It has begun.
As some of you may know from the previous post
We have cancelled our wedding
and will be putting that money towards a down payment instead.

Now, we are “ready.”
We have put on our house hunting hats on!
Although…I’ll admit, sometimes I wish
I could trade these house hunting hats in
for a genie lamp or a pot of gold!

Because if a genie was granting my every wish for our first family home
…then YES, I would ask for a pool, walk-in closets (plural),
a kitchen that cleaned itself, and everything my heart desires!



I have not found that magic lamp nor the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

(I mean how can I? When it barely rains in California, right?!
Yeah…that must be why I can’t find the pot of gold!)

All jokes aside, we remain happy in this 
home buying process.
Because we have sat down and weighed heavily on our needs over our wants.

In the end of it all, we want to turn
a house into a home. A home to foster our growing family.


The truth is…
We already feel grateful to be purchasing
In the beautiful Southern California!




Speaking of Southern California,
Did you know that I grew up in here?
I grew up in Orange County, and now live Los Angeles County.


Brett and I have lived in 4 different cities of Los Angeles county within 5 years.
What is the biggest difference between these cities
We have lived in? EVERYTHING.

Slightly kidding, but in all honesty,
That is the beauty of Southern California.


Every city and every neighborhood will have a different feel to it.
Our ideal location in our early 20’s is TOTALLY different
Than our ideal location today, as our family continues to grow.

We mapped out all of our locations.
Locations we have lived in and locations we have wondered about.
These are all of our potential locations in Southern California for our first family home!


Orange County

Tiffanie Anne Blog - Dapper Dayest. 2015

I absolutely loved growing up in Orange County!
I grew up with a Disneyland annual pass since I was 4 years old.
Weekly family dinners at “the park” aka Disneyland was normal.
…and you bet I continued this tradition when Brett + I started dating.
Yes…I convinced him to get an annual pass too…
Shushing Face on Emojipedia 5.0

I did homework at the beach.
I truly felt that I was exposed to so many great
opportunities growing up, a
t school and outside of school,
because my community was great!
I want the same for our family.

So of course, I put O.C. on the table!
…but unfortunately, Brett’s career in entertainment is in Los Angeles.
And I absolutely love my job in Malibu!
Sorry, Orange County, not this time.





Now this is the location where Brett and I thrived in our early 20’s.
We both met working in entertainment here.
We had many dates around the city that never sleeps.
We especially miss the endless amount of options of food all around the clock in Hollywood!

est. 2013

We looked at homes in the area on Open Listings and what we quickly realized what was


We want a good school district for our daughter.


Thankfully, Open Listings provides that information for you!
When you scroll down a listing, you will notice ratings for the schools around that area.
Open Listings gathers this information from a company called, Niche.

I like how they grade local schools, because it is a combination of

After seeing how reliable and authentic Niche was in grading local schools,
We took out our notebook!

(Yep, we had a notebook just for this journey! We highly recommend it because there are
a lot of notes to take when you are looking at multiple homes!)

Schools around Hollywood:


You can see more than just the school’s grade. You can also see how it is ranked in the county, state, and more on Open Listings!

The Hollywood schools did not seem amazing, and it’s hard to imagine spending about $600K for C grade schools, but let’s compare it with another city we are interested in moving to…



When we lived here, our living room view was of Warner Bros studio.
We often would see Jay Leno driving down our street.
It was a great city that was filled with those who work in Hollywood,
Without the hustle and bustle and busyness of Hollywood.


This would be Brett’s ideal place for our family.
The downside is that I work in Malibu. My commute was about 1.5 – 2 hours one way.
This was SO hard when I went back to work after 4 months of maternity leave. I was not ready to leave Tenley, but financially, we didn’t really have a choice.


Today, Burbank is still on the plate, because we both could see us raising our growing family here.
So, we looked up the date on the local schools in Burbank:


This was a lot better than the data in Hollywood. Now let’s compare it to our last city we are thinking of moving to!





This is currently where we live.
We decided to move here because
It was closer to my work, but then it now means that Brett is the is the one that commutes 1.5 hours one way.


Oh…LA traffic.
Without LA traffic (which is never…okay, maybe at like 3 am.)
The commute from Malibu to Hollywood would only be about 30-45 minutes away.
Every other time is just a nightmare.


We love living here because we go to the beach all the time.
It’s quieter, it is less busy, I can stop in the middle of the street
and hear the ocean and birds, not cars. I absolutely love that!
On my daily commute, I sometimes see deer crossing too.
Now that is a big change from seeing Jay Leno in Burbank on our street!

I realized I am not much of a “city” person.
Good thing, Brett’s ideal location is to stay in Southern California!


Here was the data on the schools in Malibu:


Malibu seemed to have the best schools out of the areas we are considering.

Hollywood’s Elementary School:

#673 in LA County

Burbank’s Elementary School:
#217 in LA County

Malibu’s Elementary School:
#67 in LA County


This may seem like only one little factor in deciding
the location of our first family home, but for our family
EDUCATION means a lot to us.


We discussed it and realized that education outweighs
many of the other factors in buying a home.
We are so glad that we were able to research
this information on Open Listings website!
It was extremely helpful.



So, we have decided


we are here to stay!



See what else made it on our list of wants and needs for our first family home!
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[[ NOTE ]]
I debated about whether I should document this journey of buying a home,
but after two weeks in this process…I felt that it was something to share.
Mainly because, I WAS CLUELUESS and am still learning a lot!
As “happy” as I am to be taking this next step, there is a lot that goes into this process! I hope sharing this journey will help you in your home buying process or provide some perspective. Or maybe, just pure entertainment for you. Whatever tickles your fancy.

*  *  *  *  *  *

This post is in partnership with Open Listings. All opinions expressed are my own.
I only recommend services and products that I truly believe in.

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  1. Malibu sounds like a great place to stay and raise your daughter! But those commutes- yikes! I don’t envy the traffic that’s for sure.

  2. There is so much to think about when buying a home. Congrats on cancelling the wedding and using the money to buy a home. My husband and I had a small ceremony that cost almost nothing.

  3. Good for you for putting in good research and weighing out your needs and wants. Buying a home is so fun and also soooo stressful. Make the most of it! I recently visited SoCal and loved it so much.

  4. How exciting! I’ve made several moving decisions based on the school systems as well, and it’s always worth it. Enjoy!

  5. Hi Tiffanie- I came across your blog via Open Listing’s Linked In post today. I work for a company that helps people with their down payment – thought you might want to check this out…

    Btw- we have partners that can work with different fixtures, whether you have 5%, 10% or 15% saved… but basically the program brings you up to 20% without a loan. Let me know if you have questions, just thought it was something you might want to check out!

  6. Malibu sounds beautiful! We were trying to buy a home here in Denver recently and decided to wait . We were getting tired of houses being sold before we could even look at them !

  7. Congratulations! We just bought our first house three years ago and it was SOO intimidating! My best advice is to put space and location over style. You have style. You can make the house beautiful, but you can save so much money buying something that just needs a little love!