Tools for House Hunting

We’re definitely still dealing with the stress of house hunting. I thought I’d share some of the tools that have helped us along the way (in addition to our Realtor and loan officer, who have been awesome).

1. Wells Fargo’s “How Much Can I Borrow” calculator

One of the graphs on the “How Much Can I Borrow” calculator.

This nifty interactive resource calculates your debt-to-income ratio in order to estimate how much you can borrow for your mortgage.

It was really accurate for us – after I realized that cell phone bills and the like do not count as debt.

2. Wells Fargo’s “How Much Will My Mortgage Payments Be” Calculator

It’s one thing to figure out what the bank will loan you, it’s entirely different to figure out what you can afford. That’s why we used this calculator. It factors interest, property tax, home insurance, and mortgage insurance into your monthly payment. Your loan officer can verify these numbers. They’ve been pretty accurate for us!

3. Redfin & Zillow

These housing search engines allow you to browse through listings according to your criteria. They are helpful to get an idea of what you’re looking for in a house and to see what is available in your intended price range.

There are some limitations with these resources. A lot of the listings are old and some are off the market by the time you see them. Also, neither of these sites are a comprehensive list of available houses. Once you begin working with a Realtor, you will have a much more inclusive list of options.

4. Apartment Therapy

Looking at houses makes me anxious to be done with apartment living. Apartment therapy (along with my own 5 Ways to Thrive in an Apartment) helps me stay sane in my rented space. 

Do you have any house-hunting resources?


The Stress of House Hunting

Riel and I are approaching our second year of apartment living. (Check out our first apartment and some ways we make apartment living work for us). We are looking into investing in real estate instead of throwing money at a rental.

Everyone says to expect stress while looking for a home. And we expected it. As it turns out, expecting stress doesn’t prevent it. There are so many decisions to make…

  • Buy now or save up more
  • Big house in bad neighborhood or small house in nice neighborhood
  • Type of financing
  • Can we cope with busy streets?
  • Second vehicle (because Riel will no longer be able to walk to work)
  • Procuring appliances
  • Everything else I’m forgetting

Ack! I can barely keep it all straight. Luckily, we don’t need to move right away. Our apartment only requires a month’s notice, so we can wait if need be.

All this is in addition to our other March madness (read about it here).

Along with our second year of apartment living, we are reaching our second wedding anniversary. It’s been an adventure and I don’t regret a moment! We’re flying to NYC in a few weeks to celebrate. That’s a bit stressful too, but not all stress is bad stress.

Meanwhile, we’re trying to repair some damage Sophie did to our apartment. She ate the drywall. Here Riel is priming the spot to be patched:


We’re excited about how well it’s turning out. It’s almost impossible to tell Godzilla-puppy tore off part of the wall. We can’t wait to have a house with a yard so she can put that energy to good use!

What’s your best house-hunting advice?