Prep Work

I consider myself an educated person, and I try to understand everything about what I’m getting myself into so I’ll be fully prepared for every possible outcome.  How hard could this be? I’d watched hundreds of shows on HGTV about house hunting & first time home buyers.  But just to be safe, I tested the waters by signing up on Trulia and checking out a few open houses before I started my official search.  I also picked up Home Buying Kit for Dummies from Amazon and felt I had a pretty good understanding of how this whole “house hunting” thing would work.

Before my first meeting with my Realtor, I had a loooong questionnaire to fill out about what I was looking for in a house.

  • What type of house was I interested in: house (single family), condo, townhome, garden home (what?), patio home (huh?)
  • What kind of kitchen countertops: formica (prefer not), granite (would love, not expecting), tile (ew), or wood (maybe if its butcher block…?)
  • Bedrooms: how many (3+) and on which floor, master on top floor, or all bedrooms on top floor
  • Baths: # of full (2+), # of half (1), separate shower, jetted tub, or non-jetted tub.
  • Yard: less than 1 acre (sure), more than 1 acre (probably not), landscaped (duh), trees (yes), shrubs

While I had a few must haves on my list, I was pretty indifferent about a lot of things.  I knew that I probably wasn’t going to get an updated house in my price point, and I really wanted a house in a great location with good bones; the cosmetic stuff I could work on over time.

I decided to focus my search on the area called “North Dallas” which is about 10-15 miles north of Downtown and in a good school district (important for resale!). Its also bordered by 4 major highways (75, 635, Dallas North tollway & President George Bush Tollway) so it would be great for easy access to anywhere. Plus, my office was on the west side of the perimeter so that means a shorter commuter & less money on tolls.

Search area for my house hunt.

Search area for my house hunt.

I decided I cared most about the location, room sizes & floor plan. With my house criteria nailed down, it was time to begin the search!

Apartment living is the worst!

In college, apartment living was the best! I shared a place with 3 pledge sisters in building of 5 units, of which 3 of the 5 housed my pledge sisters. Also, we were directly across from our sorority so we enjoyed endless cooked meals at the house & constant visits from our other 22 pledgesisters. It was like living in the sorority house without the rules of no alcohol or no boys upstairs.

After that fantastic final year of college, I spent the next 7 years in real world apartment living, and it was the worst.  I enjoyed loud neighbors, children screaming outside my door far too early on weekend mornings and often having to circle the parking lot look for a place to park.  The upsides were that my friends and the bars were within a mile or two from my place, and I had a spectacular view of downtown Dallas.

View of downtown Dallas from my apartment

After 6 1/2 years of dealing with rude property management and incompetent maintenance staff, I decided it was time to move into something I could call my own.  In the early spring of 2013 I began my house hunt.