So, as if we didn't have enough going on in our life, Eric and I decided that we need to start looking for a bigger place: a house. To rent, not own. I preface this post by saying looking for a house to buy is obviously a different task, but all I've ever known was renting, so that's where my background and advice comes from. Let me also preface this post by saying: I hate looking for a place to live. When Eric and I first moved in together, we probably looked at 25 apartments, and boy was I spent! It was exhausting. The one we ended up in we looked at last, and we've loved living here. However, the road to get here was a bumpy one, full of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, confusion, and having to, well, you know...act like an adult. But, I got through it, and I'm headed out to do it again, so here's my tips on how to remain lovely when you're searching for a place to live.

  1. Do your research! It's confusing searching for houses/apartments and looking at listing after listing. We have a running pad of paper in the house strictly for real estate stuff. We make sure we list the address, amount of bedrooms, price, and realtor, for every place. In case one of us handles the phone call, and then the other, we both know where the pad of paper is and can access all the info. Along this line, make sure to look up the places you like! We always Google Map the houses, do a street view, research the town a bit; we've even driven by houses to see if we would even like the area. Most importantly, know what you're talking about when you approach the realtor. You should know which listing you're visiting and what exactly it entails so you can sound...

  2. Confident! Confidence is the key to house hunting. When we first started looking for an apartment, a while ago, I was new to the whole process. I didn't really, I guess you could say, get it. Eric was more experienced and would walk into a house and say, "Our couch could go here, our TV here..." I was always shy. However, that's what you have to do! Imagine yourself living there--uh, duh! Otherwise, how could you live someplace you've never thought of yourself living? (I just confused myself there). Something I had to learn was, it's OKAY to walk into a place and size it up! If it looks great, say it, and start picturing your life there. If something is a question, ask! If something is sketchy, say something about it. We looked at an apartment once in which the one drawer in the kitchen opened right into the fridge. Weird, right? I didn't say anything about it at the time, but I always wished I had. Also, remember my first piece of advice about doing research? Always ask things twice! I can't tell you this enough. People lie. People try to talk around their lies. Eric is a genius at this. He'll ask a question once ("Is there a lot of road noise at night?") and the person will say, "Oh, no, of course not!" So, he will rephrase it ("It seems to me on a busy street like this, there must be a lot of noise at night..."), and the person will start to crack, "Well, I mean, every busy road has road noise!" Get my point? Question everything.

  3. Go with your gut. I can't say this enough. Here's a true story. When Eric and I were first looking for places, we had a list of things we wanted and things we didn't want (do this, too!). One of the things we didn't want was to live in a basement apartment. However, we came to apartment number three, a pretty cheap basement apartment, which was brand new, clean, and well, cheap...which we liked. We liked it enough to put an offer on it (mistake #1). We were thinking with our beating hearts and not our heads (mistake #2). We were just so excited to move in together that we jumped on it. The realtor told us that someone else (another teacher, nonetheless!) also wanted the apartment, and we had to make a decision rightatthatverymoment! (looking back, I think that was a lie). Though something didn't feel right to us (I was a little wary of the area--so much so, in fact, that I didn't even want my mother coming to see it! Bad, bad idea; any house you have to hide is never the one for you!), we decided to go for it. We signed a lease (big mistake #3). Ta-da. We were thrilled. For about three minutes. Something didn't sit right with us. However, we pushed those feelings away and smiled and cheered; I even ordered return address labels for us (mistake #4). Eric sent photos of the house to his parents in Illinois; he called me and said that his parents saw something odd in the back of the house: a cell phone the backyard. Yikes! How could we have missed that? After doing a little research on living uh, 20 feet from a cell phone tower, we decided to forgo the apartment, lost money...but, we were really happy with our decision to not live there. Lessons learned: go with your gut, do not let anyone pressure you into anything, and take your time to make a decision! This time around we're taking it slow, and making sure we get a place which fulfills all our requirements.

  4. Be Strong: Looking for a place to live can get emotional! People are going to be difficult to deal with, places aren't going to live up to expectations, it's not always the easiest journey to take. But, remember to stay true to yourself--you will find something! The darkest hours are always before the dawn, and sometimes, in searching for a place, it seems never-ending and downright not-lovely...but, as long as you know what you want, are willing to put the work in, and give yourself time and think and breathe, you're going to come out a winner, and a winner in a great house, at that.
Any tips for house/apartment hunting?! I'm sort of dreading this time around, but looking forward to it at the same time! I'll keep you posted on what happens!

Photo by Hart and Sol Photo


  1. This was a great article, filled with terrific info..


  2. After apartment hunting and lots of let-downs, my best advice is to make a list of your "needs" and "wants" and stick to it as much as possible.

    I also wish I knew about when I was looking. It's a great tool!