House Hunters?

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It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with House Hunters.  In fact, I’ve been watching it all night.


It feels SOOOOOOO good to relax on the couch and dream about home ownership.  Now that we’ve gotten our budget under control (well, except for my dining spree yesterday… ahem), we’re thinking about buying a HOUSE!  Not now – maybe in June?  That’s our goal!


But we have no idea what we need to buy a house in terms of a loan… All we know is that we need a LOT of money for a down payment.  I’ve been reading blogs like The Simple Dollar to learn more.  It’s a little nerve-wracking but something we both really want so we can pursue BabyHTP other life changes.


While I was pondering these life changes…


I had lunch (and a third cinnamon bun, which knocked me onto my feet in full sugar-coma style):


Hummus sandwich + raspberries.


And broccoli (+ bun!):


And dinner was simple and wholesome:


Rice and beans + a roasted vegetable mix.  I’m falling in love with roasted carrots this season – so simple, easy to prepare, and delicious.


We are going to leave in bed and read MLS listings for future dream homes!



  • Hanna November 5, 2010, 8:39 pm

    yay for buying a home:) We just bought a home and it’s a lot of work and stress but totally worth it! I used and franklymls is by FAR the best website for home searching!

    Down payments can be tricky…if you do conventional it’s 20% but if you got FHA loans (first time home buyers) it’s generally about 3.5%..but then there are the closing costs!

    Good luck with everything! I learned a lot while I was researching and figuring things out:)

  • emly November 5, 2010, 8:43 pm

    One day? That show is addicting.

    Do you snack much? What do you suggest?

    • Caitlin November 5, 2010, 8:43 pm

      do it in moderation? 🙂

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations November 5, 2010, 8:51 pm

    Happy house hunting!! It’s fun, exciting, and whole lot of work too. What a joy to be taking these life steps.

  • Carly November 5, 2010, 8:53 pm

    How do you roast your carrots? I tried it a couple weeks ago and it just didn’t work.

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:39 am

      coat in olive oil and roast at 400 for about 25 minutes.

  • G November 5, 2010, 8:55 pm

    A potential future BabyHTP?! AH! 😀
    Have fun starting the house hunt!

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place November 5, 2010, 8:57 pm

    Ahhhh we recently went through this. We wanted to sell our current home and buy a new one, but it was definitely a challenge to get another mortgage b/c my hubby is self employed.

    It will be SUPER hard for you guys to get a mortgage because you are BOTH self-employed. Since the housing market crashed, lenders are really picky about who they give money to. Even though my husband was making good money this year, they couldn’t take one penny of that into account, since his business hadn’t been around for two full years. NO ACCEPTIONS! That’s the new rule these days…your business has to survive 24 months straight before they will take the income into account for a loan.

    I checked with three different mortgage brokers who all turned us down because of this new rule. Since your blog has been around for I think 2 years(?), you’ll probably be able to use your income, but not your husbands.

    Also, if you don’t put down 20%, you have to pay private mortgage insurance (by law) until 20% of the loan is paid off.

    I’m no expert, but I’m just giving advice from my own experience! good luck!

  • J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) November 5, 2010, 9:00 pm

    I love House Hunters, too! We Tivo like 100 episodes at a time and watch marathons, LOL.

  • Jillian@ Reshape Your Life November 5, 2010, 9:04 pm

    Aww BabyHTP!! I love it!

  • patti November 5, 2010, 9:13 pm

    Aww..thoughts of babies. How great! House hunting i exciting too but as a mom and home owner i can tell you the baby is much more fun and exciting! BTW, theres so many things i could say about “laying in bed house hunting” that could lead to babyhtp but that would just be weird/obnoxious 🙂

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:40 am


  • Rachel in NC November 5, 2010, 9:14 pm

    Just make sure you get pre-approved for a loan before you start looking, so you know exactly how much money you have for a house.

