Home & DIY Projects


The first two houses we saw yesterday were just… sigh. I don’t understand real estate. I really don’t. You look at a listing and it looks something like this:

And you feel your heart leap into your throat as you think, “Ohmygod, this could be it! This could really be IT!”

You pack your patient toddler and busy husband into the car and as you drive, you try to ignore the sinking feeling in your chest as the directions lead you through shadier and shadier neighbourhoods until you arrive at a dilapidated old house with a dumpster out front.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover!” you remind yourself brightly.

You go inside and it looks this.
(Obviously exaggerated for dramatic effect, but not by much.)

It’s just – I mean I really don’t think real estate agents are doing themselves any favours with this shit. Approximately 99.999% of people will, in fact, see the house in person before buying it.

Doing a bait and switch with stretched, blown out and completely unrealistic photos is just wasting everyone’s time.

Anyway. The UPSIDE of yesterday, which started on two very sad womp wommmmp notes, was the third house. It was the first time I’d felt so close to my vision of what our house will look like. It was the most, the most Madeleine of all the houses we have seen so far.

First of all it was tiny, just 900 sq ft. The stairs were narrow, the bedrooms had peaked ceilings. There was room for everything, but it was neat and cozy. If it had one more bedroom we would have bought it.

It was absolutely heartbreaking to be so close, but I am also feeling more hopeful about this whole house hunting business than I have been in many weeks, and that’s saying something.

For the first time it didn’t feel like I was trying something on that was nice, but just completely not my style. This house just fit. Almost. The whole neighbourhood – with its wide streets and huge canopies of old leafy trees – the whole neighbourhood is filled with these tiny, pre-war cottages, so I am now crossing my fingers that one more will come up, one with longer sleeves that will allow us some room to grow. One more bedroom. Oh please oh please oh please!

Y’all did great work with the Gods/Goddesses of real estate yesterday – please keep it coming!

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  • Reply knightlizard June 16, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Hahaha oh my goodness, I remember this so vividly. Be glad you’re not trying to do this while pregnant. When we finally found our home after a nine month search, my daughter was about Olive’s age and at the end of the second trimester with my son.

    Are you working with a realtor? I unreservedly recommend it. We had an awesome one who would at least warn us when the pictures differed strongly from reality. She also did an amazing job juggling our various needs and wants with the stark reality of our available funds.

    • Reply sweetmadeleine June 16, 2014 at 4:11 PM

      We do have a realtor and we really like him- he’s been incredibly helpful! I can not imagine doing this pregnant-the emotions!!

  • Reply Bernard Walter June 16, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    I just finished reading your book…have another “little one”! The house you will find will be perfect. Adam-approved, most definitely. But, please, think of the fourth member of your family.

  • Reply Carlie June 20, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    We move a lot with my husband being in the military, and I cannot tell you how many times I have felt this exact way! I don’t understand why they do that, I don’t know anyone who rents or buys without actually visiting the house first. Most places we have seen that were total dumps but the photo looked awesome was because they took a picture of the one thing in the house that didn’t completely suck.

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