3 ways to cope when you didn’t get the home you wanted

Guest post by Morgan Culture

Roll the dice and hope you get lucky with that house. But just in case you don’t, here are some tips. (Photo by: Images MoneyCC BY 2.0)
My partner and I just bought our first house. We love it; its unusual details and weird secrets fit us perfectly. However, we didn’t get the first four we tried for, and we almost didn’t get this one at least 372 times throughout the process.

I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster where I had to constantly prepare myself for a possible “it’s just not going to work.” To make the potential hard blow softer, I started searching for ways to make that situation a learning experience.

This could easily apply to both renting and homeownership, plus many other areas of potential disappointment in life! Use these disappointments to:

1. Clarify what you want

Several of the times we didn’t end up succeeding actually felt like relief, after we’d processed. Some of those homes/condos needed a lot of work to be habitable, and we didn’t have the budget to continue paying for an apartment while working on another place and paying its mortgage. That helped us realize that something on our list was “habitable immediately, with only cosmetic projects.” Furthermore, we learned things like “being near this artist community is more important than we’d thought” and “we would really like a backyard space for the pupsters.”

Focus on the things you really love about the place you’re trying for: can some of those be translated to another place? If you really love the green door frames, could you just paint the door frames in the place that you ultimately end up in? What about the guest house in back — couldn’t you build one or have one built over time? Start a Google doc of these items and add to it as you go along. That way, every minute you spend looking at places will ultimately contribute to your final dwelling space, and it won’t all be a waste of time if you don’t get that one specific property.

2. Practice patience and generosity

So many times it would have been easy to kill the messenger, who was often our very sweet and hardworking agent. I’m not perfect, and I did get snippy a few times, but I feel I grew during the process. I had to know and recognize my own emotional limits and communicate them to my partner and other people. I had to consciously remember how to express my disappointment in a genuine and productive way without snapping or projecting. Sometimes I just had to say, “I’m really upset about this right now and I need the rest of the day to process. Can we talk tomorrow?” I’d then use the rest of the day for the following point.

3. Be creative

Many pieces of a rental agreement or home transaction can fall apart easily, but many of the problems encountered can have creative solutions that your landlord or realtor hadn’t thought of. For instance, if your credit just won’t cut it for a landlord’s rental agreement, could you offer a higher deposit or make a notarized agreement to complete repairs yourself? Or, in our case, some wonky stuff was happening with closing costs, and it turned out we didn’t have enough cash on hand. With no real estate experience whatsoever, I suggested two different ways around this, and our agent loved them; we ended up going with one that helped seal the deal!

Though we ultimately landed this house after two months of agonizing — “yay, we’re getting it!” and “aw man, we’re not getting it” — I have to say we appreciate it much more because of the struggle it took. And the lessons learned along the way were invaluable.

Comments on 3 ways to cope when you didn’t get the home you wanted

  1. We didn’t have quite the same experience that you did, we got the first house we put an offer in on but we did agonize over it. I hear ya about the agony of home buying.
    There was already an offer in on our house but our agent, savy woman that she is, did a little research and found out that it was not a very strong offer and said we should offer anyway if we thought this is the house for us. It worked, we had a very good down payment on hand, we have a great credit rating so the other offer expired and we got it.
    What ended up being agony was the mortgage broker, she was disorganized, we had a very short closing date so we needed to be on top of everything and it is our first house so we didn’t know what we were doing. The mortgage broker would call us and say “Oh by the way I need these six different documents right away.” and we would be scrambling to get it together, she was a bit a nightmare. It would have been very helpful to us to just have a list of what they would need to get the mortgage in place.
    In terms of house hunting itself, I think we made it easier on ourselves by being very, very realistic about what we could afford, and that we would likely be making some compromises. We made a list of must haves, a list of what we would like to have and a list of wow that would be so cool if we could have that. Must haves were things like solid foundation, we didn’t want to deal with major structural issues but we didn’t mind doing minor renovations. We also needed to have some place for me to have a working glass studio and that includes a kiln, it didn’t need to be fancy but we knew it was a must.
    We would have liked to have had a dishwasher but it didn’t happen, we knew that would not be a deal breaker for us. We got about 80% of what we wanted on our list and we think that is pretty damn good for a first house.
    Being super realistic about our small budget saved us from a lot of disappointment in the end. We live on Vancouver Island and it is expensive to buy a home here, I see houses on TV shows where people are paying a fraction of what we paid and complaining that it is only 2200 square feet and the granite isn’t right. It kind of makes my head spin to see what they can get for so little. Even though our house is only 900 square feet it is ours and the 700 square foot double garage converted nicely into studio space. It works for us, we love it.