    We did a FHA loan, which required a 3.5% down payment and approximately another 3% in closing costs. However, you can always try to negotiate with the seller to cover the closing costs unless you’re purchasing a foreclosure.

    • Wendy November 5, 2010, 9:52 pm

      GREAT advice! Too many people do it in reverse order and end up buying more than they can really afford.

      • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:40 am

        this is good advice!

  • Lisa @ Early Morning Run November 5, 2010, 9:22 pm

    all of a sudden I’ve really been dreaming of buying a house. That means that we’d have to move out of the city though and that won’t happen for quite a while.

    Good luck!

  • Leanne @ Simplicitlee November 5, 2010, 9:24 pm

    Owning a home is the best 🙂 You’re going to love it!

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 5, 2010, 9:27 pm

    Me and my b/f are currently casually home shopping for our first home. Everyone says its stressful but so far it’s just been fun! Probably because we’re in no rush to buy and having fun looking at places, I’m sure once we find one to buy the stressful negotiation part will start!!

  • Heather November 5, 2010, 9:30 pm

    GL with house hunting. We have lived in ours for 4 years and now are tackling the challenge of building a house (they just cleared the lot!)
    its def not as scary as you think, but you are right, get as much down as you can. avoiding PMI iin your payments is awesome!

  • Heather November 5, 2010, 9:30 pm

    GL with house hunting. We have lived in ours for 4 years and now are tackling the challenge of building a house (they just cleared the lot!)
    its def not as scary as you think, but you are right, get as much down as you can. avoiding PMI iin your payments is awesome!

  • Caitlyn (A Spoonful of Life) November 5, 2010, 9:30 pm

    Good luck looking for a home. That’s exciting! I’m still living at home and finishing school, but I still fantasize about my dream home!

    Roasted carrots (well, roasted vegi’s in general) are my favorite as well.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 5, 2010, 9:36 pm

    Good luck Caitlin!! I love looking at show homes and getting decorating ideas. I also love roasted veggies, and your dinner looks so good!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 5, 2010, 9:37 pm

    Baby HTP??? How exciting — even if it won’t happen for a while. I love love love House Hunters — and I can’t wait until Jason and I look for a new house. Hopefully we’ll be doing that in the next year or so.

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete November 5, 2010, 9:37 pm

    Baby HTP??? How exciting — even if it won’t happen for a while. I love love love House Hunters — and I can’t wait until Jason and I look for a new house. Hopefully we’ll be doing that in the next year or so.

  • Wei-Wei November 5, 2010, 9:38 pm

    o_O BabyHTP? Ooh. 😉

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In November 5, 2010, 9:42 pm

    I could watch House Hunters for days straight. Buying a house is such a great goal!! And BabyHTP would surely love it…:)

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black November 5, 2010, 9:49 pm

    BabyHTP! Hehe. So cute!

  • Wendy November 5, 2010, 9:50 pm

    Three things…
    1. You DON’T have to own a home to have a baby. We just purchased our first home a month ago, and our children are 3 and 5. If you really want a baby, go for it. There are no “rules” about the order of major life changes. 🙂
    2. We were able to get a loan for part of the down payment, so we ended up needing only ~6% in cash, and somehow avoided PMI. We had my parents co-sign on the loan, though. My advice would be to find a REALLY good loan officer.
    3. Good luck with all impending life changes! 🙂 Can’t wait to read about them here at HTP!

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:42 am

      🙂 Congrats on your little ones! I think the Husband and I do want a house before we have a baby, for multiple reasons. Oh… good idea on getting your parents to co-sign. I wonder if that would help us.

  • Tab - Just Weighing In November 5, 2010, 9:54 pm

    Oh, I remember those days. I still watch MLS just because I love looking at houses and dreaming…

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed November 5, 2010, 9:57 pm

    I can’t wait to own a house too. We’re in the same position as you! Yum – roasted carrots!
    Heidi xo

  • Camille November 5, 2010, 10:02 pm

    I love reading house listings 🙂 A girl can dream!

