We saw our house on Saturday. Matt loved it right away - I did not. It was hard to see past everything the owners had chosen and see the house just for itself. It was in a great neighbourhood, it was large enough to fit all of our things, it had a finished basement - it had all the checks. My big thing was that it didn't feel warm and welcoming when you walked in and I just wanted that "feeling." I kept thinking about it, however, as Saturday progressed, after we were done. There was so much potential in the house, and all it needed was some nice warm white paint and some homey touches. I guess when a house is staged for viewing, a lot of the personal taste of the owners is set aside for maximum buying potential. We finally decided on Sunday to make an offer on the house.
We called our agent who quickly called and found us a home inspector to go in to the house on Monday before offers were being accepted. These sellers were good - fill the house with potential buyers during two open houses on the weekend, and take nothing until Monday night. Going in with a home inspection already done in Toronto is common, so that your offer is firm and has no conditions. You can't afford to be the one with conditions, but you can't NOT do a home inspection on 80-year old homes when you are buying your first house. He was great, and went through everything with us so that we were reassured for that night.
Between the home inspection and the offer time we went to get dinner with Cindy, our agent. This was the worst time, I thought - just sort of waiting, deciding on the best price to offer, hearing there was another offer registered and trying to anticipate what they would do. We actually found out they were the ones who put an offer on this very pretty house last week (that sold before we saw it) that was higher than asking, and higher than the offer they actually took, because they had a home inspection clause. That house was also lower in price. This game theory was not fun and we were second guessing ourself the entire time.
Finally Cindy left to go make the offer, and we following behind shortly, and hung out in the car as she did what she does best! We were lucky enough to have met the owner when we finished up the home inspection. I think that helped a lot - talking to him and finding out about them and how much they loved the house, and for them getting to know us as well - just married, first time home buyers, etc. We waited and waited and waited, and finally she came back to the car to wait with us. She said they did a good job at showing no favour or emotion, so it was really hard to tell. She said it really was 50/50 - no one had the upper hand.
The realtor called us after a few minutes, and said both offers were really good, and that if we wanted to make any changes, now was the time to do it (ie - they wanted MORE money because the offers were so similar). Ahhhh - we were already stretching our budget, but now we were sitting in front of this house, wanting it so bad, with all rationale thought out the window. Then there was the issue of the other potential buyers. What had their offer been? Was it the same? Higher? Conditions? Are they going to up their price too? So we thought about it a bit and decided on a number we were "comfortable" with - I say that because we can do it, but it's a scary number to us. Both agents went back with their offers and we waited again. Cindy found out the other person's offer was higher when she dropped it off, which stressed us more. Why would they as for more if the other person's was higher? Why didn't they just take it? She said it was because they could get more money, but also because the owners may have connected with us, and wanted us to get it.
About ten minutes later we had our answer. They confirmed our price and told us "congratulations - we are going to work with your offer!" Cindy screamed and Matt and I just kind of sat there in silence until Matt said "f*** we just bought a house". I hit him - we were on speaker phone. We were literally stunned for a few minutes while they worked on the paperwork. Cindy was so excited for us - she's not only our agent but a close family friend, so she really had that personal connection that has you rooting for your clients. We went in the house, where the owners had champagne waiting to celebrate with us - that was so nice.
Our initial closing day was February 14th - Valentine's Day & Family Day - but after realizing the holiday and the hard time at finding moving vehicles, we changed it to February 18th, which gives us the weekend to move all of our stuff. We gave our landlord our 60+ days notice, but added a week to our rent (since we pay on the 15th).
Another thing that helped us was that we checked with our mortgage broker about the CMHC appraisal value - if there had been any red flags, they would have gone to appraise the property. If they thought it was worth less, we wouldn't have necessarily gotten the mortgage value we wanted, which is risky. It was fine, however, and it was nice to know that going into the offer. Furthermore, we had a certified check with us at the offer table - ready for the owners to deposit if they accepted the offer. Again these things are done a lot, but are crucial in this market where there are always bidding wars on these nice properties.
The other couple did not have a home inspection clause as they did at their last offer, but they also didn't get a home inspection (they waited too long and we were there that afternoon doing ours) - which is risky. There are a few updates necessary to make sure it is insured, which would not have been nice to find out when you went to get insurance, or find out after something happens and you are not insured properly!
So we called our parents and told them everything and were both so excited. By the time we got home, there had been mass emails sent out to both families and friends from them! It is all done, and I am glad. It was pretty stressful, and it was only really just over a week of shopping around! We met with our mortgage broker from TD on October 30th, met with our realtor, Cindy, on the 31st, and bought a house just over a week later! Crazy! Glad it's done and now we can think about all the fun things we can do (over time - we have lots of saving to do now).