Well that didn’t take very long. I thought finding the perfect house was going to take months. It only took two weeks to find it. Not counting the four years I’ve been saving money to put towards the down payment, the entire process from beginning to end only took 26 days. Here is a summary of the calendar of events:

Thursday March 18th
First meeting at CIBC to discuss mortgage; I was totally green, didn’t even know enough to know what questions I should have asked. Thankfully I had a friend from work accompany me who had been through all this before, twice.

Tuesday March 23rd
Visited with two more banks, Scotiabank and BMO. They were not helpful at all.

Thursday March 25th
First meeting with my real estate agent. He was recommended to me by my friend who came with me to my first bank appointment at CIBC. I contacted him the day before and we arranged to meet the very next day at Starbucks. He gave me an introduction to the agent/buyer relationship and the home-buying process. (FYI – he did not ask me to sign a contract with him, which would have made him my exclusive agent. Such agents do exist!)

Saturday March 27th
House Hunting Day #1: Saw five houses. Refer to blog post House Hunting for full details.

Friday April 2nd
House Hunting Day #2: Scheduled to see four places but only ended up seeing two because it was Good Friday and we had some last minute cancellations from the listing agent. The first house was your typical “fixer-upper.” I really wanted to see it because it was the only house so far that was in my price range AND in the neighbourhood I wanted. Too much work needed to be done to make the place liveable. But I wasn’t disappointed; after all, the listing did advertise it as a “handyman’s dream.”

Monday April 5th
House Hunting Day #3: Saw only one house, this time a house that had rental income. It wasn’t the house I wanted, but it spawned a new plan – look for a house with a basement apartment. This way I could buy something a little higher than my price range, but still be able to afford the mortgage by collecting rent.

Wednesday April 7th
House Hunting Day #4: Saw four houses, one of which would eventually become my house! We purposely skipped a fifth house because as we approached it, we realized it wasn’t even on a proper street, it was located in an alley in the heart of Chinatown – property here is actually decreasing in value over time. And come on, in an alley??? No matter, though, this was the day I found my house!

Thursday April 8th
Visited CIBC again (at this point my bank of choice) to run some financial scenarios with rental income. Later that evening, I visited what would soon be my house a second time, this time bringing Mathew with me for his opinion.

Saturday April 10th
Brought mum to open house then went for a drive around the city and randomly popped into open houses whenever we saw a sign – we ended up seeing six places if you include my new house. We saw a really gorgeous home only a few blocks away from the house I bought, but it was far too high above my price range and didn’t even have a rental unit in the basement. Another home we visited out in the High Park area smelled so bad that we were convinced someone died in the house and was left there for weeks before someone found the body. (By the way, this actually happens.)

Tuesday April 11th
Went back yet again to CIBC, this time to officially submit for mortgage approval, do a credit check, etc. Placed an offer on the house later that night (OMG intense!). My offer was accepted upon a home inspection and upon financing.

Wednesday April 12th
Had a home inspection done by a man who works with Mike Holmes!!! He pointed out a few small areas of concern, but overall there were no major issues with the house and most of what he pointed out was typical of old homes. A little bit of caulking here, some mechanical plumbing pipes there, one of those circuit breaker outlet thingies you usually find in bathrooms installed in the guest bedroom, and this house is solid! 

Thursday April 13th
The bank (or rather, the CMHC) approved my financing, at which point I immediately signed a waiver to remove the conditional upon financing clause, sent it to my agent who faxed it to the listing agent, and the house was mine!!! What is really impressive is that the CMHC approved me without taking ANY rental income into account. Good for me, being able to afford my own place! Though if I were paying for this place all on my own, I’d be eating a lot of Kraft Dinner and Campbell’s soup. I really do need the rental income in order to maintain the lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to. Please, God, don’t make me so hard up for cash that I have to start drinking Laker again!

It’s hard to believe that it only took two and a half weeks to find a house, place an offer and sign the deal. The immense stress I felt during this process made it feel like it took a lot longer. I don’t think I could have done this without all the emotional support that Mathew provided me. I was a mess! I shed my fair share of tears, had a few panic attacks, lost my clarity and focus and felt hesitant. But in the end I pulled through and came out on top. And got the house that I’ve been saving for.

P.S. I know that everyone reading this is curious to hear more about the house I bought, and less about the home-buying process. I promise you, that will come very soon!