  • hi November 5, 2010, 10:05 pm

    Hi, you decided not to go to Foodbuzz I assume. I guess you’ve been very busy lately, a smart choice. Do you watch much TV at night? I am a victim of mindless TV!

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:42 am

      Not really. I only do it every now and then!

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous November 5, 2010, 10:06 pm

    Wow, you pack in so many fruits and veggies. I had five servings today, which for me, is GOOD 😉

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:44 am

      i was trying to offset the cinnamon rolls 🙂

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 5, 2010, 10:08 pm

    Can I give youa piece of advice? As a first time home buyer, you might just want to go with an FHA loan – you don’t need that much for a down payment & the money you don’t put down can go for things such as renovations & improvements. My husband & I did that, although it may have been better for us because we bought cheap!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef November 5, 2010, 10:22 pm

    aww i can’t wait til we get a house. but i’m in grad school now so it’ll be 2 yrs minimum.

  • Kathryn November 5, 2010, 10:42 pm

    I’m a little behind on my blogs so Idk if you mentioned this but they were talking about Operation Beautiful on “The Doctors” today! I got so excited and really felt like they were talking about my friend even though I’ve never met you in real life 🙂 I love your blog and OB! Thanks so much for all the time you put into everything!

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:44 am

      yay! 😉 i was happy to see the plug! thanks for telling me about it.

  • Dee November 5, 2010, 10:46 pm

    I love House Hunters! Realistically speaking though, my hubby and I probably won’t be in the market for a house for another 3-5 years! 🙁

    I need to try roasted carrots!

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine) November 5, 2010, 11:15 pm

    House hunting should be fun. 😀

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate) November 5, 2010, 11:32 pm

    Yum! I love roasted carrots! I wish we were ready to buy a house!

  • Laura Ann November 5, 2010, 11:50 pm

    ah, my bf and i are on the same track.. we’re working toward being ready next fall. we’ll see. it’s so exciting and scary!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write November 5, 2010, 11:58 pm

    My hubs and I love House Hunters (btw, they have tons of episodes on and Property Virgins, too. I owned a house with my first husband. When I left, I gave him everything (because all he wanted was me, seemed only fair). It’s hard to now be starting all over again with my awesome new hubby, but I’m willing to wait. Buying your first house is amazing and so friggin exciting. Just don’t settle until you find the one that gives you giggly feelings (like your hubby does!). 🙂

  • Laura November 6, 2010, 12:18 am

    Greetings from a new reader! I was so into house flipping TV shows when we were on the hunt about a year ago. I even thought I might like to become a real estate agent! Good luck!

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day November 6, 2010, 12:43 am

    Very excited for you! I love House Hunters, but Property Virgins and My First Place give some really good first time home buying advice, and of course there’s always Young House Love, but of course you know that 🙂

    Good luck!

  • 'laina November 6, 2010, 2:04 am

    My top piece of advice- stay AWAY from *variable* interest rate loans.. if any lender even mentions it, run far, far away. My hubs co-worker lost his house when it went from $1000 pymts to $4000 at the drop of a hat.

    Also, you don’t HAVE to have 20% down, nor even 10. We put down 3.5% ($5000) and everybody involved was happy with that. So, don’t stress about not having enough saved.

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:37 am

      Yea but then you pay so much more for a PMI! BUt 20% is so much!

      • Susan November 8, 2010, 2:31 pm

        Yeah, you pay PMI without 20% (we do, we put 5% down), but I saw it like this: We could afford the PMI, but we couldn’t afford the 20%. We already had the 5% saved when we started looking and just had to save for closing costs. I guess we could have saved the 20% if we had deprived ourselves of everything for about a year, but that would have been awful. And we would have missed out on our dream house. It sounds nice to do the 20% down and avoid PMI, but I’m not sure how realistic that is for most people. You just have to make financial choices you’re comfortable with.

