our house hunting experience & home must-haves vs. must-adds

We’ve officially lived in our house in Nashville for one month! It’s definitely been a whirlwind couple of weeks/months, but also very exciting! I am planning to share a lot of our home updates here on my blog and of course on my Instagram, but before I do that, I want to take a quick step back and share about our house hunting experience. I recently learned about Opendoor, a company that makes it wayyy easy to buy (and also sell) your home, and I wish I’d known about Opendoor a few months ago!

We technically started house hunting in the middle August and the entire process moved very quickly. We were visiting Nashville for work, before a family vacation to Charleston, so literally had one day (Saturday) to look at houses. We worked with a realtor, who arranged for us to look at five houses in East Nashville on that Saturday morning. Unfortunately, that was the only day we could look at the houses, because the realtor couldn’t get us showings earlier in the week and I had an early Sunday morning flight out. Also, a lot of houses we wanted to look at weren’t available to view on that particular day. Since we were looking at houses so last minute, and in a limited time frame, the options seemed pretty limited. We didn’t really love any of the houses we looked at initially, and felt like if we went with one of these houses, we would be compromising too much. Of course, with many life decisions, including buying a home, there are compromises, BUT these houses felt like the cons were really outweighing the pros.

LUCY’S ROOM

We went to lunch, discouraged, but then Eric saw a house pop up on a real estate app that looked promising. We texted our realtor and thankfully, we were able to visit the house an hour later to check it out — we were the first people to see the house! We put an offer on the house that day, even before they were able to host an open house. ✨ There were some small kinks along the way from the offer to closing BUT we closed the first week of September and the house was ours! We officially moved in on October 4th!

We got lucky, and were able to find our house and view it in a very short window of time, but that is not usually the case. Enter – Opendoor! This company makes the buying and selling process a lot easier. For buyers (like us), they have an “All Day Open Houses” feature on the Opendoor app, so you can go visit houses on your own schedule and unlock the houses from the app). This would have been so helpful for us, since we had such a tight timeframe for house hunting and would have happily looked at houses on our own schedule, including during off hours (the “All Day Open Houses” feature allows you to view houses between 6am – 9pm). For sellers, you can actually sell your house directly to Opendoor in a matter of days — and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of listing your house, showing your house and dealing with a lot of back and forth (from annoying buyers, like us!) 😆

OUR BEDROOM

DINING ROOM

Okay, now that I’ve shared about our house hunting experience, I wanted to share a bit more about what was on our personal “must-haves” list. And then, once we found our particular house, what was on our “must-adds” list to modify the house to fit our wants and needs. As I mentioned earlier, unless you have unlimited budget, you will have to compromise on something (whether buying or renting!) and it’s important to know what your absolutes or “must-haves” are and from there, you can figure out what you want to tweak and modify after you move in (your “must-adds”).

On our MUST HAVE list when house hunting:

  • Good, natural lighting
  • Wood floors
  • Neighborhood that we like
  • Walkability to parks, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.
  • At least 2 full bathrooms
  • At least 3 bedrooms
  • Backyard (ideally fenced in)
  • CHARACTER / not new construction
  • JUST FEELS RIGHT ✨

On our MUST ADD/FIX list for house new house:

  • Paint! The front few rooms of the house were technically painted white, but I found that the white had too much of a yellow-y undertone, which made the rooms feel dark. In the first month of living here, we (my mom, dad and Eric) painted the entry room, living room, our bedroom and our dining room. I opted for a really bright white – Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore. We painted a statement wall in our dining room and I LOVE it. It’s Planet Earth by Valspar.
  • Fixing Floor Trim —  Whoa. This was definitely on the very top of my must add/fix list. The wood baseboards feels very dated, and I wanted this to be painted asap. When we painted the floor trim, the rooms immediately looked and felt bigger and much more modern. For now, we are opting to *not* paint all the wood trim — we kept the trim around doors, windows and fireplaces in order to preserve the character and not overly modernize the 100 year old house. We might change our mind, but for now, this feels right.
  • Lighting — there are some reallllly funky lighting choices in our new house, so we currently are in the process of swapping out lights in most rooms for new chandeliers and pendant lights. Lights are EXPENSIVE, so swapping out the lights will be “a little bit at a time” project.
  • Fixing Wood Floors Upstairs — there are two rooms upstairs (one is a den, one is a guest room for now) and in one room, the floors had been painted a dark brown, which was…not great. 🤨 Since we technically owned the house for a few weeks before we moved in, we had someone come in and strip the paint off the floor and refinish the wood floor upstairs. 
  • Refinishing Wood Floors Downstairs — the front four rooms of the house have original wood floors, which is amazing, but they are also in pretty rough shape. It’s not super urgent, but eventually, we’ll need to get these floors refinished.
  • Kitchen + Bathroom Fixtures — the bathrooms and kitchen are updated, but eventually (not urgent) I would like to swap out the hardware and finishes so they are more aligned with my style/aesthetic. 
  • Unglamorous Stuff — installation upstairs, plumbing tweaks, new laundry, etc. All of this stuff isn’t glamorous or sexy and you don’t have anything to tangibly see after you fix, BUT super important to do. There are several projects in this last category that we are tackling asap.

ENTRY ROOM

We are really, really obsessed with the house we ended up with. While it’s not at all perfect and there are things about the house that annoy me, the good far outweighs the bad. When I re-read through our “must-haves” list, our house really did check everything off the list. I love how the living room and “master” bedroom are connected by charming sliding doors. It reminds me so much of our tiny San Francisco apartment, and while it’s not a traditional ~*master bedroom*~ layout, it really is perfect for us. When I first saw the little kitchen nook (pictured above), I immediately felt like our house was right — I could picture us all sitting there together. I’m actually sitting there right now, with Jack right next me as I type this! I love how the natural light pours into almost every room in the house at different times of the day.

We’ve done a lot of updates from our “must-adds” list already in the month we’ve been here! We’ve spent a lot of time and money to make the house feel more “us.” It’s really amazing what fresh paint and new curtains will do! Decor wise, the house is still a big work in progress — the walls are still bare, we are still shopping for rugs and dressers and a couch and several other items. We are taking our “must-adds” list one step at a time. ✨

Thank you so much for reading and thank you to Opendoor for partnering with me on this post! You can read more about Opendoor here! Stay tuned for more home-related blog posts and photos. 🏡

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