our current house, I walked in and knew it was THE ONE. Yes, it needed work, but it just drew me in and said BUY ME. I really haven’t had that AHA! moment yet.

Maybe part of that issue is the difficulty of having two year old twins who accompany you to an Open House. My husband and I take three approaches on “game” day.

First approach– one waits in the car and the other runs in and then we switch and compare feedback later.

Second approach - we bravely take the two into the house and hope they behave. I must say, on a typical day, the boys are usually well behaved, with some terrible two moments. But for some reason, when we go to an Open House, one of them turns into a crazy, misbehaving child who screams “no” and runs away from us. I have been so embarrassed that I have had to leave Open Houses in shame about the behavior of my children and as soon as we are in the car, they are back to themselves. Maybe that’s their way of telling us they didn’t like the house? Maybe that’s why my husband and I haven’t seen a house that screams BUY ME because we can’t actually finish seeing a house during an Open House?

Third approach – Open houses fall during nap time. So one of us stays at home while the boys nap and the other takes copious pictures and notes and emails them to other person in case they have any immediate questions.

This Sunday we are going to try a FOURTH approach – we are going to drop the boys off at a friends’ house while we go house hunting. It’s difficult to get coverage on a weekend, so this will be a treat. Our babysitter and friends are usually busy and we feel terrible about making our parents trek in from out of town to see one or two houses. For example, last weekend, we went to a house and were there maybe five minutes before my husband started having an allergy attack – so not worth arranging child care for the boys for that time.

Maybe today we can have actual conversations about a house and envision it as our home and most importantly, get that offer in before someone else! Wish us luck!


  1. We have had this issue with car shopping. Only option - take a day or two off work and go together while the kids were with their nanny.

  2. Hope you had better luck this weekend! I don't know how people buy after just one look. You can't take the time to look at every nook and cranny when you are at an open house that is for sure. How can you know from 5 minutes of walking through a house that it is the one for you? We came back to our current house three times (in the span of a week) before making an offer. Thankfully that was when M was only 4 months old and was easy to transport. Now I can't do anything without having her run away from me screaming!
    Good luck!

  3. Update - the new strategy worked! We saw the house two times in two days, they received multiple offers, and ours won! Inspection tomorrow.
    @Mommy, Esq. - I can completely relate to car shopping. We just a new car and it was too difficult for us to take the boys. We actually told my father what we wanted and he did all the car shopping for us. We just had to go and pick it up! We get creative as parents! :)