We started looking at houses a couple of months ago. I'll spare you the long, drawn out process and not tell you about how awful a lot were and how odd it was to have sellers turn down opportunities to show their houses to buyers. For being still in the middle of a housing sale melt-down, people have some strange ideas about what their properties are worth and how accommodating they should (or shouldn't) be.
It's enough to say we looked at well over 30 houses and probably closer to 50. Some had floor plans that didn't work for us (too chopped up for our taste), or were much too big, or too dated in a bad way (I'm looking at you, mirrored walls in dining rooms), or clearly had had water damage in the basement (first thing I checked). Some had real potential for us (an amazing Brady Bunch-style California split level that was horribly overpriced and someone else bought it at that crazy high price, or a great split entry ranch that was just wonderful except for the neighborhood), and of course we saw a couple owned by smokers (although two out of all those houses is not bad).
About three weeks ago, I ran across one that seemed to have everything we wanted: cozy but not a chopped up floor plan, high ceilings in at least one of the living areas, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and small enough (just over 1600 square feet). The price was a bit high but the neighborhood is fantastic and homes have sold well there for years. We saw it the Sunday before we left for Rome and put in an offer the next day. Although it took the entire week, and involved three rounds of counter-offers, the seller accepted our final offer on Friday.
If you click here, you can see some not very good pictures of the house. I pulled these from the listing and I hope to get better ones on Saturday during the inspection.