On the Move – House Hunting in South Carolina

Hello there, did you think I had disappeared? I have tried to blog as much as possible during our big move from Germany to South Carolina but this last leg of the journey has gotten extra crazy. Imagine a husband, a wife, two children, a dog a cat and ten large pieces of luggage in a hotel room on day five. What do you mean that doesn’t sound like the perfect vacation to you?

Okay me neither, so the house hunt is on so we can get the heck out of this hotel as soon as possible.

Since we still have our house in Alabama and since South Carolina will probably be our last stop before my husband retires from the Army we have decided to rent instead of buying.  Other than in Germany we have always bought our homes. We usually go for the fixer uppers because I love doing all the updates and like to be able to get creative. When buying I am looking for potential not a finished product. Rental shopping for me is a little more difficult. I know it will not be a forever home but I still want something nice for the time being. I also know that beyond paint and furniture I am pretty limited to what is already there ( i.e. kitchens and bathrooms are going to have to stay.)

We began the search with lots of driving around to look at all the houses we found online. Some were immediately eliminated because of location, extremely hot looking yards with no trees, busy streets that may take one of the cat’s three remaining legs or maybe a crack house next door. You know, the usual eliminating factors…

This narrowed our search it down to the few we wanted to see on the inside.


I fell in love with this house online, there were no interior shots but the exterior looked perfect and the lot backed up to a lovely lake. The porch across the back had the most amazing view, but the price tag was a little over our budget.



As a seasoned house hunter I know better than take the leap without seeing a houses in person and this one was a perfect example.

While the builder did a great job picking out the lot and finishing the exterior of the house, the inside left much to be desired.

IMG_5177It was filled with strange little things like this odd patch of linoleum in the kitchen, two completely unfinished bedrooms, wood-paneled walls in the two that were finished and a floor plan that just didn’t make sense. These things were not cosmetic! To be honest, I was a bit glad the interior didn’t live up to the exterior because the price really wasn’t in the budget.

The next stop was another house with a lake-view lot and this time way under budget.

a086 IMG_5163

Had I been looking to buy, this house would have been a taker. My husband loved the huge lake lot and the house which looks to have been built in the 1950’s or 60’s was completely original with oak floors throughout.

Unfortunately, completely original also meant a dark original kitchen and original appliances.

IMG_5156Not something I can fix as a renter.

IMG_5162Oh yeah, and this one looked like it may be haunted, just saying…

I guess that means no lake-views for us…

With the first two houses eliminated we were left with the last two houses to choose from.

The first is a rancher, not my favorite from the outside but with a nice big corner lot, in great neighborhood within walking distance to the kid’s school.

exterior 1The interior has lots of space (almost 3000 Sq Ft) and lots of great light.

I just love this room…

interior 1But, the yard is not fenced so we would have to add a fence at our own expense. This would not be a big deal except the house is already at very top of our budget. (My daughter cast her vote for this house because it has two master bedrooms, she is thinking one of them could be her’s.)

The second house is in the same great neighborhood as the first but is farther from the school. That means I’d be dropping off and picking up the kids everyday.

exterior 2This house is slightly smaller than the rancher but still quite large at 2600 Sq Ft. This one gets bonus points for a fenced yard (plus a vote from my son for having a swing set.)

l16914b45-m3xd-w640_h480_q80I give it extra points for the bonus room over the garage which would make a dreamy sewing room.

interior 2On the negative side, I am little concerned that this house does not get a lot of natural light. I asked the property manager if we were free to change the paint colors. She assured me we could so I think some lighter brighter paint could improve the light some.

It also has a nice screened in porch even if there isn’t a lake view.

This house also has a huge garage, while the rancher only had a car port with a storage room.

The biggest perk, the rent is $250 a month less than the rancher.

Now we have two good contenders and a big decision to make. Neither perfect but both have some pretty good pros and only a few cons.This morning we are going to go have a look at the two contender one last time and see if we can come to a final decision.

Which one is your favorite? Feel free to cast your vote!

I’ll let you know later this week which one we decided on and share a full set of “before” photos.


  1. Debbie says:

    Ask if you can repaint the blue shutters on ranch #2……@thatcolorwentoutin1969!

  2. I lean toward the second one! A fenced yard is essential…in your case and for so many people. And don’t forget how important a swing set will be. On the other hand, can you just fence in a portion of the first one? Just enough for kids and dog? I agree, that dining/kitchen is very nice, and the location might be ideal. Wow, it’s a tough one. And then, there is the $$$ issue. It’s always nice to come in under budget and have some wiggle room. Oh Maggie, can’t wait to see which it is and then to see what you do with it!!

  3. Meredith says:

    Definitely number 2! I think the perks definitely outweigh the downsides. Plus, Elizabeth and Iwill love the swing set and porch when we come visit!

  4. So glad you’re making this decision and not me, because I’d just go round and round with these two good options! #1 is really charming and being able to walk the kids to school seems like a huge perk. Maybe the landlord would be willing to deduct a bit of rent if you fenced the yard, since that is a permanent improvement and would be a selling point to the next renter. On the other hand, #2 is also very cute, and it’s tough to argue with the $$. Good luck with your decision!

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