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!
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.
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 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!
This post was proofread by Grammarly.