A boy (or a ninja) can dream


I got the blessing from Girl Ninja to buy a house! Keyword there is, “a”, as in one specific house. Only problem is, said house is not for sale :(. Here is a satellite shot of the not-for-sale house that I would like to buy….

According to Zillow my dream house is valued at $266,000 and is a 3 bedroom 950sq/ft shack. How you fit three bedrooms in a 950sq/ft space is beyond me, but that’s beside the point. The house is tiny, old, and definitely nothing Girl Ninja and I dreamed about. So what makes this tiny abode so awesome that it causes me to salivate at the thought of it going up for sale?

How about the 21,000+ sq/foot lot the house stands on? Or how about the fact that the lot has full, 180 degree, unobstructed views of Puget Sound? Or how about the fact that the houses immediately next door are valued between $407,000 to $637,000 (look at how much larger they are on the map)? The long term perks of buying this property (sweet view, huge lot, cheapest house in neighborhood) far outweigh the short term downfalls (living in a 950 sq/ft space until we can afford to add on).

For me, buying a house we will be a “head” decision. Excel spreadsheets, real estate websites, and mathematics will be my guide. I’ll be looking at recent sales in the neighborhood, price per sq/ft of the house and lot, maintenance costs, etc.

For Girl Ninja, however, buying a home will be a “heart” decision. She looks at a house and thinks “Does this feel like home?”, “Is it cute?”, “Do I like this more than the other places I’ve seen?”

We both have the same goal; own a home, but our process to get there is quite different. Objectivity vs. Subjectivity. PF Nerd vs Free Spirit. Man vs. Woman. Even though this purchase is likely months (or even years) away, it’s never to early to start thinking about what’s important to the other person.

Did you or your significant other differ on what matters most in a house? What were some of your non-negotiables? What were some of theirs? (single people and non-home owners can answer these questions too!!!)

29 thoughts on “A boy (or a ninja) can dream”

  1. When we bought our house in 2001….we looked at dump after dump. We were just about to raise the amount we were willing to pay when we found this house. For us, we wanted at least 3 bedrooms (figured us, future kid, guest room), and by the time we were ready for kid 2, we would be ready to move. Then life happened, and we had twins! We are still here.

    We wanted something with a decent yard, some quaint charm, no structural issues. 10 years later….I want a dishwasher, a bathtub I can actually take a BATH in, some counter space in the kitchen, and air conditioning!!!

    • Mysti, your 2nd paragraph describes our list of non-negotiables when we start house-hunting again next spring!

  2. Haven’t bought a house yet, but high on my list of must-haves is a walk-in pantry. I need a place I can store my couponing deals! High on DH’s list is a dishwasher 😎 We got married less than a year ago and are in our first apartment which has an awesome location, awesome price, and awesome landlord. Yet it is less than 350 square feet with no pantry and no dishwasher. Yes, we built a queen size loft bed because we need the under-the-bed storage. Yes, when we hear other couples talk about “their first apartment…it was so tiny at 550 square feet…” we chuckle. I think it’s a blessing to start out with a tight budget in a small space because everything after seems like an improvement!!!

    On a side note buying a home for both “head” and “heart” reasons makes it an even better investment, since people everywhere (ie your future buyers) will buy your house from you based on both head and heart reasons. So a house that “feels homey” will also have more re-sale value, which is a good objective reason to get it 🙂

      • Unless a person puts 100% cash down for their home, they don’t own anything. They rent it from the mortgage company or bank.

  3. Since you are the data-digger in the relationship, I’d found who owns all that land to the west between you and the sound. What once was an obstructed view could turn into a nice view of a hotel. Also learn what kinds of trees are in that forest and how much taller they can grow.

  4. We JUST talked about this last night. I’m newly married and looking to buy a house in the next year. Apparently my husband wants more than one bathroom. He also wants low maintenance, which could be a problem since I want an older home. I’m thinking we’ll compromise and get a low maintenance YARD, or maybe an older home someone else has done a lot of improvements on (if we can afford it).

