When we first started the house hunting process, I shared a little about what was on our wish list. I thought it might be interesting to go back and compare that initial list to what we ended up with. We ticked a lot of boxes with this house, but we made some compromises, too. Obviously no house is perfect, but when I look at the comparison to the wish list, I feel like we did pretty well!
A Great Neighborhood | Kind of a Compromise
The neighborhood is a mile away from our target neighborhood. So it’s REALLY close, but not quite right on the money. It’s also not in a neighborhood that is booming due to the new beltline construction in Atlanta (even though we tried really hard to be… it wasn’t in the cards or the budget)! We are also right off of a busier street, which is not completely ideal. Luckily, our actual street is amazing, and all of our neighbors have been so kind and friendly and welcoming thus far! So even though it’s not right where we wanted, and it’s a little more suburban than we wanted, we are still in the city and in great company. Considering our small (for this city) budget, I feel really lucky that we got this close and didn’t have to go out to a neighboring city.
Historic (Looking) with Character | Kind of a Compromise
I wanted an old home SO bad. Apparently so does everyone else… dang it, HGTV and your amazing shows like Fixer Upper and Home Town. I blame Joanna Gaines and Erin Napier (but also, can I be best friends with you both?). I’m calling this one “kind of a compromise” because even though I didn’t get the old home of my dreams, I got a new-build craftsman with some really nice detailing like the tall, coffered ceilings and the board and batten dining room. With a few small tweaks, this home will have all the charm of an old home with some more modern conveniences (like indoor laundry right off the master… I am so pumped about this, you have no idea)!
Outdoor Space | Exceed Expectations
We wanted a small, manageable yard that we could enjoy and would give our dog some space to be off leash – something he has never had since living with us! This is exactly what we got, plus some. The backyard is small, but still big enough for Remi to run around. The front and back yard together won’t take much time at all to mow on the weekends (much to Jon’s relief!), and we got several happy surprises when we walked around the house the weekend after we closed, including peony, hydrangea, and rose bushes AND a peach tree. I’m pretty excited to share peaches with my new neighbors this summer.
Semi-Open Floorplan | Accomplished
I talked before about not wanting a completely open floorplan, and I feel like our downstairs is the best of both worlds. The living, kitchen, and dining rooms all have their own, distinct feel, but they are technically open to each other. There is a cut out between the kitchen and the living room that I hated at first (to be honest, I think cut-outs like that look totally kitchsy), but now that we’ve been in the house more, I love that I can look out the front windows of the home while I’m at the kitchen sink.
2+ beds/2+baths | Exceeded Expectations
We got three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and a half bath. We will have plenty of space for family and friends to stay and not be on top of each other. Plus, if we decide to grow our family, we will have several good years in this house before we will need any more space!
A Fireplace | Accomplished (and can’t wait to change it!)
This was my one frivolous request… and I’m SO GLAD I stuck to my guns. Many of the historic houses we looked at (and put offers in on) had fireplaces that weren’t working and would costs thousands to get up and running. Our house has a wood burning fireplace with a gas starter (I didn’t even know that existed!) and I’m super pumped to use it in the fall and winter. The tile on the fireplace leaves a little to be desired, but I’m 100% okay with that… I’ve already got tile samples on order to replace it!
A little work, but livable day one | Exceed Expectations
We spent all of the first weekend of home ownership cleaning and painting (with the help of my parents). We completed one room, and I say “completed” hesitantly because the room was painted white and now the ceiling looks SO DINGY. I’m 99% positive we’re going to go back and paint the ceiling, and 100% positive we’re going to paint all of the interior doors. Realtors on House Hunters are always saying that paint is an easy fix (and trust me, it is probably one of the simplest, least expensive ways to make a HUGE transformation), but don’t confuse simple with easy. Painting (if you are doing it yourself and doing it right) is a long process and a lot of work. I imagine I will be painting every weekend from now until we move in (and probably for several weekends after that). The list of projects that I have created for this house (even though it was 100% move in ready) is pretty heafty… I can’t imagine what it would be like to move into a home that actually NEEDED a renovation (as opposed to ours situation where the changes we are making are self imposed).
No garage – I know this wasn’t on our wish list, but it would have been really nice to have… it was not a deal breaker for us by any means, which is probably why we didn’t end up with one. We asked if we could add one, and we can’t. Not a huge deal, but something to note. This may be a negative resale value item considering all of the other houses in the neighborhood have them.
Bigger house = bigger taxes – Even though I love that we have so much space and can grow into this house, the taxes in our area are not cheap. And the more house you have, the higher they go! I had major, MAJOR sticker shock when I saw what our tax bill was probably going to be. Luckily this will go down a little with a homestead exemption that we can claim in about a year, but still. The difference between our monthly payment for our house and rent is pretty much ALL taxes.
How do you think we fared? What compromises did you make on your first home?