To say these past months (since my last post in JULY!) have been a whirl wind, would be a total understatement.
My boyfriend and I had been scouring real estate listings and open houses since the beginning of the summer. We finally decided it was time to become adults!
If the title of this post and my ramblings up to this point didn’t give it away, my boyfriend and I bought our first home together! I am still both equal parts excited and terrified but it is all so worth it!
I wanted to sit down and list a few of my thoughts on this whole process and tell a bit of our story in hopes that they may help someone who is currently in the process of buying their first home or thinking about it.
This is very different from what I’m used to writing, so bare with me!
A bit of a backstory though… we’ve lived in Toronto our whole lives, and the reality of us owning a home in Toronto (yet alone the GTA) was totally out of the question. We didn’t have a set town or city to move to in mind, which in retrospect – might not have been the most fun for our realtor; but we knew what our budget was, since we had gone through the pre-approval process at the beginning of the summer and we knew that we wanted to be within a certain distance of a commute for my boyfriend to his work. But those stipulations literally brought us within a bubble in all directions surrounding Toronto. We had no idea where to look or what to expect. We ultimately found ourselves in Bradford, Ontario!
*Disclaimer: I’m not going to dig into the financial aspects since I am DEFINITELY not an expert. All of the following are my own feelings and can be completely different to your experience(s).
1. Once you find THE home, things happen FAST!
After the pre-approval, the actual “shopping” for houses took off slowly, but once we started driving around and looking at open houses in the areas we were interested in, we quickly hit a wall. It seemed as though every listing we saw within budget was the same open houses we saw at the beginning of this adventure and the listings started to blend together. We had no idea if we already looked at the place or not.
Fast forward to the night we tried to set up three viewings and only one confirmed. We drove out to Bradford to meet with the realtor and walk into this house. This little house of horrors. No need to say more.
It was at this point when I actually felt like we should take a break from looking and come back to it in a few months. I was mentally checked out. But right after looking at the dingy house, our realtor showed us a house that was only JUST listed that day! It hadn’t even popped up on our radar yet and we were pleasantly surprised! We knew this house would probably sell quick, but we (being brand new to this whole thing) needed the rest of the night to think about it. The next morning, the both of us had barely slept since we stayed up late listing the pros and cons…if’s, and’s or but’s. We called our agent and met with her early that afternoon to put in an offer.
The actual “shopping around” process is fun, but at times can be overwhelming and sometimes slow. Stick with it though, and don’t become checked out like I almost did. You never know what will pop up. However, once your offer is accepted things move quickly. Everything happened so fast with us, we put in the offer at the end of September, and by the first week of October, we were home owners!
2. It won’t feel “real” right away
The day we finished signing all the paperwork, and sealed the deal – we were still living with my boyfriends parent’s, so it didn’t seem real.
November 3rd 2018 – (aka. Our moving day) we had our family and friends come by early in the morning to help us pack up the trucks. Boxes everywhere and we slept on the floor the night before… still, not real. Drove to the house, unloaded everything, had lunch and everyone left. That first night in our home, though exciting – still didn’t feel real. It’s been now just over 2 weeks, but truthfully, until I’m able to get it organized it still won’t feel “real”. But that’s just me.
It takes time to adjust and to make it feel like home and for me – it almost seems like I’m still living in someone else’s house. There’s still remnants of garden decor from the previous owner and all the holes in walls from where MANY items used to hang. Which brings me to my next point…
3. You don’t have to rush to do all of the major renos/design. You have time.
Unless your plan is to buy and flip the house, you don’t have to stress about every little detail/upgrade. This is a huge purchase and life decision, take your time on it.
Admittedly, I became so excited that I started pinning so many design inspirations and started to let my excitement get the best of me. I wanted to start renovating the bathroom, work on the backyard and so much more! I needed to step back and focus on what the major issues for me were.
Which happened to be, needing to paint most of the house before I start unpacking and “designing” the layout of our home. We are currently ripping out wallpaper, and taking out nails to get ready for prep and the oh so fun, looking at paint swatches.
I really don’t feel like the house will come together until I can cover the old paint.
*The other thing I’ll say… when looking into buying your first home, don’t let paint colours discourage you from seeing how great a space can be. If we did that, I wouldn’t be writing this post.
The house was painted and wallpapered in the most random colours. So our first big project is painting over the main floor (living room, dining room, hallway) and top floor (Upper landing) and also our bedroom. The other rooms and basement will have to wait. The colours all on their own are fine but it’s just not our style.
I’m sure there will be other things to come up as this is all so new to us, but I have rambled on enough!
If any of you have any tips/tricks or advice on purchasing your first home, I’d love to hear them!