House Hunting Update + What I Want In Our New House

Hey guys!

So I thought I’d give you all an update on our house hunting so far! We’ve only been looking at houses for about a month and a half but it seems like it’s been much longer. I mean, the process has been exhausting! Okay, that’s a little dramatic but it is definitely a daunting task. Especially in this Raleigh/Durham market *sigh* Let me explain…

As most of you guys know, Stephen and I live in Durham, NC. So we’ve been looking for houses in either Raleigh or Durham. We’re definitely open to either city, but we don’t want to move outside of either. Like, there are plenty of smaller cities right outside the area that are growing but we want to stay more at the city center so to speak. However, the market right now is such a sellers market that houses are literally sold within 24 hours which is super stressful. And when I say 24 hours, I mean 24 hours–that is not an exaggeration! So with that being said, one of the biggest decisions of your life has to be made within several hours of a house going on the market. Within that time frame you have to be able to see it and make an offer. STRESSFUL!

So far we’ve made an offer on two houses. The first house went on the market on a Saturday morning and they had a open house showing that afternoon from 2-4pm. I was at work but Stephen got to the house at 2pm and said there were literally 40 people already there ready to view it too. Long story short they were accepting best and final offers that evening and they had over 10 offers. Crazy. Apparently our offer was one of the more competitive ones which was encouraging to hear, needless to say we didn’t get it. The second house we placed an offer on actually had several offers prior to ours that the seller had turned down. And, well, they turned down ours too haha. With this second house, it was actually over priced by probably 15K. (which is why it was still on the market when we went to go see it). As much as we loved the house, we didn’t feel comfortable going up on our offer to what the sellers wanted so we we walked away. Stephen and I both decided it just wasn’t meant to be!

As we’ve been looking at houses though, what I originally wanted and what I want now has changed slightly. But first, here are some of my non-negotiables (these have always remained the same!) :

-NATURAL LIGHT. Okay, we all know how much I HATE our kitchen and apartment lighting–so good natural light in our future home is a must. Given all the work I do at home with photo and video I need good lighting. Our apartment is so dark naturally that even with lighting set ups it can be hard to take photos in. So yes, natural light is a necessity!
-3 bedrooms (and/or an office). In general, we’d love to have more space with moving from a apartment to a house. I think that is the mentality that most people have when making that transition. But at this point with my blog, we just need more space. We have two bedrooms right now, one of which we use for our office and we can never keep it clean or organized. Mostly because there are too many products and equipment (podcast stuff, cameras, lighting) and not enough space to store it all. In the new house we need to have a dedicated office space and then an extra room/bedroom for all of our work stuff!
-Open floor plan. I’ve discovered that I really don’t like houses that are super sectionalized. I like larger, open spaces where everything flows together. I don’t like a choppy floor plan especially when it comes to the kitchen and living room area.

Those are my non negotiables because in my mind, all other things can be changed. For example, I at first thought I needed an updated kitchen. But the more I thought about it, there’s no reason Stephen and I can’t renovate our own kitchen. Same goes for a bathroom. Putting in new countertops, cabinets, and flooring is totally do-able. Also, I hate carpet for example but that’s an easy fix. You tear up the carpets and replace them with hardwoods. I guess what I’m saying is that Stephen and I have discovered during this process that we wouldn’t mind taking on a few projects. I think it would actually be nice to put on our style into our house! Overall, I want a light, bright and airy feel. So with that said, as long as the house has that and those other non-negotiattbles we’re staying open minded!

Not that I expect to move into any of these mansion-looking Pinterest photos below haha, but I wanted to share some of my current inspo with you guys when it comes to interior styling ideas. As you can see, I definitely like brighter spaces and have a thing for colorful bohemian rugs! Ha. I also love white subway tile in bathrooms. Anyone else into any of these styling elements?

Is anyone else house hunting right now, or has bought a house in the past? What is/was the experience like for you? I feel like everyone says just be patient and the right house will come! Easier said than done though! 😉



  1. Taylor
    March 1, 2018 / 11:37 pm

    I live in Victoria, BC Canada, and our housing market is insane. My fiance and I purchased our 4 bedroom townhouse during a time of bidding wars a year and half ago. We thought we wanted new, in town, no work necessary. We ended up purchasing our townhouse which needs some love, but were incredibly unsure when putting our offer in. We decided to purchase an older home that was in town because it was what we could afford. It provided more space and it only needs cosmetic updates. Now that we’ve been there over a year, we love it, and are so happy we made the choice to purchase this home.

    • Claire Guentz
      March 3, 2018 / 9:25 pm

      It’s funny you say that because Stephen and I are kind of leaning towards that way now too. We feel kind of unsure of purchasing a house that needs updates but feel like it may be the better option. So it’s nice to hear you say that you are guys are happy you went that route. So glad that you guys found one that you love! 🙂

  2. LG
    March 1, 2018 / 11:59 pm

    My husband and I live in DT raleigh and had the same house hunting struggles, this market really is insane! Just as I was about to give up we found the perfect home and beat out 11 other offers. It’s frustrsting but what’s meant to be will find it’s way. Hang in there!

    • Claire Guentz
      March 3, 2018 / 9:26 pm

      it really is insane!! but that gives me reassurance that we will find one! glad you guys found the perfect one for you (and that your struggle is over! haha)

  3. March 2, 2018 / 2:55 am

    Good luck with house hunting! I’m a realtor in Baltimore and I know how exhausting it is because I do it day in and day out! Haha! Also, a couple tips from being in houses all the time… 1) Use dark grout for subway tiles to hide grime, especially in bathrooms. 2) Never let a wall paint color or the fact there’s carpet sway you away from a house! It seems like you already get this which is great. Then YOURE putting that value into the home! Best of luck love! The right house will Work out!

    • Claire Guentz
      March 3, 2018 / 9:27 pm

      all I have to say is that I am super thankful for our realtor! he has truly been amazing and has made the process a lot easier so I am so grateful for you guys! but those are some great tips. and yes, those cosmetic fixes can always be changed and I love the idea of us adding our personal style and value to the home 🙂 xx

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