Chris Kittrell and Carrie Dunton’s home search almost disrupted Kittrell’s plans to propose.
The couple had scheduled a call with their real estate agent the same day Kittrell planned to pop the question. He contacted Collette McDonald with Re/Max Around Atlanta and asked her to come up with an excuse and postpone the call.
The proposal happened, and the couple plans to get married in May. Kittrell, 33, an accountant, and Dunton, 29, who works in sales for a trade show organizer, chatted about their home in Chamblee.
Q: Where were you living previously?
Chris: We were renting a two-bedroom apartment in Vinings.
Q: What were you finding on the market?
Chris: A lot of older houses that needed a lot of renovations.
Carrie: Low ceilings, small closets, everything seemed cramped. It was not worth giving up the cheap rent. It was fun in the beginning going to the open houses. Once we got a little more serious, it got a little frustrating. There seemed to be nothing within our price range (up to $350,000) that fit our requirements.
Q: What were you looking for in a home?
Chris: We wanted large rooms, high ceilings, a nice place to have a lot of people over. We wanted a move-in-ready house where we didn’t have to put in a lot of time and money. That’s how we decided on this one. It was in great condition.
Q: How did you find the house?
Carrie: Chris found it online late one night after I had looked for two hours. I was like, “I’m done with this.” He said, “Maybe you’ll like this one.” It was quite a bit out of our price range, but we thought, “Why not, maybe we’ll give it a shot?”
Q: What did you think when you saw it?
Carrie: It’s Tuscan-style and has a really nice first impression. Some ceilings are 20 feet tall. Then the back porch has an outdoor fireplace. What made it for me was to have a sunroom.
Q: Did you put in an offer right away?
Chris: The house had been on and off the market for two years. (The seller) had just listed it for a reduced price. I don’t think it was going to stay long at that price.
Q: What did you learn about negotiating the price?
Carrie: I didn’t understand where you should start your negotiations. I didn’t want to make someone feel offended, but at the same time it’s a buyer’s market so we wanted to get the best deal.
Chris: It’s all business. Set a number that’s your maximum and don’t go over it. Depend on your agent. They have a much better idea of the local market (including sales data). Be willing to walk away.
Carrie: It was the house for us. At the same time, I had the understanding that if it doesn’t work out, it’s not meant to be your house.
Q: Have you made any changes since moving in?
Chris: We put in hardwood floors in the family room where there was carpet.
Carrie: We sanded and stained the (existing) hardwood floors. It was in such good shape that nothing was in dire need of changing. We try to be smart and make sure we do it at our own pace so that we don’t feel uncomfortable with our finances.
Q: What’s a favorite memory in the home so far?
Carrie: We had a Christmas party here with both of our families. Everybody had a great time. We needed a big dining room for holidays. There’s plenty of room. It’s not lacking at all.
At a glance
Chris Kittrell and Carrie Dunton’s home, built in 1988 in Chamblee, has four bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths and about 3,650 square feet. They bought it in April 2012. Homes in the area range from the high $200,000s to high $300,000s.