Real Estate Wars: I’m About to Buy My Very Own First House

Well, this is it. I’m doing it. My divorce is imminent and my ex and I are preparing our house for sale. My supposed forever home is about to go on the market, and you know what that means? I’m going to have to buy something for me to live in.

This is big. With a capital ‘B’. How so? Well, let’s break down all the levels of ‘on my own-ness’:

  1. I’ve never lived alone. I went from my parents’ house to my boyfriend/fiancé/husband/ex-husband’s house.
  2. I’ve never had to shop for a home on my own, including making an offer and getting an inspection.
  3. I’ve never had to apply for a mortgage on my own.
  4. I’m now responsible for all my own finances, which means budgeting, and putting tiresome things like mortgage and house tax payments before a new pair of boots.

Real Estate Wars: I’m About to Buy My Very Own First HouseWhile all of the above seems a bit dire, the truth is, I’m really excited. There’s something invigorating about a fresh start. And while I’m not dying to move per se (decluttering a house after nearly 20 years is a job-and-a-half), the idea of having my own little place is intriguing. I’m on the hunt for the perfect ‘widow’s cottage’ that I can make mine and all mine (well, with rooms for my almost flown birdies, too). My real estate agent has me on something called a drip, and I get all the listings in my so-called price range, delivered right to my inbox every morning.

Did you catch the so-called? That’s because these days, in such a hot market, the list price is NOT the price. It’s the starting point. Otherwise known as ‘don’t get too attached because you’re about to enter the bidding wars’. I can already see the writing on the wall. As you know, I’m a bit of an enthusiastic person. When I’m in, I’m all in. I just know I’m going to fall in love with a house and I’m going to put in an offer and then *poof* so will all the other people with deeper pockets.

Then bye bye house of my downsizing dreams.

Good thing I’ve got a professional salesperson who I can trust. I know that she’s a stellar negotiator, keeps abreast of comparable prices (and won’t let me overpay), and will help me to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground in this hot market. By using a real estate agent instead of diving into the waters on my own, I’m going to get the right house at a price I can afford (once a bidding war starts, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of reality)—with a lot less stress. There’s no way I would ever take this leap without a licensed agent by my side.

Did you know that many home buying mistakes can be avoided with a little due diligence and the right agent/client partnership? These are 5 important tips my real estate professional shared with me, that I’d like to pass on to you:

  1. Read and understand everything before you sign
  2. Be sure you and your representative are on the same page
  3. Leave your emotions at the door
  4. Know your tolerance for risk
  5. Be flexible and have a backup plan in place

Thinking of buying or selling a home and want more tips? Visit the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s website for a wealth of information that will help you get Home Smart.

So what do you think? Do I have my head on straight for my upcoming home search? Do you have any tips for me? Or maybe a line on a well-priced home for a budget conscious divorcee featuring a gourmet kitchen, lovely backyard, and room for 3 likely-to-boomerang children?

This post has been generously sponsored by the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the opinions and language are my own.



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