House hunting

My wife and I are house hunting. Even though we presently own a mortgage on a little bungalow in Siloam Springs, this is the first time that we’ve actually house-hunted. We more or less fell into the house we live in now.

So I called an acquaintance — who happens to be a realtor in the town we figure we’ll end up in — and she sent us a list of 37 properties within the broad parameters I set: Between 50,000 and 78,000, a basement (which most homes in this town have anyway) sans mold or must for a clay studio, and at least two bedrooms. We would prefer an older home for the character and the location, that being closer to downtown.


Yes, this is a hideous room, but it’s also a great example of trim and built-ins that you won’t find in newer homes.

It was quite a chore winnowing the list down to 19 decent possibilities. Many of these listings don’t have interior photographs on their MLS internet listing making it difficult to levy any judgement. Of these 19, I suggested our realtor friend start by answering questions on the five best possibilities.

Of course, my own favorite wasn’t in the list that she sent me. It’s a little higher priced (when you add Nebraska’s insane property taxes into an escrow) than we really want at this point in life. And it might be under contract now anyway.

I remember hearing comments from some of my friends about the process of purchasing a home and how this was a “scary” proposition. I couldn’t empathize with them at that point, since we just “fell into” our current bungalow, and while the prospect of moving across states and sifting through home listings is certainly a chore it is also fun.

“Have fun!” our realtor wrote in her email to us. There is undoubtedly an adventure in the prospect of change, inherent in moving.


The glass block in this remodeled kitchen is a great idea.

We’ve found, though not to our surprise, that we both have certain aesthetic standards driving this search. There are practical homes that are affordable and there are cute homes that are affordable. Why would anyone choose the practical (read “boring,” or “uninteresting”) if the homes and neighborhoods are comparable?

Adding: We don’t have cable TV, but whenever we’re traveling we seem to catch some of the Home and Garden channel. At least one of the shows, probably more, teaches viewers how to stage a home for sale. Most of it seems like common sense to me: Clean everything very well, don’t leave projects unfinished, tend the yard. However, I guess it’s not always such sense. Some of the listings we’re going through violate all of these rules. Some of them have terrible colors, others horrid furniture and one photo even shows dishes in the sink and a clutter of magnets on the fridge — and the house is supposedly vacant! Such things are certainly a turn-off, even though we know in our heads the furniture doesn’t stay and paint is easy to change.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to House hunting

  1. tracie says:

    home owning, remodeling and decorating is an untapped art form in itself. we have learned a lot about beauty and light through our little gem. yes, have fun! check out some of these links for great ideas on decor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: