For several months now, Trillian and I have been in love with a house in the town where we want to live. All we had to go off of was the MLS entry from Realtor.com and the handful of pictures posted there. Good size, walking distance to several schools, landscaped lot, attached sunroom, comfortably in our price range.
Trillian went with her mother and our realtor (who was recently my in-laws' realtor too) to check out a number of properties in that town and then sent pictures to me afterwards. Second stop--the house we had virtually fallen in love with. Trillian said her heart sank when they pulled up. So-so neighborhood, shabby exterior. House is currently uninhabited and is just plain dirty. That attached sunroom? The floor is not fully finished--it's a mix of concrete and gravel. And the walls are not glassed in; they're mostly a mix of screening/chicken wire and stapled up plastic. So that will not be our new home.
On the other hand, Trillian did see a couple houses that would work for us. And it's not like we're ready to purchase right at this moment, so we'll be monitoring the market for a while. Her trip out their tells us that we'll probably need to spend closer to the upper end of our range--but that's less than we've been pre-approved for, which itself is significantly less than the amount the bank would be willing to loan us, based solely on Trillian's salary (I do make a little money, but it's not really enough to make a big difference).
I still feel really good about this move; I know it's the right thing for our family for so many reasons. But, wow, it's intimidating to think about making such a huge purchase. I wonder if I would have felt the same if we had gone directly from owning our previous house to this next one?