    • Have you looked into portable dishwashers? You can just wheel them around the place and hook them up to the sink; maybe keep it in your studio until it’s dishes time? They’re relatively inexpensive and often end up at the Re-store or on Craigslist.

      • We actually don’t have any place to put a portable dishwasher, my studio is a separate building at the back of the property. We have thought about taking out a bank of drawers and getting an apartment size dishwasher, that is our only option because of size and layout of our house. We haven’t decided yet, we have been washing dishes by hand for almost two years now, it is one of my least favourite chores but the up side is, we have our own house.

  2. We are just starting the process of looking for our first house, and I strongly agree with letting the disappointment clarify what you want. I don’t think it’s possible to decide to buy a house without imagining what your life might be like in that space. What was it about the first house we bid on that just “felt like us”? What was it about the life I imagined in those walls that I felt sad to give up when our offer fell through?

    For example, after 12 years of storing our bikes and our art supplies and even a small kiln in an apartment just big enough for the 3 people and 1 dog that live here, I didn’t know how badly I wanted a workroom/garage until we lost out on a house that had one. Now that feature that we thought was a luxury has moved up our list of housing requirements.

  3. I am still in the process of house hunting and can’t wait to find our home. We have been looking for around two years with a few breaks for sanity. We have bid on 5 houses, winning bid twice and outbid on three…
    The contract fell through on the first when the owner was foreclosed on. The second, the investors who owned it decided, after seeing our approval paperwork 4 times during the bidding process, that they didn’t like the type of loan we had.
    The first house I’m glad we lost but the second is still the one that got away, for me. We could have come back with different loan but decided to let it go because the investors were being shady with contract details and obligations.
    Though we still don’t have our house, I have learned a lot from this process. I will not compromise on the county I want to live in! I have lived in a city I don’t like for 7 years and I will not entertain any compromise on location. When I say I’m not picky about a house it’s because I am very picky about the land. I have pretty good vision and know how to make a house work for us and outside the house is where I picture a lot of our living.
    I suppose the most important thing I have gotten out of this process though, is to live in the present and appreciate what I have now. I hope we will find home soon but it could never happen. I don’t want to miss living here in the meantime…

  4. Care to share your 2 ideas for resolving the closing cost cash shortage? All I know of is asking the seller, or the buyer to pitch in more. Or asking your relator to waive some fees

    • Sure! One issue was the sellers refused to pay ANY closing costs, so we knew we had no flexibility there.
      1) Raise the purchase price by the estimated amount of closing costs, then have the sellers pay for the closing costs (on paper). As an easy example, say you’re buying a place for $100,000 and the closing costs are estimated at $8000. Rather than having the paperwork say the above, purchase price $100,000 with buyers paying closing costs, the paperwork could say purchase price $108,000 with sellers paying closing costs. The sellers still get their bottom line profit, and you don’t have to fork up the cash.
      2) The lender can roll the closing costs into the loan over time by changing your interest rate. I don’t quite understand all the specifics, but basically you pay a higher interest rate (i.e. slightly higher payment every month, something in the ballpark of $40 per month for us) and pay the closing costs that way. If you’re working with one of the big banks, this may not be possible, but check into smaller local banks and credit unions in your area for creative solutions like this. Many times the larger banks have weird nonsensical rules that the little, mom-and-pops don’t. Plus you’re supporting local small business and your local economy that way 🙂

      • That first example is pretty standard where I live. The seller almost always pays closing costs, but they build it into their asking price, so really the buyer pays…

      • It requires some planning beforehand, however it’s worth noting that some areas have non-profit assistance programs for the upfront costs of buying a house. We made use of a state housing authority program that allowed us to borrow up to 10k interest free to cover the down payment and closing costs, we actually got money back at closing because of that. There were many hoops and limitations on using that state money – but for us it made it possible where other wise it wouldn’t have been.