    I would prefer a smaller home in a nice neighborhood. As my husband said, “I want neighbors, but I don’t want to be right on top of them.”

  5. At the risk of sounding shallow, I have always wanted a walk in closet…or an extra small bedroom that can be turned into a closet. 10 foot ceilings would also be a bonus.

    I love the property this house come with just amazing. And I cannot believe what a good value that is, I live in Canada, and it would be much much more here.

  6. Well we wanted room for 3 ninja’s to grow – we norrowed it down to 2 homes and did the let’s go back and look at night drive by’s…..one of them had an amazing view of these really bright lights (we had not lived her long) and we found out that those bright lights were a nice little building known as the PRISON…..so we went with the other one.

  7. When Hubby and I bought our condo 8 years ago, we chose it because it was in a great location, super close to both jobs and relatively mainenance free (the beauty of condo fees = no snow shovelling or cutting the grass). 2 BD,/1.5 Bath, 1200 sq. ft condo suited us perfectly. Now, we’re ready to move up 1 step on the property ladder to a townhouse. List of non-negotiables are:
    – Central A/C!
    – 2 BD + finished basement (or 3 BD and unfinished basement)
    – Minimum 1.5 Bath
    – Slightly larger kitchen and extra counter space
    – Dishwasher
    – Reasonably close to work (30 minute commute or less)

  8. I happen to own a house that is about 1000 sq ft, with 3 bedrooms. They aren’t exactly spacious, but it works beautifully as a starter home. Currently, we have tenents living there, 2 adults, 3 young children, and a large dog. I don’t know how they all fit!

    My non-negotiable is a good kitchen with lots of counter space. My husband insists on a garage, or at least a driveway. Also, I think we are both agreed that from here on out, it has to be a house, not a condo or townhouse, but a detached single family home. No more attached neighbors, no more shared parking!

  9. When hubby and I were first married we weren’t planning to buy a house anytime soon, but we went to open houses a lot of weekends. It was fun, and we got an idea of what we really did like or not like. We had nebulous ideas before that, but after touring through 8 or 10 houses, we started to have a better understanding about what each of us liked, and we came to some agreements. I highly recommend going to open houses for several months to a year before you start looking to buy. Even if it’s a house you think you’d never want to live in, or in a section of town you hate, it still helps solidify your ideas of what you like and you can make better decisions when you are ready to buy.

  10. Got the scoop on your dream house: “It’s an old lady who’s been there forever. She’s not going anywhere.” But who knows…keep your eye on it!

    My dream house has a wisteria, so that can really be added anywhere.

  11. You could convince Ninja Girl that with all the land around the house you could always expand on the 950 sq. ft. house in the future. Just a thought that could sway her opinion of the house being “too small.”

  12. When it came time for our second house (8 years ago), we knew we wanted to stay in the sameish area of the city. My condition — it had to be 1 block to the park system (we’re blessed with a wonderful park/pathway system here….I swear most people don’t realize it exists!). Hubby’s condition — garage (had enough of on-street parking during the -30C winters!)

    We ended up with a house which at 1960ft2 is really too big for the three of us. (The first house was 604ft2….we built an addition to up it to 860ft2 after the baby came.) I suspect we will not be moving…..we’re conviently located to just about everything, and I’m a 10 minute walk from my parents, both in their 70s.

  13. That Zillow price is inaccurate. The land should be worth more than that.

    I’ve been house hunting FOREVER. Apparently, everything is non-negotiable to us otherwise we would be in a new house already. Sigh. In order of importance, price, location, 3 car garage, kitchen with sink in the island and a vent hood that vents outside, master bath with separate vanities and a shower big enough for 2 :), NO fireplace (in Las Vegas that’s just stupid), a great room where I can watch tv from the breakfast nook and kitchen, and single story or if two story laundry room upstairs. Spec wise, I would like a 4 bed 2.5 bath home around 2500 sq. ft.

