DH and I started house shopping this fall- first time home buyers.
The market in the city we live in is pretty hot and house prices in the area have gone up substantially in the past 1-2 years. We are looking outside the city- we want property- so the houses do tend to sit longer, but the prices are still high.
We've been pre-approved for a good amount, but it's coming down to what do we actually want to spend on X house. DH is pretty flexible on where we live- he's prepared to move 1-2 hours away to find more house on a farm-like property if it's cheaper in the budget. He travels a lot for work anyway, and can work from home if he wanted. Me- I work in a hospital, currently at a regional trauma centre, which is where I want to be right now. I can work in a variety of places with my profession, but I *want* to be in a regional centre and learn all that I can. We also lived in Edmonton for some years, and when we moved back home, we left behind a great group of friends- I don't want to move "away" again and not see our friends that live here. Part of the reason to moving back here (which is our hometown), in addition to DH's job offer, was so when we have children, they can grow up with their grandparents and cousins close by. So I've got pretty strong feelings on how far I'm willing to move. If we consider going 40-60mins east of the city, we can get a lot more property (maybe more house) for the same amount of money, but I really prefer the area south/west of the city- which of course is the more expensive area.
We've seen 10 houses in person so far. We've seen a few nice options, but there's usually something that makes us say "nah!"- either the house is a bit small with not much option to add on to (such as a house not having a basement that could be renovated into additional living space), or the price is over our ideal budget (we are prepared to go over for the right property) and the house hasn't been updated since 1978.
Anyway- so we did find a house we quite like. It's not perfect- outdated, needs new windows throughout, would be nice if it were a bit bigger, but I can see us living there and it has potential. Structurally it looks good, there is a large basement that could be renovated, or we could consider an addition. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. 2 car attached garage with a separate large pole shed on 2.5 acres and hardly any neighbours around, except for the house across the road. Good location- close to the highway, and close to my horse(!). But we think it's overpriced. We put in an offer today, for ~55K less than asking (and they've done a price drop already), which of course they didn't take. They countered with a number that is about $15-25K more than we'd like to pay, so we let the offer drop and we'll consider a new offer if it's still for sale in a week or so- they're ideal closing date is less than a month away, so we may have some leverage there.
But gah! I'm pulling myself in two directions. Part of me is very matter of fact, I don't want to pay more than $X for the house. Essentially to make the house everything we'd want it to be, we would need to renovate the entire house (update kitchen, bathrooms, flooring and finish the basement with home office, guest bedroom, bathroom)- which is fine, and that would be done over a period of time, but we also don't want to max out the budget to do so. We also aren't in a rush to buy, so I always wonder "well what if the perfect house comes up next month...". But then the other side says, but it's a good location! Nice property! Close to your horse! In the budget! And what if someone else buys it and you never find anything else you like quite as much!
So for now we go back to the drawing board and we wait...