      • Also, if you are in the States, an FHA loan can often (not always) cover at least some of the closing costs and allow you to have a lower downpayment. There are, however, some stricter limitations on property and loan amount.

  5. I JUST went through all this!! So, writer boy and I decide to buy a house; I find one online, its close by, I fall head over heels in love with it. Before I can start the paperwork to get pre-approved for a loan…it got sold. Here are the lessons I have learned.

    LESSON 1; get your paperwork ducks in a row before you start looking. Get a pre-approvial letter, talk to your bank/mortgage person. Doing that before I started looking would have saved me many tears. Also, that way you’ll know 100% what you can afford.

    LESSON 2; find a good agent who works quickly and knows the area. Doing this has been very, very helpful for us. We went with the inspector and loan officer the agent recommended, and both had turned out to be very helpful and they know their stuff. You can use the relationship your agent has with other people to your advantage.

    LESSON 3; this is the most difficult one. Don’t get your hopes up. It is so very difficult to see a house, like it enough to live there, like it enough to want to spend thousands of dollars on, but be okay with not getting it if it falls through. This happened to us 3 times before we had our offer accepted on the 4th time. In the effort for full disclosure, we have not closed on our house yet (2 more weeks!). Staying in touch with the realtor and loan officer to make sure things are going okay is the only thing that is keeping me sane right now.

    LESSON 4; don’t show the house you want to friends/family until you have it. I made that mistake, and had to tell people what the above mentioned house was not where I was going to be spending the rest of my life. It sucked. Now, only my family and a few close friends know where we are in the buying process; I’ll tell everyone else (ie, all my facebook friends) after we close and keys are in hand. Don’t start packing until your house has an accepted and has passed inspection!

    All that being said, I’m terrified that something will happen and (even though everything is going okay!) we won’t get our house. I tried my very best to follow my own advice, but let me tell you; I was always a nervous wreck when we put an offer in on a house. I kinda don’t think you can avoid it altogether.

    • So much agreement for so many of your points. There is definitely a delicate emotional balance to be had: you need to be excited enough to actually want to live there, but not so attached that your life will feel over if you don’t get it. So in addition to the points you’ve listed, and in order to maintain sanity, I would add the following:

      – Make sure to maintain your own mental well-being in these times. I did have to walk away from conversations sometimes. I did have to take some days off from looking at house stuff, thinking about house stuff, doing house stuff. I had to take some nights with the hubby to just hang out and have a moratorium on anything house-related. If you meditate or do any other mental health/spiritual health thing, make sure to put into place extra time for doing that more than normal, as you’re under an abnormal amount of stress.

      – Talk with your partner (if you’re partnered) about the roles each of you will have in this process. For us, the healthiest and smartest way to go about this at this particular point was for me to do everything (relaying messages between everyone, looking at places, getting exact paperwork and exact appointments scheduled), and for him to just sign things and show up when absolutely necessary. Toward the end, I communicated that I could no longer handle anything else house-related, and he took over everything. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this strategy, but it’s what we needed to do- and I WOULD definitely recommend having the conversation so you know what is expected of you and what to expect from others involved.

      Great comment!!

