By Matt Day
With one piece of paper, my much-pregnant wife and I were left scrambling to figure out our future.
An eviction notice? How can that be? We were, for all intents and purposes, the perfect tenants — never missed or late with rent payments and we never received any complaints from neighbours or our landlord. But despite that, we found ourselves with 60 days to find a new home.
Hayley and I had lived the nomad-type life for years. As a former journalist, my career took us all over Ontario, so renting fit our lifestyle. We knew it wasn’t a permanent solution, however, and had been saving up over the past three years for a down payment.
So, although it was forced upon us, the timing couldn’t have been more fitting to leap into homeownership.
We, like most millennials, didn’t know where to start. With so many steps to consider — banks, lawyers, inspections — we knew we couldn’t do it alone and, after seeking recommendations from friends and family, chose a REALTOR® to help us get started.
It was a perfect match. Our Realtor understood our time restraints and considered the needs of our growing family. More importantly, we had the reassurance of a trusted professional on our side who was able to keep our emotions in check.
We visited dozens of open houses, scheduled even more showings, yet nothing felt quite right. Were we being too picky? Could we afford to wait to put in an offer? What if the perfect house didn’t pop up?
I remember the exact moment I felt confident our Realtor was just as invested in finding a home for us as we were. We had finally submitted an offer on a house we thought was the perfect fit. We went to bed feeling good about our higher-than-expected offer, but woke up to devastating news. With four weeks to go until we needed to be out of our apartment, our offer had been declined. That’s when our Realtor called me, knowing we’d be left feeling defeated.
“Do not worry, guys. I have my whole team looking out for you and we will get you into a home.”
Those words stuck. I felt reassured and reenergized to get back into the game. This woman, who I had only known for a few months, was so devoted to us, we often found ourselves asking the question, “What’s the catch?”
Low and behold, several days after our rejection, a house in the neighbourhood we dreamed of living in became available. It was perfect; it was everything we could have hoped for in a starter home. The caveats being it was slightly over our budget, the sellers weren’t using a real estate agent, they didn’t want to deal with anyone who was using an agent and the market was hot.
Our Realtor was un-phased and told us, “Leave it to me.” Next thing we know; we’re doing a whirlwind tour of the home just hours after seeing the listing. We’re the first ones in and tell the homeowners to expect an offer that night. Our Realtor and her team made Hayley and I feel we were top priority. They advised us how much to offer, how to expedite the process and what to ask for without scaring the sellers.
By the end of the week, we got word we were about to become homeowners. It was the greatest relief and feeling of accomplishment I think I’ve ever felt (other than not passing out at the altar and finding out I was going to be a dad).
I know for sure we would still be renting and left feeling stuck in the game of life if we had tried to do this all on our own.
Because of this experience, our Realtor now has a client for life.