House Hunting: Things I’m Looking For

We’re looking for a house!

When we first moved to Norfolk, we had originally considered assuming a home of one of Ryan’s buddies. The friend was getting out of the Navy, and offered his home to us either at a super affordable rent or even the possibility of assuming his VA loan rate. It had the potential to be extremely mutually beneficial.

Once we were there and getting settled in, we realized it wasn’t going to work out.

We ended up getting approved for military housing- a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom townhome. This was absolutely perfect, at the moment, and we jumped at the opportunity.

Now that we’ve been there a few months, we know the area a little better, and we know what we want (and don’t want) in a house. Especially with a baby on the way… we are ready to buy.

These are the things I want when looking for a house.


Layout is more important than square footage. To some degree, sure, a small house is small. But a good layout can make a small house feel bigger and a big out with a crummy layout is just wasted space. I’m not paying for unusable space. 

One of the places we see a lot of unusable space is in the kitchen. There will be an entire kitchen of cupboard doors, but it’s important to open them and see exactly how useful they are. Can they fit an entire cookie sheet? Do pans stack? Can the doors close with a full sized mixing bowl inside? Be mindful of corners, which become lost traps for containers.

Overall I like open concept, but with designated areas. I don’t want a big studio, but I would still like an area with lots of natural lighting filtering throughout the house. I don’t want to question if I’m in the kitchen, living room, or dining room.

Outdoor Space:

Front Porch. The bigger the better. At minimum, there needs to be an awning so I do get rained up when I’m unlocking the door, but ideally there is room for two chairs and a little table that can be styled for each season. 

Back patio or sunroom. Fully screened, cat proof, latching door. 

The back yard being fully fenced is ideal.

Attached garage. Or even a detached garage. But none of this backyard storage unit that can’t be used to store my car on the nightly. I am not a fan of “finished” garages. If I have a garage, I want to park in it. And put the kitty pans out there. There’s no purpose of detached garages if I still have to walk through the rain to get in the house.

Interior Design:

I am not a fan of textured walls and ceilings. This is not the end of the world, it’s just ugly and not something worth changing so we’d be stuck dealing with it. We’d like a home that is move in ready, but not too “finished” where we can’t add personalization. We definitely will paint, and add some character to make it ours.

One non-negotiable is a window over the kitchen sink for clean lighting. I can’t have a fresh kitchen without natural lighting.

Although Ryan hates carpet, I like carpet in the bedrooms. We agreed that we would like wood or laminant everywhere else.

Room Requirements:

There needs to be a “main” bathroom for guests, then two more elsewhere. That would mean one bathroom for the kids, and one bathroom, preferable an en-suite, for us.

Another detail that is not a dealbreaker- we like having the separate toilet/shower “water closet” in the primary bathroom. That way we can close off the toilet when showering or getting ready at the vanity.

Kiddo wants a full or queen bed to fit in her room, plus her desk and bookshelves. Right now she has a twin and it is still very tight.

We need a laundry room with functional space. I’d prefer the ability to add storage, and table or hanging options.

Can we find it? I bet we can! The Hampton Roads area has a constant flow of military families coming and going, which keeps the housing market constantly changing. We have so many areas to consider and are looking forward to touring some homes.


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