Tuesday, April 10, 2012

House Hunters: Arizona Edition!

 I thought it might be fun to keep a photo journey of our house buying experience that not only lets us share the homes we're visiting, but also help us keep a record of the pros and cons of each place that we've seen. One of these homes may be in fact the one we buy! See if you can guess :)

Monday: Home #1
This home was more of a Mediterranean style, with a boxy exterior an open walkway up to the front door. It has a beautiful front courtyard area.

Inside was very much a blank slate - all white walls! There was an interesting southwestern style fireplace and a very unique layout. Two "masters" were downstairs, both with a walk in closet and attached bath.

The selling feature of this house was definitely the huge outdoor space. Because it's a corner lot, the yard is expansive, with plenty of room to put your own spin on it. The bougainvillea were beautiful and there was even a pond already in place (which was right up Ed's alley). And, of course, the beautiful pool.

The kitchen was a good size, with dual ovens and stone countertops. 

Upstairs was a bit odd, with a hallway that had shutters which could be opened to the room below (with iron railings in place for safety), and two small rooms upstairs. 

There was also an upstairs patio, which offered a great view. 

Backyard is huge and feels a bit private
Unique layout
Two master backs
Double oven in kitchen
Separate dining/living area
Location!! (far north in Awatukee, which is ideal) and very cute location

Layout is a bit awkward
Bank owned, so it's sold as is
Needs a lot of work
Master downstairs/upstairs not as usable
High HOA fee (near golf course)

Monday: Home #2
This home had a very beautiful (in my opinion) exterior and was recently completely remodeled inside (a "flipped" home). It's currently unoccupied. 

You come into a very open formal living/dining area, with everything freshly painted.

On one hand, the backyard is gorgeous, with a huge blooming tree, a big space, and a very nice pool. On the very downside, the back wall is lower, and just beyond is a very busy street (Ray) with a shopping complex, including Target, just on the other side. 

 The kitchen, also newly done, is beautiful and an excellent amount of space. Love.

The master has a balcony and, if you look to the left, the view is quite pretty. Straight ahead is, well, the shopping complex and busy road.

The view from the bathtub of the pretty pool and tree, but also lots of cars.

Would need very little work done - everything's remodeled
Very big indoor space that seems used in the right way.
Beautiful kitchen.
Big backyard space.
Fireplace in the family room.
Nice entryway/stairs.
Nice sized master bedroom/bathroom
Close to lots of stores

Location! Very busy street in back, with lots of street noise and lack of privacy
A "flipped" home, so some of the workmanship might not be as nice as if it had been done by a family living there.
Already remodeled, so you are paying for that in the price, and it's not exactly how we would have done it.

Monday: House #3

This home is on the smaller size, compared to some of the others, and is 3 houses down from the edge of the subdivision (and a busier street) but the neighborhood itself is lovely. No HOA, so we'd have freedom of painting the outside. 

A huge selling feature of this home is that big, beautiful tree. It blocks the busier street both from the yard and from the upstairs and is just heavenly to look at. 

There's a nice outdoor patio for meals outside that we'd take full advantage of.

An interesting wet bar - not sure we'd keep this forever, but it does add storage.

 The kitchen is on the smaller size, but features beautiful countertops and flooring, and very nice cabinets. It also has a pantry, which makes the fewer cabinets less of an issue. We love the eat in kitchen nook and it's connection to the family room.

The fireplace we love. It's style is very us, and having it in the living room is a huge perk. The lighting in this room is great, and we also really like the windows off the dining room.

Upstairs is a very reasonably spaced master bedroom, with the vaulted ceiling. 

There's a great deck off the master, with a nice view of the very pretty tree. 

Nice layout
Updated countertops in kitchen (kitchen in general very pretty)
Beautiful fireplace in living room
Right number of rooms
Nice office
Backyard space very pretty
Nice windows
Brand new dual AC units

Near a busy street (less privacy and some street noise)
On the smaller size
Smaller rooms downstairs (kitchen, family room, dining room, living room are all a bit smaller than others we've seen)
Another street of homes starts perpendicular to the house (so headlights might sometimes shine in front windows)

Monday: House #4
I liked the added sign to the realtor post :).

The outside was nice and on a very quiet street. 

The banister and overall layout of the home was very nice, though carpets looked a bit worn and needed to be replaced. 

The family room, in contrast, was gorgeous. Beautiful new floors and a great size. 
No fireplace, but it's always pretty warm in Arizona anyways. 

 We also really liked the kitchen - the size was bigger than the last one, and the countertops were very nice. The appliances were older and would need to be replaced eventually.

Outside was a nice pool, but not much else. The back of the house backed up onto a very busy street. Upstairs the master had a deck but the view of the busy street made it seem pretty unusable. You could also see the very big loud dogs in the home next door - not a plus. 

Great layout and overall space
New countertop in kitchen and new hardwood flooring in family room
Right number of rooms
Nice stairs
On a nice street in the front

Located on a busy street, making lots of street noise and visually unappealing
Loud dogs next door
Needs new carpet throughout most of the house
Would eventually need some updates

So, that's it! Day one of our house hunt. One house we tried to visit had apparently been sold while we were on our way there, and another home that we really liked has an owner who's having second thoughts about selling, so we couldn't see it (we still might be able to tomorrow). So, would you make an offer on any of these? Do you think we made an offer? What do you look for in a house?


  1. They all look nice to me, though the downstairs master doesn't sound like quite as good a fit for my bug-fearing friend. :) We thought a lot about window orientation/exposure when buying a house, though arguably that matters more in Canada than a sunny place like Arizona. I will say that carpets (especially ones you plan to replace/remove eventually) are fantastic for little kids -- much more forgiving and less slippery than wooden floors. I wish the house we purchased had more carpets and less hardwood! If you're getting a place with a pool or pond, maybe think about how easily you could fence them in to protect kids; every time we saw water features like ponds or streams our first thought was "how much will that cost to remove?" That said, once our boys are a little older, we could totally go for a hottub. :) Good luck to both of you!

  2. Thanks for the insight, Hilary! That's funny what you said about considering exposure. That's actually a huge thing to consider here, but probably for the opposite reason. North/South exposure is really popular to avoid getting that extra heat from direct sunlight. Good advice about the flooring - it seems most places are harder surfaces downstairs and carpet upstairs, so at least it will be carpet in future kids rooms :). Fencing will definitely be a must, if we get a place with a pool. We keep going back and forth about having one - we've been told they're life saving in the summers, but that safety factor is worrisome.

    How is your new home? When will you be moving? Such an exciting time :D.

  3. You seemed to speak the most positively about House #3 - just an insight.