Over the summer when we were knee deep in house hunting, one of our agents asked us to consider being on House Hunters. We laughed and immediately declined the offer, thinking it would be ridiculous. She continued to drop hints here and there over the course of a few months, always with a wink and smile.
Our friends just bought their first home, and they were also asked if they would consider being on the show. We didn't feel as special anymore. I suppose a resident, his wife, and moving from out of town sounded very appealing to an agent.


Well, since we all know that House Hunters is filmed after the couple purchases the house, now would be the perfect time for our "return visit". (Wait, you didn't know that? So sorry to burst your bubble...bummer eh?!  Totally changed the way I watch the show now!)
Since I get a lot of questions about the house process, what we wanted, what we got, how we made decisions, etc etc. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to help answer them as we make our way into showbiz. By showbiz I mean this blog.

We looked at almost 100 houses in the Ann Arbor area. It stopped being fun around the 20th home tour. Truthfully, three houses doesn't even begin to cover the plethora of options and houses we looked at. But the show has rules people, must stick to 3! The three houses below are ones we did look at, including the one we choose :) All pictures are from the actual real estate listing.


Our script would look a little something like this:
 
The show would have started off with us walking up to our agent on a sidewalk in a neighborhood full of tulips and spring colors, and as we wandered we would have chatted about "our list":

3 Bedrooms
2 Full Baths
2 Car Garage
Fireplace
Large Yard (at least one acre)
Basement (finished or unfinished)
Good "bones"
 Around 1,500 - 2,000 sq. ft
Within 10 minutes to downtown area and hospital


Continuing with the shows pattern, we would see three houses, which may or may not fulfill our list.


House 1: "The Character Home on The Neighborly Street"

4 bedrooms
1 and 1/2 baths
1 stall garage
Great neighborhood and location
Clean basement, unfinished
1,300 sq. ft.
.2 acres


The living room had a lot of natural light, but this was the only communal space in the home.


That window seat had me at hello :)



The owner had turned one bedroom a "getting ready" space. They installed a sink and multiple storage units as there wasn't a closet in the room. We discussed the idea of knocking out the wall from the master to this space, and making it a walk-in closet and full bath.



Then, we would have had a discussion in the back yard of the home that would have gone something like this: 

Meredith: "I'm in love, it has the cutest curb appeal. Look at this street - adorable!, full of character and a very safe neighborhood. I could get over the 1 bath, and only 1 garage stall. We could built an entire edition over the garage. Yes, the yard is small, but Maizy is small too!"

Kyle: "There is only one garage, our neighbors are too close (they can probably hear us talking right now), way too small of yard, and only one full bath. I don't think "adorable" can trump those hunny."

Meredith: "Can't you see me walking babies up and down these blocks"

Kyle: "Can't you see everyone else through all of the neighbors windows?!"

Then, we'd talk about what we agreed on:
 
Agreed: Great relative location; we can walk to the stadium, multiple parks and the store. You couldn't hear the highway, which gives this home additional points! There's a big draw to not having to do a lot of renovations and having it "move-in-ready.


House 2: "Small ranch in upscale nieghborhood"

3 bedrooms
2 full bathrooms
unfinished basement
1,600 sq. ft
1 acre lot
Fireplace

We really liked this open layout from the kitchen to the fireplace area. Great for hosting!





Obviously the view was wonderful :)


Then, we would have had a discussion on the back porch of the home that would have gone something like this:

Meredith: "This is the location we love, and the yard is beautiful. The open kitchen/fireplace area layout is great, and that the master had a bath (however, quite small). I'm not crazy about the front of the house and lack of curb appeal, but we could fix that. I think it's completely overpriced"

Kyle: "Agree, we love this area, but it's overpriced. Great neighborhood, large lot, 2 car garage and little updates needed. Smallest house on the street which is great for retaining value. But it is small"

Then, we'd come to a conclusion:

Agreed: It's a small home. The 1600 sq foot included an unfinished basement, so the top floor was around 1,200 sq foot. The biggest issue: It was also severely overpriced. The owners had purchased it in the real estate bubble and were trying to regain some loss. Our agent estimated that it would appraise for around $50,000 less than the asking price. However great the street, you could hear the highway from the back porch.


