We went to a for-sale-by-owner open house today and walked away with a contract! We had been looking near my husband's school, but wandered into an adjacent area that averages $100,000 more. What we found was a 1600 square foot ranch/farmhouse priced just within our budget. It's old enough to have charming cottage details such as solid wood doors and original glass knobs, but new enough for a sunny, open floor plan. What's more--it's completely and totally renovated! The owners have a granite business, and the fixtures and counters are above the ordinary. (Trust me, I know Home Depot's renovator specials!) I never in a million years thought we could afford a house in such a nice area, much less one that doesn't require any work.
There is much rejoicing in our family tonight.