Home hunting: Exciting, terrifying, all-consuming
I was going to write about choosing and working with a realtor today, a process Mr. Speedy and I have recently started with Simon, who I consistently refer to in conversation as @RealEstateSimon as per his Twitter handle. But, after a night of strange dreams of fires, floods, earthquakes and houses being grabbed like the last patio table at Ikea, I've decided to share a little bit of the emotional roller coaster that is deciding to be a first-time buyer. (I promise more on realtors, and Simon, next week!)
We got our pre-approval for our mortgage yesterday (hooray!) and suddenly, buying a home seemed a little more tangible and the numbers seemed a little more real. My degree, which we're still paying off, our wedding and our sofa have been our largest purchases to date, and they're still several hundred thousand dollars less than a home!
Being a homeowner is a huge responsibility. It makes me feel very adult. Yes, I know I have a degree, a job as a web editor at the country's largest newspaper and am married, but home ownership seems to be ramping all that up a notch.
If the roof leaks, the furnace breaks or the basement floods, I would no longer have a landlord to call. And, I'd have to pay for the repairs! "What would I do?" I asked last night in a panic-induced state after a bad dream involving all three happening simultaneously with a small fire and an earthquake (which, admittedly, is highly unlikely in Toronto). Well, in the worst case scenario, I'd grab a fire extinguisher and put out the flames, get someone in doing repairs ASAP and get a line of credit to cover that perfect storm of costs, says the rational part of my brain.
Beyond the repairs, maintenance and fees associated with home ownership, I think the waiting is the worst part. I'm scared we're going to let ourselves love a listing, then lose the property to someone more decisive while we're still making pro-con lists. I imagine houses being lined up in shopping carts a la Ikea, with people wrestling over the last available models while I poke through the dregs of a cleared out as-is section. I don't want to repeatedly fall in love with homes only to have my heart broken when someone else outbids us or snaps it up while we deliberate. How do will we know when it's right? Is it a solid pro-con list or a feeling? I don't want to rush, but I don't want to lose out with indecisiveness either.
So, while one side of my brain is overanalyzing, panicking and doing all those mile-a-minute things that I am wont to do, the other is dancing a jig over the excitement of having a permanent place to call my own, to decorate and unpack, and the enjoyment of looking at the property listings, even those out of my price range or the ones listed as having "good bones." I love the idea of Mr. Speedy and I putting a stamp on our own property, building equity, and having the same address for more than 10 months (though we may actually make it a full year in our current rental, setting a new record!).
Overall, it's an exciting, terrifying adventure. At any given moment, I am 100 per cent convinced that we're making the right decision and totally terrified that we're going to get in over our heads (though that's not really our thing. After all, we do the pro-con lists).
We need congratulations, encouragement, consoling and a little hand-holding and reassurance. But, all in all, I think it's going to be quite the adventure and highly rewarding!
Get caught on up on the house hunting adventure: