I went and did it again. Yes, that is right I just dropped another episode of Making Our Way Home where we scheme the real AF dilemmas of home design and you get to sit back and laugh while you listen, read and watch our screw ups, fixes and some pretty bad-ass home décor DIY’s. FYI if you aren’t a fan of exploits, this probably won’t be the place for you. Emotions really aren’t felt unless there is a few shits tossed in right?
I hope you are comfy and if not, I’m pretty sure you want to get to that level because we’re about to lay some shit down on the second episode / post of making our way home.
Click the link below to listen or head on over to spotify, google podcasts, radio public, pocket casts, or breaker and hit that search bar.
Type in “making our way home” and hit the play button.
I swear its worth the 18 minutes to listen.
First I just want to say thank you so much for coming back for a second part of making our way home. This week we are going to be going through the process of finding the right realtor and what questions to ask them. I am also going to cover how we found Sarah our realtor from Percival homes and why we tossed our original plan and ended up with a new build.
Lets just get right to it! Here’s how we found our realtor Sarah.
I hate to say it, but we totally lucked out when it came to finding our realtor Sarah. When we decided that we wanted to buy a house, we did not really know where to start or really had anybody in mind when it came to the process of buying a house.
Our first instinct was to hop online and start looking for local homes that were for sale on realtor.ca and of course Kijiji as well. We ended up reaching out to about three or four different homes but there was one home that out shined all of the others. I think it was that house that made us think that getting a home with a lot of land was a great idea.
The house was perfect it was close to work for A, it was just newly renovated, my God the kitchen was gorgeous, and it had that old Victorian charm to it that we loved. No other house at the time really could stand beside this one.
Some did, some took forever, and some did not at all. The ones that did reach out were nice and informative, but it was different when Sarah reached out. We are not sure if it was because she was a listing agent to our dream home or if we just vibed well, but we could not help but pick her to help us through this whole process.
When you are in the military a lot of times moving expenses are covered. If you are posted and must move from your current location the military moves, you on their dime.
They also cover most of the legal fees when you are buying a new home and they also cover fees if you must sell your current home. There is a lot of restrictions, a lot of paperwork and a lot of other jargon it can either go incredibly smooth or horribly wrong quick. Luckily enough for us both of our moves that we have had through the military have been fantastic.
When A got his first posting in Kingston, we had a moving company pack and move all our personal belongings for us.
Then when A was posted from Kingston to Ottawa, we had another company moved us onto base. They covered packing and moving which was lovely because I did not have to pack.
However, this time A is not being posted and we are just moving independently. I forgot how great it was to have somebody else pack for you oh and move as well.
The military has a lot of perks to it but for Career that ends up tossing you around a lot, I understand why they offer all these options. I have had some people ask me why we did not buy a house right when we got posted to Ottawa. That was because we did not quite have our down payment at the amount that we wanted it to be at, we also were not really seeing any homes that we liked at the time either. We ended up moving into a just under 1000 square foot town home 3 bedrooms, one bath unfinished basement, fenced in backyard house on base. It has honestly been the nicest place we have ever lived, also the cheapest for a breezy $900 a month + utilities. That monthly cost allowed us to save for our down payment. It was a smart move for only having to live here for a year and a half.
There is a restriction when it comes to using military benefits when moving. You have two years from your posting date to get the full Benefits when buying a home. After the two years, you end up losing some of the benefits so that is why being out of this townhome and into a new home before that two-year mark which is next June was a must have.
There’s so many benefits and honestly I wasn’t apart of too much of the paperwork but from what I do remember benefits included coverage of all legal fees, portion of the mortgage insurance, additional home inspections and one that I thought was pretty cool was a cover fee for changing all of the locks in your home after you move in.
One thing that I have learned from being a military spouse is that paperwork takes forever. So, if you are smart you end up looking through BGRS and finding a list that has pre-approved vendors that work closely or have worked in the past with the claim’s office. This was just another gold star moment for Sarah because not only did she catch our eye with the house of our dreams (that sold way above our budget, btw) but she was also on this pre-approved list. How could we not accept her help when she asked if we had a realtor.