  14. Our non-negotiables are location (must be in walkable neighborhood with lots of services around), size (needs at least 2 bedrooms & 1.5 bathrooms), and kitchen related (needs room for dishwasher, must have gas stove; I cook a lot!). These are all reasons why we’re not buying anything anytime soon, if ever, since the combo leads to some seriously high prices.

  15. My non-negotiables included a renovated kitchen (ideally with granite & stainless appliances, which I managed to find), a good deal (read: foreclosure), in a safe area, and ample windows. I tell everyone that I hit the foreclosure lottery because I found all of this and more in a 2BD/2BA, 1,500 sq. ft. condo for less than 245K. It needed some serious cosmetic work, but I love doing that stuff anyway. My future list will include all of these things plus closet space–that’s what I’m currently, sorely lacking.

    BTW, nice find on the dream pad–you’ve got the right idea! I bought in the area I’m at because I know it’s undergoing a huge gentrification right now. A few years from now, I should be sitting pretty given the increased appeal of my zip code. Although, if that doesn’t happen, no worries because I love my place and already got a hell of a good deal.

    Good luck with the search when you officially decide to begin it!

  16. My dream house will be one off the electrical grid on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean in southern California. The only problem will be the cost! My wife and I usually are pretty good at compromising and finding homes that meet our needs.

  17. Location, location, location! We had our house built in a suburb about 35 miles from downtown. In doing so we were able to get more house for our money with the upgrades we wanted for about $100,000 less than if we bought closer to the city. We paid less than $200,000 for our home decked out. A comparable house closer to downtown is $300,000-$400,000. The trade-off is my daily commute to work and the 30 minute drive on weekends to go do anything. Oh wait, that is a plus as we are now focused on paying down debt and not going to dinner or the movies every night!

  18. Ninja, if your Google-Fu is strong enough, you can find out almost every detail about that house (or any house) through the auditor’s website. Just Google “county name here” auditor or “county name here” property records.

    Where I live, I can find out how much someone paid for a house, view a rough floor plan, and see what the home is actually valued at. Definitely a useful tool for someone looking to buy, or just creep. 🙂

  19. The next house – non-negotiable is location! I am NOT retiring in this city. It will be within 100km of a mid-sized city, but not closer. Second: It will have the huge kitchen with double ovens (like I used to have 4 houses ago), and 2 bathrooms and a minimum of 2 acres of land. I’m not fussy about # bedrooms or other things, but the HUGE kitchen with good quality ovens, counter space, double sinks, and lots of cupboards is an absolute must. Until then, my teeny tiny itsty bitsy galley kitchen with no counter space will have to do, and DH and I will continue the complicated ‘dance’ necessary to create our meals – as we both love to cook, it gets mighty crowded, and opening cupboards is a high risk adventure as they are stocked to the brim with every conceivable pot/pan/spice etc.

  20. Surrender now. Seriously, you are going to lose anyways. You think you want the house that is undervalued, with appreciation potential, etc, etc. You don’t. You want the house your wife likes with the most reasonable commute. Trust me.

  21. Believe it or not, my biggest non-negotiable was an attached garage. I grew up in Buffalo snow and then moved to the Midwest to deal with crazy spring down pours. I want to walk in and out of my house DRY.

    My hubby wanted a “man cave” — either a full basement (preferably finished) or some additional family room.

  22. I’m actively home shopping now.

    Must haves:
    3BR or 2BR+office
    High ceilings
    A porch and enough yard to have a garden
    Walking distance to public transportation and commercial area

    It’s really hard right now. Sellers are scared and just not putting anything on the market. What’s out there is run down, without the run down price tag.

    Here’s hoping things pick up after Labor Day. The pregnant wife does NOT want to live in our rental for another winter…

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