When you’re surrounded daily by things like Pinterest, Instagram, HGTV, and various shelter magazines, it’s easy to get wrapped-up in a picture perfect dream home fantasy. The perfect white kitchens with quartz countertops, subway tile backsplashes, and uppers to the ceilings; the free-standing vintage-inspired bathtubs; the open-concept floor plans – these are the things we’re trained to think of as dream home necessities. However, these same features might not always been within the tight budgets of expectant buyers. If you’ve found yourself in a predicament in which your caviar dreams are on a cheese and cracker budget, we’re outlining ways in which you can still meet, and in many ways exceed, your ultimate home fantasies.

Expand your search location.

We all know the adage “location, location, location,” but what we often fail to remember is that an ideal location can take on many different forms. While you might have your heart set on walkability to a lovely town center (like our very own Roswell), your budget might not be able to accommodate it. Instead of moping around ruling out any other options, expand your search location. We have the luxury of being in a metro-area with dozens of quaint towns with adorable squares and streets filled with shops and restaurants. Cities like Woodstock, Norcross, and Smyrna offer these same walkable amenities that are a little easier on the budget. Plus, you won’t have to sacrifice property value benefits either. More often than not, these same small towns offer impeccable schools and other perks. All it takes is a little creative thinking when it comes to your ideal location.

Consider your own fixer-upper.

As we have come to learn from Chip and Jo, older homes are often more affordable, and they ultimately don’t have to be the eyesore they might seem during the search. Instead of ignoring older homes, plan a search around them. Look for homes with details like charming transom windows, gorgeous moulding, and expansive porches. If these details are missing, examine your budget and look for ways that you can add your own dream details to an older home. Think about an older home as a blank slate. While the footprint and bones are there, the inside (and often the outside too!) can truly be whatever your heart desires. Create that open floor plan you have in your mind’s eye by taking down a wall or two. Replace the 80s carpet with hardwoods. Build a kitchen that makes your neighbors green with envy. The older home world is your oyster.

Look at different architecture styles.

While you might think you have to have a Craftsman home, chances are that by expanding your style search just a pinch, you might stumble upon a diamond in the rough. We often encourage our clients not to get stuck on one particular house style because there truly are many fish in the housing market sea. This can be especially true if you’re already set on a particular location or in need of something quickly. Be open to finishing your own basement or ditching a basement all together. Look for the beauty of symmetry in a Williamsburg style home or find the character in a Victorian. Another thing to keep in mind? While you might not find your ideal farmhouse style home on the outside, there’s always room for creating this vibe on the inside.

Keep an open-mind.

In reality, all of these tips boil down to keeping an open mind. We would never encourage anyone to let go of their dreams, but we might encourage you to shift them a little. For example, while turn-key homes definitely have their benefit, just think of the possibilities of finding an older home in your prime location and making it your own. Imagine what wonderful neighbors you might have if you expand your search location. You truly never know what opportunities are waiting for you around the corner, and with the right guidance and the right attitude, you’re bound to find them.


If you’re in the market for your dream home, we’d love to help you find it. Contact us for how to get started!