Navigating the So-Called Property Ladder
Navigating the Property Ladder With an Open Mind and Without Being Afraid to Make Mistakes
This started out as an IG post. As I started to write it became more of a diary akin to one of those recipe posts where you have to scroll to get to what you’re looking for. So if you enjoy storytelling keep reading. If not, jump to the recipe here.
This is quite the collection of “storeys”. It’s probably more of a collection of chapters that tell a story. So, here it goes:
When my husband and I set out on our home-buying journey, we didn’t intend to move so many times. The idea was to make our way up the property ladder by starting small. So we started with a semi-detached in Oakville.
Our next step would naturally be to buy a detached house. Well financially, that wasn’t happening in Oakville so we set our sights on Milton which was only just starting to grow.
That was probably my favourite house in terms of layout but it only had 3 bedrooms with a 1 car garage. Not that we needed more space at the time, but we thought if we were going to climb this imaginary property ladder using our home equity, the next step is a 4-bedroom with a 2-car garage.
Buying From a Plan
We bought a new build from a builder in Georgetown. When we bought from the builder, off a plan, we picked the biggest lot.
But it wasn’t the best floorplan. We didn’t have much of a choice on the model we’d picked because our neighbours had already chosen their models and the builder wouldn’t put two of the same model side by side.
After we moved in, I grew to dislike the layout even more over time (so much wasted space) and we backed onto a main road that was zoned to expand in the near future (or so I thought).
But here we are 11 years later and there’s no progress on the expansion. If you’ve read our blog, you know that I’m not a fan of development delays and the reasons we have them.
So we set out yet again to look for the perfect house. We were done buying from a plan. I was also obsessed with HGTV home improvement shows at the time. Naturally, that led us to look for a resale property that we could renovate into our dream home.
What a disaster. The long and the short of it: I advise you not to live in your home while it’s being renovated and don’t buy a house because it has a pool. This is probably the house we disliked the most but lived in the longest – not planned that way but after this experience, we took our time looking for our forever home. Because frankly, we were done with moving.
We were sitting waiting for new builds in Georgetown. Yes, back to buying off a plan. We sat and waited for 10 years. Again, read our blog – development delays. Over the 10 years, new home prices had shifted to being more expensive than buying resale. Once the development we had our eyes on was delayed yet again, and now with new homes being more expensive, we opened up to the possibility of buying resale again.
The Perfect House
The kids were getting bigger and the thought of sharing one full bathroom with 4 soon to be full-grown humans was looming over my head. Also, the twins had gone from sharing a womb to sharing a room for 12 years and were starting to show signs of wanting their own space. And so we took great care and attention and reviewed every listing that landed in my inbox with an open mind. And then there it was (this is the part where you’ll come to understand why it took us 10 years to find the right house for us).
Our potential future home had the (almost) perfect floor plan (for me):
- mostly 90-degree angles, only one wall on an angle (I can live with that I thought)
- the living room which I could use as an office, overlooking a front porch
- the porch was a must
- a straight staircase off to the side (not the curved focal point on entry)
- a dining room with a pass-through to the kitchen (makes sense right?)
- a huge family room with a vaulted ceiling and gas fireplace – all along the back of the house, opposite and open to the kitchen
Writing this now I realize I’ve just described our Milton house but bigger.
No brainer. Done. Let’s move.
Deviating From the Plan
Not so fast. We looked at the address. My prospect match profile was set up to catch everything in Halton Hills. Georgetown is in Halton Hills. But, so is Acton. Hold up. Acton was never part of the plan. Now what?
Turns out we loved the house enough to tack on 13 minutes to my daily commute into downtown Toronto where I’m showing properties almost daily.
A few lessons here:
- Notice I said ALMOST PERFECT when describing the ideal house for us. There is no such thing as a perfect house.
- Finding the RIGHT (at the time) house is a process of elimination.
- It’s not always about location, location, location.
There is a saying: it’s not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market. With each move we took the gained equity over the time we lived in one property and moved it to the next.
The idea is to start small and work your way up the property ladder. This might seem somewhat premature if you’re struggling to take that first step. This is where we come in. We won’t just give you a guide to read, we will be your guide. We will give you the tools to review and fix your credit if necessary and connect you with a trusted mortgage advisor who will work to find you the best mortgage solution, and we will show you how to save for a down payment.
How Storey Collective Can Help
Contrary to what my 6-year-old niece thought my job was when I helped my sister and her family relocate to be closer to family, we don’t just open doors. It takes time and effort to get to where I’m opening doors to properties that you want to see.
Help us fully understand your goals and we’ll give you clear and actionable guidance to get there. Call or email today.