Place your bets: Chicago mom says house hunting is like playing roulette

In 2004, we were young and risky. Buying our first home in a flush-filled, pre-bubble market we paid like 99 cents down and had the keys to our shiny new home in Skokie, Illinois. Our three bedroom slice of heaven was perfect for us.

Until, suddenly, it wasn’t.

Overwrought with a multitude of “stuff” accumulated over nearly 10 years and now four kids later, we’ve known for a while that we’ve literally outgrown our home.

When piles of old clothing bins took over what once was our laundry space, when we began timing everyone in the bathroom in the mornings (We’re all freaked out by the basement bathroom) and when I may have had a meltdown about fitting a sleepover bed in my daughter’s overly stuffed bedroom – we finally gave in and started our search, nearly one year ago.

To say that the market is frustrating right now is an understatement. Either there is a plethora of houses just like ours (great news for selling – not) or there are million dollar homes that are “well-priced” at only in the 800K’s or 900K’s. There’s not much in between, at least in our neighborhood. Throw in some lovely foreclosures that are lowering our sell-ability and wow, what a fun game.

As soon as something exciting pops on the market, the race begins. 16 people rush to get an appointment, 10 make offers, three enter a bidding war over it and you end up crying over a cup of tea at the end of the night in the kitchen.

Wash, rinse and repeat.

As the holiday season ends and we get back into the looking phase, my heart and stomach don’t know how much longer they can take this. I want to provide more for my family – more space, more storage and maybe even a heavenly master bath for us – but my kids often ask why we need to move. Creatures of habit and owners of ‘less is more’ attitudes, I am proud that my kids don’t care that we’re on top of each other and that we can’t save a thing because there’s just no place else to put it!

But, I still want more – I pine for kitchen cabinets that don’t explode when I open them, a bedroom that doesn’t allow me to hear my son’s phone conversations through the wall and oh, what I wouldn’t do for a garage?!

So, onward we go on this family journey. Looking for love in all the wrong places, hoping to find a suitable mate for our family. Follow us on our journey as we play The Real Estate Game along with so many other people around the country trying to pick up the mess.

 Anyone else out there playing?? What's your experience been like?
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