      • Your first point sounds a lot like what gets mentioned a lot on Offbeat Bride: Having a day where you don’t talk about wedding stuff. In my case, my partner and I also have a cut off time for serious conversations. We break it occasionally, by having those late night conversations that develop into “Oh my gods the sun is coming up, we’d better just put some coffee on” and three hours later the coffee still isn’t on kind of conversations… But since Anxiety!Brain can sometimes do that to me anyway, healthy boundaries is really helpful. I know it squishes important things into smaller and smaller timeframes, but our new goal is to have A Day Off every week–no chores (except the usual daily dishes and 10-minute pickup kind of stuff), no household projects, no important paperwork or conversations, just video games and movies and picnics and crafting and FUN TIME*. Not being Christian it seems a little silly that that day has ended up being Sunday, but he doesn’t work that day and the parental units might be gone for church and that’s when American Football is on and rarely are there businesses open anyway, so it actually was very intentional.

        *Caveat: We do allow for household projects that are urgent or otherwise distracting from relaxing or if he picked up a bunch of extra hours and got behind on chores and projects. If I’m going to feel a sense of accomplishment and it is REALLY BUGGING ME that it isn’t done yet, we sometimes do it. But it still means we get a fun day to ourselves at least twice a month, and that’s twice a month more than we got before we instituted a moratorium on important things one day a week. So I call that success!

    • We’ve brought our parents along to every house that we’ve considered seriously, since they have a lot more experience and insight into fixer-uppers (which is what we’re looking at). It’s saved us a lot of trouble because they could point out things before we even offered. For example, one of the first houses we looked at was on a good lot in a good location. A little on the small side, but we figured we could finish the basement someday. My mom took one look and said, “Where would you put a dining room table?” She was right! The way the house was laid out, there wasn’t a good place to put a table any bigger than little cafe set. The kitchen was to narrow, and it went right from the kitchen to the (small) living room. Hrmph. Funny how you don’t notice things until someone else points out the obvious.

      But yes….no getting hopes up.

    • So many THISes! We have an offer in on a little farm that is pretty darned perfect for us and our animals, but it is a Short Sale. It also has a bunch of upgrades (some safety/code related) that need to be done so the offer to the bank is on the low side.

      I love it, but I keep having to rein in the other half when he starts talking about the future there — as its definitely not guarunteed and I don’t want to be heartbroken about it if it falls apart.

      • That’s going to be me when my partner and I buy a house. He’s an extrovert that likes a solid home base while he goes out on the town and generally is a tourist in his home town, while I’m a little bit more of a homebody by circumstance. But he has this very excitable tendency to extrapolate WAYYYYYYYY past the realm of reasonable planning, on even the smallest of chances of possibility. (Him getting good vibes off an interview for a new job will come with three days of strategizing and planning and extrapolation until he realizes they never called back or returned his follow-up calls and then he’s disappointed about it for a week.) We’ve agreed that I can allow him an hour of extrapolating before I start gently reining him in, as anything past about 6 I start to get irritated. But when we start house hunting again, that’s just going to have to be something that we discuss ahead of time to make sure that he gets the fun part of planning and extrapolating and such without driving me bonkers or getting his hopes up too high–or mine, for that matter, since his excitement is infectious! 😀

  6. This is really good information! My husband and I are currently just starting the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage, and looking for houses in the area. In the last week we have gone from wanting to buy a house, to not wanting to ever buy a house, to wanting to buy a house again. We have gone over the numbers and know what price range we would feel comfortable in, as we have a certain monthly payment we would want to stick by. We are willing to do some work to any place we may purchase, but a complete overhaul is out of the question. Our bottom line is that we basically need 2 bedrooms, a decent sized kitchen, and a yard for the dogs. The difference in taxes from town to town here is ridiculous, which makes things harder. The city we currently live and rent in has a ton of properties for affordable prices, but the taxes are astronomical and only going to go higher in the next few years.

    Sigh…it all kind of makes my head spin, but thank you OBH for making it a little bit better.

