The Strategic Homemaker

learning to follow the Father, care for the clan, and redeem the resources

What We Wanted in a House, and What We Got


Since we were trying to find a house in the first week of moving here, and since we try to be strategic with our resources, we did a lot of research and scouting for about three months beforehand.  If you hear much about Rhode Island, you’ll probably hear that it is expensive to live here. In fact, one person before we moved told me we could get a decent house for $400K.  What?!  She then told me a haircut cost $50, and I wrote her off at that point.  Thankfully, neither was true, but I did realize early on in the online hunting that I would have to alter our expectations from what we could buy in the Midwest.

We decided to buy, given factors including renting being more expensive by a few hundred dollars each month, and our wanting to be here at least five years, and we were able to find something within a week, praise the Lord!

What We Wanted:

–Something we could get 20% down on, so we didn’t have to pay personal mortgage insurance.  Also, we wanted to keep the total mortgage to less than a sixth of our income, especially because we wanted to budget around $400/month extra for house repairs and updates, although it would obviously be great to not have to repair much!

–At least three bedrooms (four would have been nice, but hardly any in our price range had four.)

–A good-sized yard for the kids to play in, and me to have a garden (I was original excluding those on the house search that had less than a quarter acre, but that limited the search too much)

–A nice neighborhood for taking walks and so the house would maintain/gain value

–Fairly close location to TSH’s work, the bus route, and walkable access for me to libraries etc. (since we wanted to stick with just one car)

–A sturdily built/well cared for house

–All the bedrooms on one floor, with a bathroom on that floor

–Lots of windows

–Plenty of closets and cabinet space

Niceties we’d like:

–1500 sq ft (I had originally made this a criteria in my search, and then realized it was limiting the house hunt within our budget a lot)

–A second bath or half bath

–Gas heat (long winters, so heating is expensive!)

–Basement and garage (having at least one of these was on the “definitely want” list)

What we got:

–Price well within our budget

–1560 sq ft, and 0.24 acres with six sugar maples at the back of the fenced-in yard. Yes! Going to try our hands at maple syrup this winter. Also, currently this size feels like the perfect amount of space–not too much to pay to heat, but not too small to feel cramped.

–3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, again, Yes!

–Great neighborhood and location. I am really appreciating not being on a through street. We love going on walks, and our neighbors have been very friendly. Many of them have lived here for 50+ years, including the people we bought the house from, and there are several young families as well. We are also in a really central location to everything in RI, 16 min drive time from TSH’s work, right on the bus route, and close to the bike route.

–Gas heat and central air, which has been especially nice this summer

–Basement and sort of garage. The garage isn’t quite long enough to fit our car, but as I’ve already established, no one in RI puts their car in the garage anyway.

–Plenty of closets and windows

–Two working fireplaces

–An apparently well-cared for and well-built house

What we gave up:

–all the bedrooms on one floor. Cape cod style houses have two bedrooms upstairs and one below. and we don’t have a bathroom upstairs.

–The master bedroom didn’t fit all our bedroom furniture. We’re sharing a dresser, so we are keeping our out-of-season clothes in the basement, and switching them out as need be. It hasn’t been an issue so far, as we have a separate office, and hardly go in the bedroom during the day anyway. If there is one room in which I’d prefer to sacrifice space, it is the master bedroom.

–The garage being able to fit our car, although it’s only a one-car garage anyway, so even if the length was good, we’d still have to pick between stroller, bikes, etc and the car.

–a turn-key house. Hello, wallpaper!  However, we are making it our own, and other than a kitchen remodel, the other updates the place needs are relatively inexpensive.

I am really thankful for this house. I feel like it is even more than I had expected, and I haven’t regretted giving up any of the things we originally wanted. How about you? Is there anything you really wish you had in your house, or anything you are glad you sacrificed?


4 thoughts on “What We Wanted in a House, and What We Got

  1. I am so glad you all were able to find that house! Sugar maples in the backyard! Awesome!

  2. just saw your posts! you’ve done amazing job so far! sounds like you got a great house. ideally, dan and i want to build our next house. but we’ll see. i have a lot of the same wants as what you’ve listed above.

  3. Love hearing about your new house! Sounds wonderful, and I’m so thankful you’re loving it! I’m just so thrilled for you guys!

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