If you follow me on social media, you may already know this, but I have some exciting news to share. The bf and I have bought a new house!!! We’re going to be packing up and moving a whole three blocks from our existing place to a house that’s more suited for the long term. To say we’re committed to the neighbourhood doesn’t quite do it justice.

I’m thrilled about the new place but also anxious about the whole thing because it was completely unexpected. Our original plan was to potentially move or rebuild on our existing lot in another year or two. There was zero talk of making a move this year until less than a month ago. Sometimes life comes at you fast!

Why Now?

Our neighbourhood is an interesting one because we are central and there has been a push for infill. That means the larger lots with older homes are prime candidates for developers because of the potential for redevelopment. We live on one of those lots. Even though our house is in decent condition, it’s small, and at this point, the lot value is almost worth more than the house itself.

That gave us a huge advantage because it makes our place easy to sell (more on that in a minute). This is the exception though. Homes that are selling for the house instead of for redevelopment aren’t moving. Prices have dropped in the last year, and all of a sudden buying in the area was making a lot more sense.

Right now we have a huge backyard (by city standards) and a small house. The place we’re moving into is a larger house on a smaller lot. And it’s a trade-off we’re willing to make. The backyard space is great, but it’s also a lot of work. Now we’ll have everything we need (room for a garden and grass for the dogs) but on a smaller scale. Plus, not having to shovel the sidewalk of a corner lot is huge bonus points.

The Discovery

Remember when I went on vacation in June? At that point, moving was not even a passing thought in our brains. When we got back though, I noticed on a cute little house that was up for sale a few blocks away while out walking the dogs. And, it was advertising an open house that upcoming weekend. We went, and it wasn’t great. A+ for curb appeal but D for everything else.

That was the trigger though. The next day I started perusing MLS listings to see what was available and came across two other places that were reasonably priced and checked off certain boxes. We set up showings for both. Honestly, I was secretly hoping they would both be terrible, and we could go back to our blissful, non-moving lives.

You already know that wasn’t the case…

One was terrible; the other was perfect. The bf and I walked out of that place and looked at each other and instantly knew we both were in love. Is this a home-buying story or a romance novel?! A couple of days later we met with the realtor and made an offer.

The New Place

I keep saying new, but it’s a terrible descriptor because the house we’re buying is over a hundred years old. As my Dad pointed out, it was built during the First World War. By North American standards, it’s a dinosaur. But it’s a well-maintained dinosaur with a ton of charm.

There are some things to consider on a house that old. The original brick foundation isn’t perfect but we had a foundation inspector come out, and they were impressed with the condition. We’ll have to continue doing maintenance on that, but there are no immediate concerns. It’s also got the creaks and quirks that come with age. You have to like that, and we both do. Our current place was pushing 90, so it’s not something we’ve learnt to embrace.

Selling Our Home

We met with a realtor who did a market evaluation of our place and gave us a couple of options. We could sell for lot value for redevelopment, or we could sell for the house. It wasn’t an easy call. As I said, our house is in relatively good shape. When we looked at comparable homes on the market though, it was at the lower end, and all of those had been sitting on the market for months. The houses that were selling fast were those with good infill potential.

Could we have listed for more and maybe made more money? Sure. Would it have been a pain in the ass? Absolutely.

Instead, we decided to go for lot value. Instead of hiring on a realtor right away I reached out to a bunch of developers who had projects in the area. There was more than a little interest. After a few days and WAY too many emails, I had narrowed it down to two interested developers. Let me tell you, holding a bidding war for your own home is stressful AF.

It was the right move though. We ended up selling for more than we had planned to list at and didn’t have to pay one cent of realtor fees. That was a savings of almost $20k! Plus, we didn’t have to do any real showings of the house and had a deal with no buyer conditions.

The Numbers

The real reason we are making a move now is because the math made sense.

I’m not going to give exact values for how much we bought and sold for because it’s too easy to hunt that info down. But I will say that our purchase price was less than $20k over what we sold for. And because our place has gone up in price since we bought it, we will walk away with some extra money in our pockets. That’s only partially true because we still have a mortgage, which I’m ok with.

We end up with a house that is more functional for us in the long term and a mortgage that stays almost the same. I know some people want nothing more than to abolish their mortgage payments but it’s not something that stresses me out. I’ve got a future post in the works about precisely that topic so I’ll keep it brief here.

To Sum Up

This is not a typical home buying story. We were incredibly lucky that current market conditions favoured us on both ends of the deal. That was a huge factor in why we rushed into a purchase we hadn’t planned for. Sometimes the timing is right even if you’re not ready for it.