  7. We fell in love with so many houses over the six months we were actively looking. And then, the house we actually bought? We did a ten minute walk through, said, “Ok, there’s nothing we really actively dislike about it,” and had the keys in hand a month later. And omg, I am so glad we got the house we did. I still feel a pang for the house with the huge backyard, but wow, that backyard would have been so much work! We barely keep up with our tiny stretch of yard in our current house, a huge yard would have felt like a full time job. In retrospect I think a lot of the things I wanted in a house were things that were for my idealized life, not my real life. In my idealized life I garden and do handyman fixes and hang lovely art on my well-lit walls. In real life I commute to work and avoid washing dishes, so a dishwasher and good transit is actually kind of more important.

  8. Great post! I’m glad to see this conversation, my fiance and I bought a house together last year and it was a crazy crazy situation. Our experience is probably not very common (we lost our apartment in a fire mid-house shopping, we were negotiating a contract at the time and I called our agent from the smoldering apt to submit a new offer… a contract fell through after 2 months when the appraisal came in 40k under the agreed sale price and creative solutions fell flat… the contract that did go through still took nearly 2 months to complete) so I have to add some points:

    It came down to treating some of our situation as a grieving process and having patience with myself to get through that. Seriously – things can go wrong, very wrong, and if they do you need to allow yourself to feel that or you probably won’t get past it. I actually took a week’s vacation camping mid housing process – it was the best thing I could have done.

    Manage your expectations. The day our offer was accepted and we went from offer to contract our realtor called and said “congratulations! you bought a house!” after just over 2 months, a lot of money spent on inspections, appraisals, and legal fees the contract fell through – it was completely devastating, we lost some serious cash, and were stuck in temporary living arrangements with our lives in storage. You don’t buy a house when your offer becomes a contract, you buy a house at settlement.

    Be forgiving of your crew, they’re trying, they really are – but also seriously stand your ground. Our mortgage person at the bank was poorly organized and at times slow to task – she delayed our settlement several times because she hadn’t gotten her sh*t together. We and the rest of our crew (our agent, the selling agent, and even the attorney) really put a lot of pressure on her to pull it together at the very end and it’s probably the only reason we made it to the settlement table when we did. These people are working for you, you have the right to make some demands – try to be reasonable.

    In the end, you will at some point, have a place to live – and that does make it all so happy in the end. Remembering that got me through it, and now I’m happy as a clam in my little home.

  9. I love this! I would also like to add, that during our home buying process we ended up with what really worked for our budget and timeline, though wasn’t our “ultimate ideal.” We would have preferred a 90’s or later house that was mostly move-in ready and 2 stories. We ended up with a 1948 ranch house with only 1 bathroom (and no bathtub. boo). So sometimes we’re wistful about the ‘what-ifs’ of owning something different, is has been helpful to try and find pieces of furniture and paint and 0ther acessories that make it really feel like home, even if it’s in more of a perpetual state of being fixed-up.

  10. We did not get the first house we went after, and I am so glad, as we ended up with a much better house in the end! Even sweeter was when the seller of the first house called up our realtor to say that their deal had fallen through, wondering if we were still interested, by which time our answer was “Sorry, found another place!” 😛

  11. My husband and I have been house shopping for about….two and a half years? We have physically gone to (as in, at least drove by or pulled into the driveway) over 110 houses. We’ve put offers in on three. The first one, we hemmed and hawed and finally offered a little under asking price, and got outbid (looking back a year and a half years later, we’re kicking ourselves for not offering full or over asking because it was the best house we’ve looked at this whole time). We were about to offer on another house when we learned through the grapevine that the landowner out back was about to open up a gravel pit. The second house we offered on we got under contract…but ended up backing out when there was a big rainstorm and we saw how much water literally poured though the basement.

