As much as we loved our first house, we knew it wouldn’t work for us in the long haul — the house lacked storage (no garage), we were sick of sharing walls, and we had essentially reached the maximum potential in the space.
Going into it, we had always viewed this house as a 3-5 year home. We are big believers in the “starter” house; they provide the perfect opportunity to get a feel for what you like and don’t like, and define exactly what you want/need in a long-term house. Our first house also provided some opportunities for improvements, which was a great stepping stone for us newbies. By year 4 we knew exactly what we were lacking, and were excited to see what was out there to meet our needs.
At first we looked casually (full disclosure, I’m the weirdo that looks up new listings on the MLS every day… #housenerd), just trying to get a feel for what was out there and what we could afford.
We actually hit up an open house and fell in love with a split-level in our ideal neighbourhood, but it needed a massive amount of work, and presented a number of question marks. But we loved it so much we quickly got in touch with our realtor, toured the house again, and placed an offer… one week before our wedding. CRAZY. Long story short, things didn’t work out with that house. It was listed way too high (considering its rough shape) and the seller refused to budge on the price (he ended up renting the property). We were heartbroken, but that’s the real estate market for you.
Another potentially amazing house popped up not too long after that. Unlike our first prospect, it was in amazing condition. As in, you could eat off the basement floor if you wanted to! On the flip side, we didn’t love the location quite as much (it was good, and absolutely would have been wonderful, it just wasn’t our dream neighbourhood). We still opted to make an offer (OVER asking – our market was super competitive at the time). Ultimately, we lost out to the competition.
Third time’s a charm, right?
One Sunday I was out running errands and stumbled on an open house in our dream neighbourhood. From my MLS-stalking, I knew the house had been listed for a while (which was almost unheard of in our market), so I was curious what was “wrong” with it. I walked through and started to get excited. There were certainly challenges, but exciting challenges. Challenges that presented us with opportunities to really turn it into our dream home.
We visited it with our realtor later that week and it just clicked. It met everything on our must-have list (perfect location, detached, garage, potential for improvements), and even gave us some of our dream items (ensuite bathroom! walk-in closet! two-car garage!). This was our house!
The scariest part? Because of the hot market, our realtor advised that we go in without the condition of selling our current house (she knew our house would sell quickly). This would make us more appealing to the sellers. We took her advice and (after a bit of back-and-forth) our offer was accepted. It really would be our house!
We worked quickly to tie up last-minute loose ends at our existing house to ready it for the market. Let me tell you, I lost some serious sleep during that time. Even though our house was completely move-in ready and was listed an in-demand price point, I was completely and utterly terrified that it wouldn’t sell and we would be in big trouble owning two houses. Well, my fears turned out to be completely unwarranted; we received a full-price offer the day we listed. That offer was contingent on selling their house, so our realtors advised to decline it. And bam, another full-price offer came in. Done deal. Sold. Whew!