A was the one who ended up having the first conversations with Sarah and told her what we were looking for. Sarah ended up sending us a portal link to a full list of homes that met the criteria that we gave her. I think what I liked most about Sarah was that she never posted anything that was out of our budget, what we said we did not want and when we had questions about listings she was upfront and straight with us.
I remember the first home that we ever went to walkthrough this was when covid was not as serious and it was just at the start. We walked through this old Victorian style home, I am not going to go into detail but let’s just say there is beautiful woodwork where it was original, where it was fixed, not so much. Did I cry a little inside? Yes. The front porch was gorgeous, until you walked up to it and realized that if you were to walk on it your foot would probably go through it and the most interesting thing about this home was the fact that they had a squirrel in a cage. Other than that, I do not really remember much. After seeing this home, I think A and I started to reconsider and have a few doubts on maybe what was realistic for us.
The second house we saw hit the nail on the head for us. This was a few weeks later and when Ottawa started going into lockdown so open houses were not quite the same. We met Sarah at the house she went in first and looked around came out then let us go in and walk around.
It was a cool house because it used to be an old school. The first floor still had the original chalk board which was amazing but all of the bedrooms were in the basement and to say it the most nice way possible, some people should just not Do their own home renovations. It really sucked because the land that the house is on was amazing, there was horse stable and pens a barn and a River running right beside the property. It was super secluded and extremely pretty, but the road flooding signs on our way there put up a huge red flag for us regarding home insurance.
Safe to say we walked out of that house thinking is our budget even realistic for what we want because every house that we have seen or have looked at online will need home renovations.
If you know me, you know I do not shy away from home renovations it’s just if you’re going to do them right you need the funds to be able to do it.
I think Sarah saw the frustration and ended up giving an option that we said we did not want right from the get-go. She presented it in a way that got us thinking that this was more realistic for our lifestyle and for our budget. She broke it down for us but also did not pressure us into thinking that this was our only option. I will say it now and I will say it 1000 times over, you know you have a brilliant realtor when she not only presents you with something that you didn’t realize you wanted but also shows you why this would fit your lifestyle better. She was not pushy about it at all and it came off more as “I’ve dealt with a lot of military moves and this is what’s going to be better in the long run”.
The real estate market is hot right now and it was at the beginning of the year as well, so when Sarah showed us this, we had to decide quick. Note that we bought this house from plans alone. for me it was extremely easy to visualize this space but for A it was a little bit more complicated. the builder provided us with photos that were similar to what we were getting but not the same. because of that, it took a little convincing for A and involved far too many phone calls to both of our parents asking their opinion. About a dozen pro and con lists from me that slowly started ending up with more pros for the townhome than cons against it. At the end of the day A just wants a house and if I am happy, he’s happy. #Blessed
Having a farm or having a house on a lot of land would have been amazing but in real life this townhome was a better investment. It ended up being a brand-new build so right from the start we would not have to worry about replacing anything, updating anything, renovating anything, or having to shingle the roof for exceptionally long time. We also looked at it as an investment property. I say this because of the line of work A does. The military, when it wants to move quickly it does. One day you are here and the next day you are shipped off someplace. Having a townhome would be easier to rent out than having a farmhouse if we ended up getting posted somewhere else. See it is that big picture that Sarah saw, and we did not.
I have heard bad stories about Realtors and listing agents and as much as I wish I could say I feel your pain I honestly cannot. And I am not going to lie, I am really relieved to be able to say that.
So how about this, the next few points are great ways to get the exact same experience as we did with your future realtor or listing agent.
Here are 7 ways to find the perfect realtor along with some red flags to avoid and some great qualities to lookout for.
Get a pen ready because these seven points are the must-haves in a great realtor.
