Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Lady Luck finally noticed us!

So far, you've read of my complaints that Jake and I picked the WORST time ever to decide to buy a home. I previously worked in a real estate office for five years and this spring was the craziest market I had ever witnessed in Cambridge, specifically Hespeler. 

There is a reason we wanted to live in Hespeler beyond the fact that our family and friends are here. Hespeler is a commuter's paradise. And while we don't have to commute too far, Hespeler is in a prime location to get to the areas that we DO need to get to. 

That also means that it is a booming residential town. People who work as far as Toronto have been buying in Hespeler because you can get more bang for your buck around here. 

For first-time home buyers however, that's a whole lot of bad news. This season, there simply wasn't enough on the market for the number of buyers and as a result nearly everything in our price range that came up not only sold quickly, but sold over asking price due to a bidding war.

These are all of the available listings in our price range currently on the market. During the spring when we were looking, we'd be lucky to see one or two of those little blue dots. Just to put things into perspective.
 So when I first saw the listing for what would eventually become our new house, I was excited but skeptical. We'd already witnessed first hand what beautiful old houses could sell for, so we didn't want to get our hopes too high yet.  

Not to mention the fact that the listing only had eight pictures, all of which were of the exterior.

Sorry for the poor quality, I had to pull this one from a pdf of the listing I had saved.

Normally, that means that the interior is a disaster so we went into it with a lot of doubt in our minds. 

Our first visit we were relatively quiet. The place was a bit messy since the owners were having garage sales, but we could see past that. Beyond the perfectly explained clutter the house was dated. But again, we could see past that. 

And what we saw made the little excitement monster within me squeal in delight.

This house had SO much potential!

The layout was a more traditional one with rooms separated, but it was also spacious and open enough to not just be wasted space. Having lived in open-concept and all of the echoes and carried sounds that come with it, this was exactly my idea of a good layout. 

One side of the living room from our first showing.

What's more, this house was huge by our standards! There was plenty of room for us to grow and live beyond my minimum 5-year rule (if we were going to buy a house, we'd have to commit to living there for at least 5 years in order for it to be worth the cost). The backyard was big with gorgeous flowers everywhere. And the street, while slightly terrifying in the winter (it's one of the steepest hills in town and the bottom happens to go straight into one of the busier streets), is one of the older neighbourhoods that is currently experiencing a revival! 

We have BIG plans for this staircase.

Plus, my favourite house in all of Hespeler is just two doors down! (I'll have to snap a picture sometime. It's an old stone church that has been converted into a house)

We walked away from the showing with muted excitement and when we were alone, Jake and I started to discuss the house. It was old, but seemed in good shape. The house had been under the same ownership for decades and clearly had not been updated in a while which was actually good for us because it meant that there was a far smaller chance that renovations had been done improperly. 

We decided to book a second showing and brought along our friends Dave and Candice for their opinion (and Dave's electrician advice). 

The kitchen is in a newer addition and is positively HUGE. Again, big plans :) 

On that trip, we met the neighbours who were incredibly friendly people. Before we left they wished us luck and I knew that I wanted this house more than the others we had seen (yes, even the one by the river... insanity!)

Jake and I talked it over seriously and decided to go for it. We lined up our finances and spoke to the realtor who was looking after us while ours was on vacation. We had to wait a few days before we could put in an offer and I was a nervous wreck the whole time, but we succeeded!

I got a text from the realtor saying congratulations and I nearly screamed at my desk at work. I called Jake straight away and we both just sat in shocked silence on the phone, him saying "whoah..." and me saying "I know!!" every few seconds. 
We took Seamus and Sasha for a walk just to see the sold sticker on the sign. It was a really awesome moment.
We also met the neighbours again who told us they were really happy that we got the house. We met two more neighbours from across the street too. We've certainly bought into a great neighbourhood.

The owners were already out of the house and wanted a quick closing so we accommodated that and therefore only had to wait about a month before the house became ours. 

During that month we planned extensively. We mapped out each room and what we wanted to do to them. We decided that the whole house would get gutted so we could update the electrical and move some of the plumbing. We also settled on the style that we wanted to give the house and came to the conclusion that we would completely finish the master bedroom and update the kitchen and main floor bathroom just enough to make them functional for us until we could afford to do them properly. Everything else we would insulate and vapour barrier, but not actually finish until we could slowly save up to do it right.
I fell in love with a few certain details in the house. Some of which we cannot use for their original purpose, but will hopefully find new uses for. And others, like this deadbolt on the front door, that we hope to refinish and keep exactly where it is. 

So trust me when I say we have a ton of work to do. All of which I hope to share with you :) 

We're in the thick of things now!

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