    We’re under contract on a third house right now. We’ve gone through the inspections and have revised our offer…but they rejected our terms (we gave them an all or nothing: either fix everything for the current price, or we’ll take it as-is under a new price). So, we’re still under contract for our original price, which is TOO MUCH….we only agreed to the contract in order to have “dibs” on the house. Now, we just decided to wait for the appraisal (next Monday) to hopefully give the owners a wake-up call that they’re asking too much. So…we’ll see. If it somehow DOES appraise for what the sellers want, then we have a dilemma…Do we take it as-is for the higher price, or just walk? If we walk…who knows when or what the next house will be, and what the market will be like. In our area, the market is definitely going up. Each house that we’ve looked at seriously has been in worse condition then the last. We feel so stupid for not offering more for that first house, because if we saw it NOW, we’d gladly pay thousands more than what the asking price was then. So, this current house needs a lot of work, but the lot and the location are fabulous, and the bones of the house are good….so do we just take it now, or risk losing our window of opportunity to buy a good house?


    • That sucks. All those inspections and appraisals can be very expensive, and to be already at that point and under contract but have the sellers not budge is rough. I hope the appraisal comes in at a more reasonable price and the sellers just agree with you and give it to you for the revised terms!

      However, the “kicking yourself” and “feeling stupid” for not getting that first one is exactly what this article is about! What can you learn from that that you can take with for the rest of looking? At that point, you didn’t know what kind of offers sellers might take. You didn’t know about the market as well, or maybe even as much about how the process goes. Now you know. And if you see another house like that in your price range, you know exactly what to do and you will likely be much faster at it. Hemming and hawing like you did over the first one is an indication that you probably weren’t ready yet- and now you are.

      As for the fixes… when we look back at some of the fixer-uppers we were looking at, yeah, they were in our price range, with good bones, in good locations. But we would have SUFFERED getting those places to look even halfway habitable. We both work from home, and we would have been uncomfortable in our workplaces. We are already having the temptation to do projects ALL THE TIME because they are infinitely more interesting than working, and I can’t even imagine the extent that would go to when the projects were necessary. Are you comfortable having workers come in and out all the time when you live there? Or being responsible for the work if something isn’t done right?

      We gave the sellers an all-or-nothing stipulation as well. They fixed everything, and I can’t tell you how relieved it makes me feel on a daily basis to KNOW the plumbing is done, the foundation has been earthquake retrofitted, the weird old chimney has been capped so no critters get in, and that there is nothing wrong with the electrical. Some people are very crafty with home repair stuff, but we are not. We would not be happy with all that work. We’re crafty in the decorating/design situation. 🙂

      I can’t say what I think you should do, since I don’t know you, but I can say what I would do. After looking at all those places and feeling relief when they fell through because of the amount of work we’d have to do, I would NEVER make a full offer on a place like that again. Unless my partner was a contractor. And he’s not.

      IF that unfortunate situation happens, I would walk. Yes, it might be a while longer before you find the house you REALLY want if you walk, but it will be well worth the wait. And paying slightly more if the market does go up, for a house that has all that taken care of. Or you may find it tomorrow. 🙂

      • yes indeed… we had to walk from a contract and it sucked – it sucked hard. The seller offered to rent-to-own the house to us until we had enough for a down payment on a traditional (not fha like we had lined up) mortgage years down the line, when interest rates would be who knows how much higher, for a monthly price that was a few hundred higher than a mortgage payment would have been.

        sometimes you do have to walk away, only you can really make that call so be honest with yourself, but you can make something else work.

  12. Okay, so this post is actually about how to find the house you want, and it’s really too late for that once you’ve bought the house you don’t want. I’m in that situation and am having a hard time coping with it, and after reading the very promising title I was hoping this post would help. 🙁

    • My original title was “We Didn’t Get the Place We Wanted”, but the OBH editors chose to change the title.

      I think the appropriate title for the post you were looking for would be “We Got a House We Don’t Want” or “Coping with Settling on the Not-Perfect House” or “Coping when You GOT a House You DIDN’T Want”…. I think the title the editors chose does still reflect what my post is about.

      “3 ways to cope when you DIDN’T get the home you WANTED” is what I go on to talk about… we didn’t get it. And we wanted it. And we found ways to use what we learned while we continued searching.