  • ProjectLifeBy Sue November 6, 2010, 7:04 am

    Good luck with the house hunt. It’s very fun. My advice – take your time. Make a list of all the things you want, ie. number brms, garage, finsihed basement, and number them in order of priority. I even started a spreadsheet once we really started looking. It can be overwhelming trying to remember all the houses.

    Do you put anything on your veggies before roasting?

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:39 am

      yup! olive oil. check out the link in the post for my method.

      • ProjectLifeBy Sue November 6, 2010, 8:38 pm

        Oh yes, sorry, my bad, didn’t notice it there.

        On another note: one more recommendation. Interview a number of Realtors – super important that you connect with him/ner. Not all Realtors are made the same. Totally cool to interview a few. You’ll know once you connect with the right one.

  • skinnyrunner November 6, 2010, 7:15 am

    i like house hunters too. especially in areas that i know and have been or international where all the homes seem much smaller than us homes.

  • Annalisa November 6, 2010, 7:16 am

    Keep a few things in mind when buying a house:
    What are the additional monthly costs of the house? Taxes, homeowner association fees, insurance etc. I live in NY and my taxes are nearly the cost of my mortgage and I pay $110 a month to FEMA for Flood Insurance. We knew this going into the buying process but if we didn’t ask, we could’ve been strapped for cash.

    There are also energy star rebates for lots of things – I believe it varies by area. So if a home you are looking at needs new appliances, windows, doors, etc. some of that can be a tax incentive.

    Keep in mind you can deduct the interest of your home on your taxes AND you can claim most of your home as a business expense.

    Aside from decorating, think of what it would cost to get into a house. We did not realize we would have to buy a lawn mower, leaf blower, etc. until we had that house. Those little things can be a few thousand dollars in a year.

    Lastly, factor in some money every month to a home repair budget. We save around $150 to cover big costs like trees being trimmed (we spent $2K this summer), furnace maintenance, new window/door, plumbers, etc. This is also helpful to not be overwhelmed when something does happen.

    Good luck and like everyone else said — you can get a FHA loan and you can usually roll your closing costs into your mortgage if you want. Literally, you can spend a few hundred bucks and be in a home. I think we paid just for the attorney and inspections about 5 years ago. We didn’t mind rolling in the cost because over time it was negligible. I’m not a fan of paying extra on my mortgage. The interest rate is lower than my student loans and I also make more in my investments so I would rather pay extra on my loans and invest more for retirement. Plus, the extra payment to the principle is not tax deductible.

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:36 am

      I need to really sit down with CPA and figure out how buying a home will effect our taxes more than anything.

  • Michell November 6, 2010, 7:36 am

    Hey Caitlyn,
    If this is your first home you should look into FHA piggy backed with a rural developement loan which would provide 100% financing. Also look into the Gift of Green which is a class you have to take and they give you $2500.00 towards closing cost. I am not sure when the Gift of Green expires but it is food for thought. I do believe that FHA can give you information about the Gift of Green because you can take the class well before you purchase the home.

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:35 am

      Oh, thanks! We will check this out.

  • christina cadden November 6, 2010, 7:40 am

    I love that show! Make me want to sell our house and start all over. Then I remember all the ups and downs of buying and I am content!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit November 6, 2010, 7:41 am

    So exciting! I can’t wait to be ready to buy a house. I want to travel a lot before that happens though.

  • Emily @ Beyond The TextBook November 6, 2010, 8:15 am

    SOOOOO obsessed with house hunters!!!!!!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) November 6, 2010, 8:23 am

    I love house hunters too! I don’t know what it is, but that show is so addicting. :mrgreen:

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 6, 2010, 8:48 am

    I used to always watch House Hunters at the gym until they changed the channels. 😛 I miss it now!

