Housing Update – Part 2

Since IVF is about to take over my life, I thought a post updating where we are at with our housing search would be in order.

As I mentioned in my post a few days ago, my husband and I squeezed in a quick housing trip to our new city last week. After losing out on a house my first night there (before my husband even arrived!), we weren’t too hopeful of finding anything else we liked.

We saw about ten houses over two days. Some were fine, some weren’t to our liking, but nothing was just right. There were two that we kept coming back to in our minds though that we could see as maybe’s:

House #1 – cute little house on a beautiful street in a really desirable neighbourhood. It was an older house that had been tastefully renovated, except for the unfinished basement, but there was only one bathroom, and we wanted at least two. However, the main problem was that it was just a bit further from work than we wanted to be (including a longer walk to public transportation than we’d like). The house had been on the market for a while, and was on the lower end of our budget.

House #2 – renovated to the nines, in a super modern fashion. Closer to work and public transit, but neighbourhood not as nice. This was a classic case of over-renovating for the neighbourhood. The price had recently dropped, though was still too high (both in terms of our budget and in relation to the neighbourhood), but we kept considering putting in a low ball offer to see if they would bite. The owner was there while we were going through the house, and she seemed, well, a touch insane so we thought it may be worth pitching a lowball offer. While we were considering the house, I did have pangs of whether the house would be child friendly. It was very open and lofty, and I wasn’t sure how you’d be able to block off all the various staircases if need be (not to mention that it would totally ruin the “cool” vibe in there!).

The next morning both houses were still on our mind, and we had a slate of five more houses to see.

The first house was decent – similar to house #1 from the day before. Also a bit further from work, but good access to public transit. The second house was one that we almost didn’t put on our list, because it was at the top of our price range, and did not have one of the critical things we were looking for: onsite parking. But it was in one of our top areas (very leafy quiet neighbourhood, walking distance to work for both of us, good access to public transportation, and within 10 minute walk of tons of restaurants, cafes and shops), so it got top points for all of our location criteria. While the house did not have great curb appeal, the pictures of the inside that we saw online were stunning.

In the end, two things convinced us to see the house. First, it was the only house listed for sale in that neighbourhood, and second we realized that parking would be an issue for most houses in that area. So either we had to give on the area (which we weren’t willing to do), or give on parking (which we grudgingly agreed to). We figured we may as well see the house, and it could form a comparative price point for us when other listings came up in that area.

The house was even nicer in person than in the pictures we’d seen. It was a good size for us, and the renovations were beautifully done and completely to our liking. While most of the houses we’d been looking at did not have much of a yard, this house had a huge yard. Even though it was right in the city, once you were in the yard, it felt like you were in the middle of a forest, or somewhere equally peaceful.

We saw a few more houses that day, but had already made up our mind on this house. Thankfully there was no bidding war this time, and we got the house!

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Housing Update – Part 1

I’ve had a bunch of posts/topics that I wanted to write in the last week, but once again life got in the way of me having any time to sit down and write! We had our housing trip to our new city last week, and since getting back on Sunday I’ve been fighting a cold, and am now sick.

I’ll start with the housing trip. I arrived first thing last Wed morning, with the plan to see a few houses and then take it easy most of the day. My husband was away for business in Europe, and would only be joining me on Thursday, so I didn’t want to see too many houses without him, but there were two houses that looked quite nice that had offers due Wed night, so I wanted to get in and see them before they sold. Our real estate agent threw a few more houses on the list (ones that had been on the market for a while, so could in theory sell any minute), so there was a total of 5 to see.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, one of the houses due for offers that night looked just right for us! It was in an amazing neighbourhood that we both loved (but for the most part could not afford), was nicely renovated, and met all of our other criteria. My mom saw the house with me (she’d also seen all the houses I saw in April), and after going through it, she said “You have to put an offer down on this house”. Despite the fact that my husband hadn’t seen it yet, I agreed with her.

Thankfully it was still early enough in the day that my husband was still up, so I emailed him about the house. He was in the middle of a conference, and had to present an award to someone shortly, so it took some time to finally get him on the phone, but we went over all the attributes of the house, and decided to go for it. Our #1 criteria for housing was location, and this house was in our absolute dream area. The rest of the day was taken up with deciding on the right price (we had to bid over asking, since there would be one other offer), and the offer negotiations.

As the day went on, I fell more and more in love with the house. The house purchase process is a real catch-22, because in order to want to put an offer down, you have to love the house and therefore are already emotionally invested. But when you’re only at the offer stage (especially when there’s other offers), you have to also guard against getting too far ahead of yourself as there is a good chance you will be let down. In many ways, it’s so much like going through fertility treatments. You’re doing treatments because you will go to great lengths to have a baby, but there are no guarantees that the treatments will be successful. So in both cases, your mind flip flops between imagining your future if everything pans out the way you want it to, and forcing yourself to not think about it in case you’re disappointed (again).

We knew we were at a disadvantage to start, because the other offer was the selling agent’s buyer, but our agent did everything he could to level the playing field. While sitting in Starbucks with my mom when our offer was being presented, I couldn’t help but imagine our lives in the house. In a twisted, doomed to be disappointed moment, I even picked out the room that would be the nursery – that’s right, a nursery for a non-existent baby in a house I don’t own yet.

After about half an hour, I finally got a text from my agent saying that both offers were close so the sellers were sending them back to us to try again. We met up with the agent, and called my husband to discuss, and decided to go back with what we’d previously agreed was the highest we’d pay for this house. Our agent was confident we had a strong offer and that our chances of getting the house were really good.

Again, my mom and I waited, this time in the lobby of the real estate office. At one point I heard my agent walking towards us. He was walking very briskly and decisively, so I thought he must have good news for us. It was a false alarm though, as he was only coming out to tell us that they were reviewing the offers. So we waited some more.

Finally, he came out again. He made a thumbs down motion. Despite doing everything we could, we didn’t get it. It was back to the drawing board.