Manda Shine bought the Johnston townhome where she lives with her husband, Dan, last year.
“Before that, I was renting a house on Euclid, and it wasn’t a great situation,” Shine says. “The house was really small, and renting just always felt kind of temporary. I knew I wanted to own.”
While Shine may have been certain she wanted to own a home, she didn’t go into the house-hunting process with a lot of biases for one neighborhood over another.
“I wasn’t settled on any particular area I wanted to live, so I looked at places all over Des Moines and Johnston,” she says.
After a lengthy process of whittling down options based on a combination of location, price and size, their decision ultimately came down to reputation.
Eventually, the Shines settled on their three-bedroom, two-bath Johnston townhome. The two-level home features an open living area and kitchen on the main floor, along with the master bedroom, full bathroom and a second bedroom that the Shines have converted into an office. The kitchen has an island and a wide expanse of counter space, and the main floor features both north and south-facing windows, making for a space that’s well illuminated by natural light during the day.
The bottom level houses the guest bedroom, second bath, washroom and a smaller living area. There’s also access to the two-car garage where Dan stores his tools. More south-facing windows provide light during the day, and a sliding door opens out on the backyard and easy access to a greenbelt.
The townhome is also situated close to the interstate, which was a big selling point for Manda, who works as a diamond buyer in West Des Moines.
“From where I am, I can get to work in under 20 minutes, and that was important to me. I love the neighborhood, but didn’t want to spend all day in the car to get home,” she says.