  • Julia November 6, 2010, 9:53 am

    Hi Caitlin! My husband and I are homeowners/landlords. The pointers I have are brief (I think):
    (1) Create a number that you will not budge on for your house price. It’ very, very smart to base that number of about 25% of your net take home, but some people would say up to 36% is okay. Just think less house = less stress in every way possible. Less cleaning, less in monthly bills, etc.
    (2)Know what taxes will be! Our property taxes add an extra $300 to our mortgage monthly… Also any HOA fees. Finally, know average utilities. In the summer months a $200 electric bill was pretty standard for us.
    (3)Take lifestyle into account. Do you want to live close to your hubs work? Far away? You love the outdoors, so can you live in a smaller (cheaper) home in a safe neighborhood for running? Or a smaller house by great trails or something? (4)Don’t forget your Operation Beautiful philosophy when making this decision. My understanding is that no matter what, it’s your true beauty that counts. Same with a house, it’s what you want in it that counts.
    (5) Please, come up with a list that is reasonable and be (mostly) uncompromising! Know what you can live without (carport/garage, dishwasher, side by side washer dryer) and know what you MUST have. And keep asking for advice on your blog! I’m sure you’ll get all kinds of guidance as you approach this milestone.
    (6) Finally, FHA loans are fine. (We have one) However, looking back my husband and I both admit we would have waited longer and had 20% down. Then you don’t pay PMI and your monthly bills are less overwhelming (and your interest rate is reasonable).

    Okay, that wasn’t brief at all. But hopefully it was helpful.

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 10:34 am

      Thank you so much for this awesome advice!

  • Amber K November 6, 2010, 1:04 pm

    A house and a baby. Ahh EXACTLY what I want!

  • Clare November 6, 2010, 1:51 pm

    20% of the total cost of the house is a good down payment.

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound Weight Loss!!! November 6, 2010, 3:29 pm

    I love House Hunter’s too, watch it almost everyday and now my daughter loves to watch it too. It is very educational and I love seeing all the different kind of houses. We hope to buy our first house in the near future too…..but near the beach in Clearwater. =)

  • Lacey @ Lake Life November 6, 2010, 3:48 pm

    I love regular House Hunters but can’t stand House Hunters International. Do you watch Property Virgins?

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 3:49 pm

      yes! love PV!

  • Susan November 6, 2010, 4:38 pm

    I think because of house prices in your area, FHA would not be a bad way to go. My BF & I thought about doing FHA in Northern CA, but we could not find the house we wanted in that price range. Call banks/lenders in your area to see what kinds of programs they have. We used our credit union since they offered a 5% down conventional loan. They also only charged a flat fee for the loan origination charge, while I believe most lenders charge a % of the loan. We also used a realtor that was part of their “circle” and got a rebate that we used towards closing costs.

    You should get pre-approved before you start looking, too. If you get pre-approved for less than what you were looking at, it can kind of get disappointing. Make sure the lender gives you a breakdown of all the costs. There are lots of things besides the home price that are factored into your monthly mortgage payment and what you’ll need at closing. And just because you’re pre-approved for up to $xxx,xxx doesn’t mean you have to buy a house that costs that much. You and your husband are young, so this probably won’t be your first house, which means you might have some “give” on what your list of must-haves. When we bought our house, we told our realtor this was our die in/retire house so we were going to be very picky about the things we wanted. He was cool with that. So, make sure you have a realtor you like and who listens to what you want. If you have someone showing you houses in areas you don’t want to live or without items that are on your must have list, it’s a waste of time. And even though you have a realtor, look on your own. You won’t be the realtor’s only client. I was the one who found our house.

    You also might want to re-evaluate your budget to see if there are areas where you can save a little more. I know it’s hard. Other than utilities & groceries, we went on a spending lock-down for 4 months before we bought our house. We did allow ourselves dinner out a few times a month and a weekly beer with friends, but that was about it.

    Buying a house is a huge investment (financial, emotional, time-wise), but it’s worth it in the end. Good luck!

    • Caitlin November 6, 2010, 4:48 pm

      i hope youre right about it being worth it!

