One good thing about no realtor on house #1–you don’t have to pretend you like it! There were some good points (a large kitchen was not one of them) but we weren’t in love with it.
The second house really was the best, location-wise. It was moments away from downtown, shopping and entertainment and character can be a very good thing in the right house. The kitchen was kinda wonky though, and very cramped, and the toilet sitting in the middle of the bedroom certainly didn’t help matters.
House #3 we wanted to like. It, too, was close to a lot of things we wouldn’t mind being close to but the backyard was practically non-existent (the patio had a half-wall to keep you from falling down a short cliff) and it was tough to get a reading on a place when it’s so. very. messy. And that driveway was scary. The landlord was a cool guy, though, so it’s tough that it just wasn’t going to be a good place for us.