      You could still take this post and apply it to your situation, though. You got a house you don’t like. That sucks! So you could be upset/angry/snippy (like I had the tendency to be above), or you could 1) Clarify what you want next time, for whenever you’re ready to move. Start that same google doc, so you remember them if it’s many years down the line. 2) THIS ONE!! Practice patience and generosity. Look for ways you can compliment your house to other people. If you’re currently saying things like “Thanks for congratulating me, but we definitely made a mistake here” or “this house sucks because of….”, start saying things like “The house has an excellent bathroom” or “It’s really nice that all the electrical has been recently replaced”. I promise promise promise you will start to notice more things you do like about the house as you start looking for a “house compliment” to tell someone every day. If you’re partnered, do the same thing you would in a relationship, but instead of complimenting your partner every day, each of you has to compliment the other on the house in some way every day. This actually reminds me of living in China- in China, people don’t say someone is ugly. They say various levels of compliments for beautiful through ugly, and the ugliest compliment is something akin to “She is a great speaker”. Do that for your house! It’s easy to find a bunch of little things that are wrong with it (even in the house we DID want, we’re finding stupid annoying little things like that every day)… but it’s a lot more fun to start looking for those positives. Also, you’ll probably have to be patient with whatever situation has you stay in the house you don’t want for a while.
      3) Be Creative! This is another opportunity for you to REALLY shine. Maybe you hate the floor layout? Guess what? It’s YOUR house and you get to knock down walls. Make some plans for eventual changes, immediate changes, etc. that can make that place look like the place you really want. Maybe it’s the neighborhood? Sounds like a great opportunity to start getting people together and doing something about that. Are there no dog parks around? Start a private one in your backyard, or start petitioning the city to build one, or talk to a company that already has one about opening a second location. Turn the house you don’t want into the house you do want as much as you can. And rock on.

      • I’ve moved a lot (always apartments up until now) so I’m pretty good at knowing what I want and don’t want when I search for a place. Without getting into a long explanation, I’m basically being forced to buy a house that I don’t want to buy. It’s not that I’ve been house hunting and didn’t get my first three choices, it’s that this is my only choice and I don’t want it. While there are some good things about it, there are some fundamental things about it that are not really changeable due to lot size and historic preservation restrictions. There are cosmetic changes that would help somewhat, but that’s probably not going to financially feasible for a long time. So I’m stuck buying this house that I don’t want at a time when I really wasn’t ready to buy anyway and I’m struggling with accepting that. I guess a big part of the problem is depression, which makes it hard to have hope and to deal with things in general, and some things about the house exacerbates the problem. Or maybe I’m just blaming the house because I didn’t want it so it’s an easy scapegoat. Anyway, I understand why you titled the post the way you did, and I honestly don’t know what I was expecting from this post because there are no magic answers. I guess I’m just bummed out.

        • I also struggle with depression, and as those of us who have it know, any big life changes are often natural triggers for depression. Moving, marriage, homebuying, new job, all of that.

          As another depressive person, I have to say I see some major red flags in your comment above. I don’t know your full situation, like you said, but it seems pretty dangerous for your mental health.

          Although this may seem like a very real “only option” for you, just remember that you NEVER HAVE TO DO ANYTHING in life. EVER. If you can’t see any other options, or any other ways of getting around this, start checking in other places. Ask some professionals in whatever fields you need to. You don’t have to buy this house if you don’t want it. Really!

          It may be a harder road for many reasons to not buy it, and honestly you may struggle and be depressed along either path. So get some answers, weigh out the options, and then powerfully CHOOSE to buy the house, even with all its faults and even though you didn’t think you were ready, or CHOOSE to go another route. Seriously- be creative, the third point I made- I was creative with our loan. You can be creative with insanely unique ideas on how to not buy this house, or have someone else buy it and you get it back later, or rent it out while you live somewhere you do like, or so many other things. And get help doing it if you’re feeling that “I just can’t do it and nothing will ever change so what’s the point” thing we often feel.

          And please, whatever you do, make sure you are fully supported in regard to your depression.

