We want to avoid old houses because they might not be the most hurricane resistant or might have old pieces stuck together with bubble gum and duct tape that'll give out as soon as we sign the papers.
We want to avoid short sales because we need to close before December 1 in order to get the Federal $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers.
We want to avoid bank-owned properties because you never know what horrible spiteful thing the owners did before they left. At the very least, you can assume you'll need to replace the carpet and supply your own appliances.
What's that leave? Not much in our price range. Especially when we had every intention of buying a house just big enough for our hypothetical family and never moving. Now we're looking at places that make me think, "good enough for now."
Am I going to make it through this process without having a complete breakdown? I give myself 4:1 odds.