Questions? Feel free to ask away in the comments. My brain still feels like it’s running on adrenaline, so I’m sure I’ve missed some important things in here! 

We're moving! How we (unexpectedly) bought a new home and why is was the right decision.

This post was proofread by Grammarly.

Image Credit: Daiga Ellaby


  1. Congrats!!!

    I’m under no illusion about the value of my actual house structure; there are empty plots in the area going for what I paid for this property (land and house) alone. Land, it’s all about the land (and I’m not even in the inner city).

    Congrats, I love the charm of old houses and I bet yours is gorgeous!!!

    • Sarah Reply

      It’s so crazy how the housing market goes. We ended up selling our place for almost $150k more than what we paid for it 8 years ago…and they’ll be tearing down the house. Completely blows my mind. It’s not typical for here but because we’re central it’s becoming more common.

      And thank you! Old houses are so great.

  2. Congrats on buying your new house! Sometimes these things move quickly (that’s how ours went too). It’s interesting to hear your experience of working with developers. I’ve never heard of anyone selling their lot for that purpose, rather than their house. A+ on saving on those realtor fees though!

    On the topic of mortgages, our very first one came out yesterday! I sort of feel the same as you about our mortgage – it doesn’t stress me out. Based on where we’re at in our life, if we weren’t paying a mortgage, it’s be rent. So to me, it doesn’t make a big difference.

    Congrats again!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Britt! The redevelopment is very location specific, and because we’re central in a fairly big city it’s pretty common.

      That’s exactly how I feel. If it’s not a mortgage it would be rent and at this point I’d rather be putting that money towards something I can build equity in.

  3. Congrats on the new home! And plus you guys were fortunate that you will get some extra money out of it since you sold your old home more than buying the new one. The home sounds like it has a lot of character to it which provides a uniqueness to it.

  4. Congrats on leveraging your home to get another home AND not paying any realtor commissions (music to my ears)! That’s awesome that you had developers all salivating over your home and also awesome that you are still in your neighbourhood, three blocks away. That will make it an easier move, I would think 🙂

    • Sarah Reply

      Thank you! I’m sure hoping the move will be an easy one. We’ve already started purging some stuff so that we have to move as little as possible. It’s amazing how much junk you accumulate!

  5. CONGRATS! We bought our condo a few years ago, we didn’t plan on buying so soon, but we got incredibly lucky! We rented it for 2 years prior and loved the location. Plus, our landlord gave us 20k off the asking price. It was hard to pass up!
    Cheers to your new home!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Steph 🙂 That’s an amazing deal and I would have jumped on it. The fact you didn’t actually have to move his a huge bonus.

  6. Congratulations! I am living the new house excitement vicariously through you. The bf and I have been yearning for our own property for ages (especially every first of the month when we fork over $$$$ to someone else) but the Toronto market right now is … I don’t even know if there’s a word that captures how bonkers it is! I hope to be in a place where that monthly dough goes towards our own equity sooner rather than later. Reading happy new house stories like yours helps me keep eyes on the prize!

    • Sarah Reply

      Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine buying a house in Toronto. So far from affordable. Good for you going for it though, you’ll get there 🙂

  7. Congratulations!!! I love that you moved to a house that better fits your needs AND walked away with cash! So much better in my opinion than being out more money with a new larger monthly payment, which is the norm.

  8. Congrats! I love reading successful home-buying stories! I hope someday I can have a similar experience!

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks Liz 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be reading your success story soon!

  9. Congratulations and impressive outside of the box thinking in selling the home. I tore most of the grass out for low maintenance landscaping in my yard, I understand about getting tired of all the yardwork.

    • Sarah Reply

      Thanks so much Kale! Yardwork can be such a time suck. I’m all for low maintenance but we do need to keep at least some grass for our pups.

  10. Congratulations on the purchase and for putting on your real estate mogul hat to broker the sale yourself. Great creative thinking!

    We’re living with my in laws while we build our house. They’re buying another home and the house we’re now could sell in a day, above asking price. In the end it will cost them a little since the new home is a tad larger with a better layout. We ultimately chose a 1-story design. My in-laws are in their 70s and chose a 2-story. Oh the irony!

  11. It nice that you found the perfect opportunity to sell your home. Plus you like your new home so I’ll say you made a good decision.

    • Sarah Reply

      Thank you! The market definitely worked for us this time.

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