Yesterday was an exciting day for us - we all piled in the car and set out on our first house hunting day!
We have decided to try and buy in a town called Orangeville, about an hour north of Toronto. It's a great little place, that is just starting to be built up. All the stores you could possibly need on a daily/weekly basis are located there, but it doesn't have the congested feeling of a big city. There's a great congregation there that we could attend for church, made up of mostly young families and children.
The whole process should have made two cautious people like James and I nervous, but instead we found ourselves feeling confident in each decision we had to make.
Our first task was finding a real estate agent. Looking at houses for sale online, we chose a house we liked and called the agent listed for the property. She set up a few things for us to see yesterday, hence the trip up. Right from the beginning we developed a great rapport. She seemed knowledgeable, attentive, and she specializes in first time buyers. And as it turns out, we actually have met her before! We have a mutual friend, through Chrysler (James' work), who had hired us to film a television pilot for him, and this agent was there on the film set!
We looked at three houses - one was a definite no (the agent said she wouldn't even let us consider buying it), one was okay but needed some work, and the last was exactly what we are looking for. We weren't ready to buy a house our first day out, but it really gave our agent a chance to see what we like and what we don't, to help her in finding the perfect house.
Our second task yesterday was to get pre-approved on a mortgage. This we were really unsure about, because we have virtually no knowledge or experience in this area. However, things just seemed to work out for us, as we visited a mortgage broker with whom our agent's office works a lot. With no trouble at all, we were approved for what we needed, and we got a fantastic rate, well below what our bank could have offered. The broker was a straightforward type of guy, which we like when it comes to our money. But it also eased our minds as we noticed an entire shelf on his bookshelf devoted to different Christian books. Somehow it's easier to trust someone who is outwardly religious. Hopefully it is a sign of personal integrity also.
By the end of the day, we felt really good about the whole process. There were no hesitations or reserves lurking in the back of our minds. We are in no rush to buy, and we really feel like all the pieces are falling into their perfect places.