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Just Moved: Julie & Jason

This suburban-dwelling couple traded their white picket fence for a condo closer to the city -- they even started biking to work! Find out how much they paid for this sweet location after the jump.

Location: Denver, Colorado
Setup: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms
House Style: Contemporary townhouse
Square Footage: 1,480
Price Paid: $480,000
The Deal: $324/ sq. ft.

How long were you looking?
Well over a year, although only four months of that could be dubbed "seriously." We spent a long time researching the areas we wanted to live in, so when our old house went on the market we could move quickly and target our search more effectively. We're glad we did the footwork in advance, though -- we avoided going under contract while our house was on the market so we wouldn't be stuck with two mortgages. When our house finally sold, we only had three weeks to find a new place!

How many homes did you visit and look at?
Approximately 30, ranging from 1,000-sq.-ft. lofts to 2,500-sq.-ft. Victorian-style, single-family, detached homes.

What was the hardest part about finding your new home?
Deciding how much we were willing to compromise. Our first home was a new construction, and we were spoiled by having new everything -- new appliances, floors, paint, everything. Because we were moving into a more highly desired area, we couldn't be quite as picky for our second home. It was also tough to find a place in our price range that had a living room big enough for a grand piano!

What was the best part?
Seeing a range of sizes and styles of homes. In some ways, it made compromising easier because we could see how other people were living in the spaces we looked at and get ideas about how we could adapt.

Was it hard to compromise and find a home you both loved?
Definitely -- I was more easily swayed by the look of a house and Jason was more of a stickler on price. I wanted an updated kitchen in a home where we could have guests right off the bat. Jason was willing to spend a little bit more because the location was perfect, but he also wanted to take on more projects to save money. I guess I won in the end, because we got a new townhouse. We haven't regretted it yet.

Do you have any advice for Nesties who are still looking for their first home?
Treat it like the business transaction it is. A lot of people get easily attached to homes, and then suddenly all a home's flaws are overlooked because of that emotional connection. But those flaws can come back to haunt you -- decaying pipes, out-of-date electrical systems, bad construction, a location with poor resale, or even a floor plan that doesn't quite meet your needs -- and they're harder to overlook when the honeymoon period is over and it's affecting the well-being of your marriage and your pocketbook. Objectively evaluate your wants and needs and make sure you're not going to be stuck in a house you hate just because of the fabulous stainless-steel convection oven.

What is your favorite thing about your new home and what's unique about it?
We love our home, but there's probably a lot of places just like it. Our favorite feature of the house is where it is -- we have a great city view and are just close enough to walk to downtown, but just far enough away that we have a quiet neighborhood and no drunken revelers who wander onto our porch. Jason rides his bike to work. We can walk to hundreds of restaurants or to see a show and we’re saving a ton of money on gas. We couldn't say that about the suburbs.

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-- Caitlin Losey

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