- If you can I highly suggest that you start with a referral. This way you know how your family, friend or acquaintance experience was. You want to get a few different options, just do not go with one realtor because someone you know had a great experience with them. Take the time to gather a few different names and give each one a call to check their experiences ang credentials. This also gives you the perfect time to see their response time and if your vibe well with them. Do not forget to ask around as well, if people had a bad experience, they will not be shy to share it.
- check their credentials. Hit up that Google search bar and start googling them by name. See if there are any reviews and make sure to not just look for good ones, but the bad ones as well. If you are in a situation like us and needs a realtor that specializes in certain departments. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.
- Local knowledge. Try to find an agent that lives in or close to where you are looking to move. No one knows a place like its residents do. FY I they also might have knowledge of listings that have not hit the market yet and that gives you a one up on the bidding process.
- Make sure your match. ask some questions. buying a house should be fun and having a realtor that you get along with helps make that process run smoothly. it sounds simple but you are about to spend a lot of time with them so, make sure you both understand each other. don’t be afraid to ask them how many homes have you sold? How long have you been in the game? What is your experience in this area? How long do their listings stay on the market how involved will they be? what are their suggestions on improving curb appeal?
- Time frame. Buying a house is a process and sometimes you are not in a huge rush to buy. Find a realtor that understands that and is not going to push you into something you do not want just because they want to get paid. you need to make this clear from the start and do not feel bad if you feel the need to ditch them along the way for someone else.
- The realtors get paid by the seller not by you. The higher the sale price means the higher commission for them. Look for someone who is willing to negotiate to your benefit and make sure from the start that you are found someone who will listen to what you want and not just force you into something because their Commission will be higher.
- Do not be afraid to switch if you have a bad taste in your mouth. If you find that they are not attenuative or showing you homes that are nothing like what you want, ask yourself would you pay them for their service? Also, do not be afraid to go to open houses by yourself. Hit up some of the houses that you like you may just find your realtor as that house listing agent.
Not everyone is perfect and not everybody is good at their job and that is okay. In saying that, here are some red flags that you might want to lookout for before selecting your realtor.
-They take forever to respond
-They are never available to talk or meet
-They push homes that are nothing what you want
-They continually show you houses out of your price range but promise they will go for cheaper
-They are missing most of your must haves
-They struggled to answer basic questions
-There is nothing about them online or any social media presents
-They do not explain any paperwork or the home buying process
Some good qualities that you want to lookout for are:
Integrity. They should be honest and uphold the law throughout the whole process
Friendliness. How they interact with you and others is important period of big part of the transaction is winning the other party over. So great sales skills are a must and goes to bat when things go sideways.
Creativity. If you find yourself in a multi bid situation it is important that they are able to think big and help you win the deal. they should be giving you alternative options and present creative ideas for you to win that bidding process.
Ambition. If you are having troubles finding the right fit and no home seems to be the right one your realtor should remain on task and fight for you.
Detail Orientated. They should know to look for alarming details like code violations, water damage, broken pipes, and windows etc. These are all small details that have a huge impact when it comes to Sending in your offer and your conditions.
A healthy network. If they have a large network or team the better chance you have of getting what you want. The more people working on your file the more options will be presented.
Just Remember, this process can become stressful, so you need someone by your side who does their best to make it enjoyable and smooth. Pick someone you would not be afraid to call up in vent to.
Again, it is a lot but if you look out for these key traits you won’t have any issues.
That is a wrap on this week’s chat of making our way home. I hope those points help you find your Sarah. Do not forget that last week my mailing subscription went live and if you signed up you get a freebie printable that helps you decide on what you want from your home. You can still get that freebie now if you sign up for my mailing list link can be found below. I have also decided to extend my launch day giveaway another week so do not forget to check that out as well link can be found below.
Once again, I am Mel and you just read another chat about making our way home where we scheme the real AF dilemmas of home design and the home buying process.
Thank you so much for now stay savvy, stay healthy, and let’s fall in love with our homes!
much love Mel