{At this point, in real life, we NEVER thought we would be able to get everything on our list. For various reasons, from A2 not having large city lots, garages being hit or miss, the lack of homes on the market, the list continues.)

House 3: "2 acre ranch with privacy"

3 Bedrooms
2 and 1/2 baths
1,700 sq. ft
1600 sq. ft unfinshed basement
Fireplace
4 car garage
2 acres



 It was obvious that the owners had not updated or decorated since they built the home in '91.




The backyard was so peaceful!


Then, we would have had a discussion in the sunroom that would have gone something like this:

Meredith: "It's was a blank slate of things that we could update. I loved the yard and location,  Hate highly dislike the color of the home and lack of landscaping"

Kyle: "You're getting much better at seeing potential! I'm pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness, large rooms and layout (we didn't have high hopes for this house because the real estate photos were so bad!) We also have the fireplace and the basement that we thought we wouldn't get. Let's not forget, 4 car garage?!! 2 acres? YES & YES. {insert head nodding profusely}"

Meredith: "We're not buying a house based on a garage."

Kyle: "Man Cave!!"

Agreed: The home was in great condition as the owners built it and maintained it meticulously. It needed updates (such as the flooring), but nothing was mandatory in order to move in. Great "bones," with a great yard. Neighbors were close enough but far enough away, and the location was close to town and both of our workplaces. You also couldn't hear the highway!


WINNER: Surprise, Surprise! House #3 
(just humor me and say you didn't know)


Now, for the "Return Visit." 

The host would walk into the house after trampling through snow and slush, bundled in five layers of coats and hats:

We'd apologize because Michigan weather is so hormonal you don't know what you're going to get, then we'd talk about our purchase. We'd tell them that is is finally feeling like ours. We did major renovations (with lots of loose ends still to go), but all of the major work is complete. We are down to 3 color choices for the exterior, which will be painted this spring, and I'm in the process of planning the landscaping and front porch renovation.


Cue the music!


 



11 Comments

  1. haha this is awesome! When we were looking at homes our agent told us how fixed HH was and I have to admit...it did kinda break my heart a bit since I was easily hooked to the show!

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  2. What a fun idea for a post, and you would have been a perfect candidate for House Hunters - especially after all the work you have put it. It would have made for a great show, one I would have watched!

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  3. Haha, this is a hoot! It is a pretty darn formulaic show, but I still can get sucked into watching anyway... I was especially hooked on Property Virgins while we were house hunting though, because I felt like it actually had helpful tips, versus the House Hunters episodes where all the women annoyingly say "well, my clothes would fit in this ginormous closet, but I don't know where yours will go, honey!" Reality is: my house literally has 2 closets, for 3 bedrooms. They don't know how good they have it.

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    1. p.s. very curious to see how your new exterior color turns out! I would love to do ours...

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  4. So did not know they filmed it afterwards! Fakers!
    Anyway, excited to see what you do with the house!

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  5. I love this post! Maybe because I love house hunters?! Seriously I watch the show on repeat...it never gets old for me. I think it's mostly because I know we won't be owning a house anytime soon so I'm looking forward to the future and excited to see what the different marketplaces have to offer, ha. Great post! xx

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    1. I love the show too... it's so hard to not put on repeat! I'm starting to get into the International one too. Have you watched those yet? They always chose such dreamy locations haha

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    2. International is fun to watch too because yes the locations are unreal. But Its not as "real" for me so I think I continue to be in love with the original. So good though!

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  6. You were featured on House Hunters? That’s awesome! And it was also a great diversion from the supposedly stressful process. The tinsel town experience certainly added a twist to your house hunting. Choosing three houses from a hundred options was a challenge, but you were able to choose one that fits your criteria. Congrats, and I love the winning house! :]

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  7. A hundred? That’s a lot of house visits and viewing! Based from experience, house hunting can be tiring. And all the more when you have to mind how you will look in the cameras. :D Just kidding! But I’m glad that it is all over now. Now that you found “The ONE”, I think looking at 100 houses led you to your dream residence. You would’ve never found it if you stopped looking! Congrats anyway!

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  8. It was such an experience! Not only were featured on “House Hunters” but at the same time, you were able to find your dream house just like that. If I were to choose, I’d pick House #1 -- the one with a huge lawn.

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