The following post is sponsored by HGTV’s House Hunters, aka one of my most favorite shows that doesn’t involve Glee Clubs.

Mike and I were house hunting for three years. Three long, ridiculous years. We were looking for a home so long that if our story was featured on House Hunters it would have been a six part mini series.

My mom actually got us hooked on House Hunters when we began thinking about buying a house. At first it was fun to look at other people’s homes (a major guilty-pleasure of mine), but once we started going out into the wilds of the Southern California real estate market, we found ourselves referring back to episodes of the show.

Heather: OH this upstairs loft area looks just like the space from the episode with that cute young couple in Miami!
Mike: I really want a room I can make my own, like that guy from the Seattle show.

Eventually we started using actual important things from HH – we were actually learning, who knew? And there were three important points that we applied to every house we looked at.

1. Did the house contain our biggest priorities?
Making a list of exactly what we wanted, and then prioritizing that list, was key. It’s so easy to get caught up in things you want but don’t need. Ten bedrooms! A giant backyard with three pools! A golden fountain that forever bubbles with melty chocolate! I want! I want! And then you start looking and find that you can have this but not that, one thing but not another. The show is a major lesson in priorities.

2. Dream homes can hide under non-dreamy exteriors.
It’s important to be open-minded when looking for a new place. As we often see on the show, a home that doesn’t seem like a good match initially often ends up being the buyer’s new dream home. It’s sort of like in a romantic comedy where at first Reese Witherspoon can’t stand Ryan Reynolds because he acts arrogant, but then she finds out he cries during romantic movies and helps out disadvantaged children. BAM – he turns out to be her dream guy! That’s totally what happened to us with our home. It had an exterior and backyard that were different from what we’d imagined, but once we got to know it better we saw that it was perfect for us! Seriously, this house would cry at romantic movies if it could. Ryan Reynolds still looks better shirtless, though.

3. Not everything can be fixed with a little paint.
House Hunters also taught me the difference between what is an actual serious problem with a house, and what was not a big deal, yo. People often go into a home and write it off because they don’t like the wall color or think the fixtures are straight out of a 1980s time warp. That’s the wrong way to look at it, though – paint and fixtures can be changed fairly easily. On the other hand, people often ignore things that could be a big deal, like cracks in the ceiling or water damage spots. Buying a place without checking into warning signs may leave you with a major problem that costs mucho dinero to fix-o.

The season premiere of House Hunters is February 16th at 10:30/9:30 central on HGTV, and I will be live-tweeting it with some other faboo ladies. ANNNNDDD I am going to be giving away an iPad! Yup, a shiny new iPad just for one of you via HGTV,  pre-loaded with their awesome HGTV to GO iPad app. I’ll have all the details for that next week. Get excited!