          And WHAT, historic house??!! That sounds like a pretty awesome start, I have to say 🙂

          • I know. The depression actually got bad before this even came up because of some personal things. It’s all really lousy timing!

            It’s true that I don’t HAVE to buy this house, but it’s really the only viable option because the alternative is to be homeless. We’re choosing to buy it, but only because it’s the least sucky choice. We’re renting it now, but it’s in foreclosure. Our options are to buy it (the price is good) or to move to another rental, but since we don’t have anything saved up for a security deposit that’s not going to happen. Plus moving is hella stressful, and my boyfriend has a LOT of stuff that neither of us have the time or energy to cull (he’s not a hoarder, but…well, that’s a whole other story). I have a decent amount of stuff too, but it’s a much more manageable amount.

            Saying it’s a historic house really makes it sound more awesome than it is. It’s pretty much just old (~100 years), and it’s a side-by-side duplex in a neighborhood of similar structures so there are a lot of limitations as to how (and how much) we can add on. Ours is the ugliest, most dilapidated one on the block because it’s currently owned by an elderly aunt who lived there alone. And all the beautiful woodwork was painted over when she put it on the market before we moved in! The worst part of it is that there are virtually no closets, and the place is too small and weirdly laid out to build closets or use furniture for storage, which exacerbates the “stuff” problem.

            My boyfriend sees us fixing it up and selling it and buying a house we do want in the future, but any option is more work and hassle than I can handle right now. Like I said, it’s really lousy timing.

            One thing that I think bothers me about buying in general (even if I loved the house) is that up until now I’ve always rented, and have moved fairly often. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t hate it. Boxing up my stuff, leaving the old space behind, and starting fresh in a new space has always been therapeutic to me, and the idea of being “stuck” somewhere is unsettling.

            As for my health, my boyfriend is very supportive and sensitive to my mental health, and he’s a very optimistic person. That said, he has experienced depression before so he totally gets it. He’s a good ally. 🙂

          • @JenW- Great! You have an ally! How about some more? 🙂 Build that list, girl.

            And… I *think* I saw today’s house compliment of the day buried in there: “YAY! This house has awesome beautiful woodwork buried under only one recent layer of paint, which is almost certainly not lead-based because it’s new and won’t release any toxic chemicals when we remove it, which costs almost nothing to do other than time! ”

            Highly recommend a heat gun and scraper technique. It seriously takes nothing other than that and some time, and as I have been battling some depression lately myself, I’ve found that looking at a project I have actually completed gives me a sense of accomplishment that helps a LOT. Seeing something you did physically is very satisfying.

  13. We are just closing on our first house and got here with a strange, unexpected turn of events. We are buying in a rural community and there were two houses for sale in the town. We fell in love with the first house, ready to make an offer and all, but after inspection we realized it was not a solid, sound house. I looked at the second house alone since my partner was working. It was right after the inspection of the previous house and I was so bummed. House #2 has a strange layout and I said I hated it. I didn’t even want my partner to see it. But it was solid. It was a good house. After facing walking away from this cute little town, we thought we should give house #2 a chance. He loved it. I saw its potential. Now it’s ours. I’m so glad we are buying a very solid, updated first home.

    Just need to buy a new couch, way better than a new roof!

    Advice would be, don’t let “the one that got away” cloud your judgement on potential houses.

  14. I think clarifying what you want is so, so important. Because knowing what you really want in a home and what you’re ultimately willing to compromise on makes the house hunt so much easier. For me, I knew that having an updated interior was a must. As a single woman, working full-time and going to school, I just don’t have the time to put into any kind of major renos. So the compromise was space. I got a fully updated (minus the roof, which I had replaced) 2-bedroom bungalow, but it’s only 750 sq.ft..

    And I think that’s also where the patience comes in. I looked at a lot of crappy houses before I found mine. Neglected houses that needed to be gutted, claustrophobic houses with 6.5 foot ceilings, horrible DIY renos that cut every corner….. Viewings and offers and negotiations are stressful!

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