  • Marlow November 6, 2010, 4:42 pm

    I LOVE House Hunters!! And when we were house shopping, I watched it a ton! My husband and I recently bought a house this past May in Durham, NC. Our house was $150,000, which we purchased with an FHA loan and we needed 3.5% down. We stipulated in our contract that the seller pay ALL closing costs. Since we paid full price for the house (which was priced WAY LOWER than value) the owner was willing to pay the closing costs.

    Some banks offer specific saving accounts for purchasing a home. The money can only be used for that, but the interest is much higher!

    You should also budget anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 dependent on how many houses you end up making offers on for inspections. We got totally burned on one house we were under contract on. We scheduled the termite inspection ($100) the well water inspection ($300) and the home inspection ($500) all on the same day. Only to find out that the house had active termites throughout as well as mold and severe rot in the foundation. We were recommended to walk away, which we did, but you can’t recoup your losses on inspections. We were devastated!

    But we did learn a lot from it and ended up finding our dream home. My husband went in the crawl space with our inspector, and he told him things to look for. From then on, when we went to a house, hubby went in the crawl space first thing!

    Something to think about. Good luck!

  • Joey November 7, 2010, 9:03 am

    My husband lost his job in June & we are now in the process of trying to sell our house & buy a new one in the city where he found a job. It can definitely be overwhelming but I think as long as you take an honest look at your finances & use common sense, you will be fine. Happy home-hunting! 🙂

  • Lisa November 7, 2010, 5:33 pm

    I love House Hunters as well. I’m not as fond of the international version for some reason (which is weird) but I can lose several hours of a day getting sucked into those marathons!

  • Sara @ OurDogBuffy November 8, 2010, 9:30 am

    Buying a home is worth it in the end. Just stressful during the process (get a home inspection before you close)and consider an FHA loan. I think you can put less down that way. Interest rates are AMAZING. I wish we had waited a year … oh well. 5 percent is good too. Best of luck!

  • Jen November 8, 2010, 4:36 pm

    I will be house hunting at the same time as you. But we are definitely playing around looking now.
    I have nothing smart to say about it since I have yet to go through it. However, I do think it’s fun to look at sites like Young House Love, decorno, apartment therapy, etc for design ideas once you move into a new space.

  • Allison K November 8, 2010, 5:23 pm

    So, I’m a few days late in this, but…i wanted to throw my 2-cents into the ring.
    We bought a home in June of 2008 (which, I am kicking myself for now…but too many episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins made me impatient!), and I think the most important aspect of house hunting is deciding what you can afford, prior to getting your mortage approval. I don’t know about now, since the economy tanked AFTER we bought our house, but we decided on a price, with an aproximate mortagage (PITI included–prinicipal,interest,taxes, insurance) that we knew we could comfortably afford, that included all the other expenses that you don’t always think about during the romantic house hunting phase (like moving in and realizing that the previous owner had locked her dog in the master bedroom during move-out…resulting in TOTALLY destroyed carpets from dog pee)that was WAY less than what we got approved for.
    Stick to your guns, and even if you get approved for more than what you set your budet for, don’t even look for houses in that price range.
    I’m glad that my husband refused to even look at houses out of our range, but with in our approval limit..because I totally would have caved and wanted the bigger/nicer/newer etc house.

  • Amanda@RunningOnCoffee December 18, 2010, 4:03 pm

    I love House Hunters. and looking online at local real estate sites and We went to a couple open houses this fall for the first time — in the very early stages of looking for a house. It was helpful to see some real houses (instead of pictures or on tv) to get a feel for what i.e 1400 square feet looks like compared with 1600 square feet. We’re working on building up our down payment fund. I’d love to be able to have at least 10-15% for a down payment if not 20%. Maybe getting a pre-approval for a loan would be good before you get further into the process, because of what another poster said about being self-employed. Credit score will be important too, of course. Our credit scores are in good shape, but we are not yet at the point of getting a loan preapproval. Good luck with the house hunting!

  • Leon Bailey October 22, 2012, 6:33 am

    Great Discussion, thanks for the great information.

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