My grandfather says there are three rules of real estate: location, location, location. There’s a fourth rule, one we forgot when we bought our new old house: you should see a house before you buy it.

We tried to do this house-buying thing like practical people. When we found out we were moving to  Dayton, Ohio–a new city in a new state–we watched real estate listings for months, crunched numbers, and made lists of what we wanted (by we, I mean me, but Kyle was a good sport about it all).

Then we came to Dayton. We had three days to find a house, and we saw more than 30 houses in five very distinct neighborhoods. One of my favorite things about Dayton is the diversity of lifestyles it offers–urban, suburban, rural–within the metro area, but it doesn’t make decision-making easy. On our last night in Dayton, we went to bed completely confused.

I’m going to minimize the logistics of the flight back, but suffice it to say that somewhere between entering Dayton’s airport and exiting Austin’s, we:

–made an offer on a house

–found out someone had beat us with a cash offer

–found another house in the same neighborhood at a ridiculously low price

–told our real estate agent to make an offer

Our real estate agent is awesome, so he talked us down from absolute crazy, and told us he’d take a look at the place and report back before he’d let us buy. His diplomatic response, after seeing it? “We’ll, I’d say this place is going to be a labor of love. It’s not something I’d want to take on unless I was planning to live in a place for a long, long time.”

And then we made an offer. And we got it. And the adventure began.

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