Buying a House with IBC: My Wish List

It’s time to revisit “Buying a House with IBC.” Today I’m back to talk about my wish list as I hunt for a new home. A couple weeks ago I introduced this new series with a post about “House Hunting.” That was a brief how-to guide for beginning the process of buying a home. In case you missed it, you can catch up here.

If you’re new to this series, it came about because several of you suggested that I document my house hunting adventure here in Pittsburgh. (In case you’re not aware that I’m looking to buy a home, you might want to read this post.) Anywho, I loved the idea of documenting the process so much that I decided to make it a series.

In this post, I want to talk about what I’m looking for in a house. As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s a good idea to make a list of what you want in a home. In the comments, one of you called this list “Required and Desired”. I love that! I realize my list may not be helpful to you because what you “require and desire” is likely to be quite different. However, maybe my list will be useful in getting you to think about some things you may not have considered. And, let’s be honest, many of us are curious about what someone else wants in a home. Right?

Okay, with all of that said, let’s get to it!

Buying a House with IBC: My Wish List


This is the thing I’ve struggled with the most – and for a few reasons. As many of you asked in my last post, “Why Pittsburgh?” I find myself asking the same question. Being a blogger, I could live anywhere. How do I know that Pittsburgh is where I’m “supposed” to be? Maybe I’d be happier in Palm Springs, CA, Portland OR, Nashville TN, or (You name the place.). I don’t know. Throughout my life, I’ve sort of let God/the Universe/fate determine my course, and this has never let me down. And for many and varied reasons, life has pointed me to (and put me in) Pittsburgh. I can question that, but I’ve decided to instead accept this season of life with joy and optimism … so Pittsburgh it is!

With that decision made, now my conundrum is where in Pittsburgh. I’m currently looking mostly in the city, in the East End to be specific. (In case you’re not familiar with Pittsburgh, among the specific areas are Highland Park, Shadyside, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, and Bloomfield.) As excited as I am to live in the city, it also comes with disadvantages: smaller lots/yards, parking issues, more noise/traffic, and much higher prices. Because of where I am in life, I think something in the city is best. However, I am looking at a few nearby suburbs, such as Sewickley, Ross, and Shaler Township.

Move-In Ready vs. Fixer-Upper:

The City of Pittsburgh is definitely having a moment, growing, and becoming somewhat trendy, especially in a few of the areas where I’m hunting. A lot of the houses in the city are old brick homes, which I love. I’m finding a mix of old homes that need work and flips by local developers. While you might assume I want a fixer-upper, I’m not so sure. Before the holidays, I almost put an offer on a flipped home. A part of me loves the idea of purchasing a place that’s move-in ready. As much as I love decorating, construction isn’t my forte. Yes, it might be fun to see a home go from old to new, but I’m just not sure I have the skillset or patience to make that happen.

At this point, I’m keeping my options open by looking at both refinished places and older homes. I’m hoping that when I find “the one” (be it refinished or in-need-of-love), I’ll know.

Buying a House with IBC: My Wish List

Required and Desired:

Okay, now for the nitty-gritty. Let’s talk about my required and desired list. When I sent this list to my realtor, I split it into three sections (Must-Have, Want, Icing on the Cake), however, I think it might be easier to just divide it into two. Let’s take a peek…

Outdoor space (with grass, not just deck or slab)
Parking for 2 vehicles (prefer a garage for at least one vehicle)
3 Bedrooms (or two with another space for an office)
2 Baths (preferably 2 ½)
Around 2,000 square feet or more
Older home with character
Single-family home

Large front porch
Large windows/lots of natural light
Woodwork and moldings
Big kitchen open to living space
Master bath
Exposed brick details
Hardwood floors throughout
Walking distance to coffee shop/stores
Functional fireplace
High ceilings

As you’ll notice most of the things on my “required” list are things I can’t change. Being a blogger and someone who is passionate about home design, I realized that there are tons of things you can change about a home and some things you’ll never be able to change. I’m trying to keep these in mind as I hunt, while also being conscious of how much work I want to tackle. Meaning I can easily pint or add moldings, but I don’t want to be rewiring and replacing plumbing.

There is a side of me that wants to rebuild and create a home that’s all mine, but I also love the thought of just moving in, decorating, and enjoying. That’s the struggle. Like I mentioned above, I’m hoping that God/The Universe/fate will give me a sign once “the place” comes along.

Buying a House with IBC: My Wish List

To sum things up, in a perfect world, I’d love a modern farmhouse-style house. White and bright, full of windows. Give me an open floor plan, exposed brick, and lots of unique details. Space for a garden, old wood floors throughout, walking distance to a friendly coffee shop, and a big front porch would be icing on the cake. Can you see it? Do you want to move in, too?

Okay, I realize this post is super long, so I think I’m going to wrap it up for now. I hope this gives you an idea as to what I’m after and how my brain has been working through this process.

I also hope sharing my thoughts helps any of you who are also looking for a home. As I said, I’m aware that everyone’s process and “Required and Desired” lists are different, but maybe this post will spark something you may not have thought about.

Whether you read because you want information or are just curious, I hope you enjoyed part two of “Buying a House with IBC.” Until next time!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links as part of the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that receives a small commission by linking to and other sites at no cost to the readers.

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  • Home inspection at

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, except before finish I am
    reading this great piece of writing to increase my experience.

  • Margaux Ford at

    I appreciate your advice on considering the location when buying a home and the proximity to the place of work and establishments. My husband and I are relocating to the big city in a few months, and we’re looking for our own place. Thanks for mentioning that weighing in the pros and cons of living in the city can help us make a good decision. I think that it’s best to look for a good real estate agent to help us out since they have the expertise and knowledge of the properties in the area. Thanks for the tips!

  • Caitlin at

    Thanks for sharing the Required and Desired lists. I’ve never heard of that but it is very helpful! My husband and I are about to relocate cross country and I used these headers when emailing a realtor last night. It was very good to identify (both for myself and for the realtor) what iss a deal breaker and what our ideal home includes.

  • Debbie at

    I’d move into your to-be house in a heartbeat: any house with a front porch! But I hope you look beyond the rooms or decorating. Is the foundation/roof sound? Plumbing sufficient, electrical up to Code? What will your furniture lay out be and especially important…where does the Christmas tree go? Flipped houses tend to be done fast by people trying for profits, not quality. Buyer beware.

  • Deborah at

    I wish you the best of luck in your house hunting. While reading your wish list I kept picturing Sewickley. Welcome to Pittsburgh! Wonderful place to call home.

  • Erika at

    Yay! Pittsburgh is such a great place to live! The North Hills is such a mix of old and new homes. Part of the charm! Can’t wait to follow you on this journey! Maybe I will see you around the neighborhood!

  • AB at

    Love this – and love that you call out that everyone has different likes/dislikes and wishes/wants. I’m guilty of only making changes to my house that appeal to the next buyer. I’m keeping this to remind me that one style/look doesn’t appeal to everyone! Thx!

  • Kim at

    So excited to follow your adventures.

  • Dave Bush at

    We just bought a fixer upper! It is fun bringing life back to it! It was built 20 years ago lots of oak. I think it would be awesome to see also when you look at a house you taking pictures and you stating what you would do. Your style and mine are very much alike.

  • Stephanie at

    We’re looking to buy a home in the next year or so, so all of this is super helpful for things to think about before we’re in the throws of actually buying it.

    Look forward to hearing more!

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