Buying your first home isn’t like on the lifestyle channel

Buying our first home didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned. Well, to be honest, we didn’t really plan much, mostly lots of dreaming and before we knew it we were buying a house. I think like most first time home buyers, you go into it thinking you are “just looking” for now and are not in a rush, but when you find that perfect house things get serious… fast. For us, this is exactly how it happened, but the rest of the story is where things got complicated.

In the tv shows the first-time home buyers find a house they love and they put in an offer, they normally go in with a lower offer and the owners come back with a counter offer. There is some back and forth, and then congratulations you bought a house and everyone is happy. It all happen on the one day, at a cute cafe or restaurant and they all clink their glasses in celebration.

Which is exactly what we thought would happen to us. The house we wanted to buy had been on the market for a while, as it needed to be brought up to date inside, and they had already reduced the price so we assumed they were eager to sell. We contacted the real estate agent to put in our low offer, just like they do on the shows, except there was no counter offer given. Just a no. We didn’t know what to do or even where to go from there, so we left it a week and discussed our options and called back with our higher offer.

This time we got the ball rolling, and we thankfully received a counter offer, however, there wasn’t much movement on the owner’s part. Considering we had only just started looking, and we didn’t want to make any rash decisions based on heart alone, we decided to leave it be and look for another house.
Finally, we decided to get serious about looking at homes. We filled up our weekends with open houses, to get a better idea as to what homes looked like in different price ranges, and to get a better idea of what else was available. Unfortunately, after a few weekends of looking at multiple houses, our minds remained unchanged. Our heart was already taken by the original house we had looked at and nothing could tear our thoughts away from it.

We did a few drive-bys, sat outside the house (don’t worry the house was empty – less creepy) and really discussed going above our budget for this house. We came to the decision that we loved and wanted this home, and called the real estate to accept the last verbally given price, and this is where it got confusing. The real estate agent said that the price was no longer available and that they were going to relist the house for the original higher list price, $40k above what we had originally discussed, all because a new development was going in down the road which “could” add value to the house once it was completed. Needless to say we were distraught. We had fallen in love with the house, and the real estate agent knew it.

When we started talking to people about our first home buying experience, and our struggles with this particular agent, more and more stories came out. It appears this agent already had a bit of a reputation and a gift for getting what was best for them out of any given situation. This is why I wish I had heard of RateMyAgent sooner. RateMyAgent’s main focus is to help home buyers/sellers find the right agent for them, so you can go online and discover over 3,000+ easy-to-read reviews every week from genuine people on the agent they are dealing with. You can also view first-hand experiences from people’s interactions with them. Not only is it obviously great for someone selling a home, but also great for those interested in purchasing a home. I now know from personal experience how important your real estate agent is, not only for creating a smooth transaction, but also allowing your dreams to become a reality. RateMyAgent allows users to see the most recommended agents per suburb/region, most number of sales, highest average sale price, and every agent comes with their own individual star rating.

Luckily for us, everything eventually fell into place and after much negotiation we purchased our first house – our dream home. We had to go slightly higher than we had originally wanted, but to be honest we no longer cared. We love our home, and what we have made it into. It is the perfect home for us, and our very own piece of history. Buying our first home was a stressful experience, although an experience we are so thankful to have had. I learned that finding a real estate agent that you can trust and build a relationship with is so important to buying and selling your home.

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** Written in collaboration with RateMyAgent

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10 comments

  1. I love the part where you said “sat outside the house (don’t worry the house was empty – less creepy)” – its true though, I think that the housing market is not as embellished and as beautiful as they show on TV. In Toronto, I know that the housing market is insane, I actually just went through a similar process. I sold my condo and bought a new house – but I decided to buy the house first, before selling the condo (to be smart). What happened was that in the end, the most horrific experience was falling in love with a home, and having about 14 competing bids on the same house – which led to some houses being $80-100k OVER asking. it’s insanity. Unfortunately that’s just how things are right now there’s no dying down

  2. After moving from Australia to the UK 8 years ago I’m now just starting to look buy a home over here. I’m doing it all over again as a ‘newbie’ and I’m really not looking forward to it not being like on the lifestyle channel… C’mon I want my chinking prosecco glass happy ending! I’m really glad though that you still got the house of your dreams and that it all worked out OK in the end – thank goodness you were made wise to the dodgy estate agent. It’s those kind of agents that really give all agents are bad name!

  3. Such an interesting blog post. I am currently thinking about buying my first home, and this has given me some great insight into how to go about this. Thank you so much, and so glad you got that beautiful house you now call home.

    – Em || The Gratitude Butterfly

  4. Thankfully our realtor wasn’t a hassle, it was more the process of buying our apartment itself. Getting all of that paperwork was so hard on us, being scrutinized by every angle for the loan was a lot more difficult than we anticipated. Thanks for the site recommendation! We’ll keep it in mind for our next move.

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