You Always Remember Your First…

The first one always makes a lasting impression.

Perhaps you’re nervous, maybe a little unsure of yourself or what to expect.

Emotions are running high, and you have zero experience!

Wait…..what the hell are we talking about?

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Nervous…

Sweating…

Heart beating fast…

Pupils dialated…

Figeting…

Emotional wreck…..but excited, and cautiously optimistic.

Everybody has gone through this before, and its simply a natural step in in your progression towards being an adult.

What I’m talking about of course is your first time……

Yep!  Your first time….looking at real estate!

Wait, what did you think I meant?

I was misleading?  Really?  No…..just look at that picture up above—the girl is whispering into that guy’s ear, “I really, really hope we like this house, and I hope it has a big family room so we can watch re-runs of Seventh Heaven while I knit sweaters and you polish the pennies in your penny-loafers.”

Anyways…

The first time you go and look at residential real estate is always a thrill a minute.  It’s a big step, and whether you’re a serious buyer or you just want to “see what’s out there,” it certainly is an eye-opening experience.

I remember back in February of last year when I took my younger brother to see a condo on Merton Street.  He had been making noise about moving out of “the big house” for some time, and since he was/is scheduled to be married in June of 2008, he wanted to get the ball rolling on his eventual move.

I was intrigued by a main-floor condo at 119 Merton Street, and I made mention of it during our Sunday morning brunch with our mother.  I suggested that on the way home, we go take a look at it, and my brother agreed.

I have known my brother for twenty-five years and one-hundred-nineteen days (not including leap years…), and thus I can read him like a book.  When he gets quiet, I can see the hamster running on the wheel in his head.  And from the moment we walked through the front door of this condo, that hamster was running for its life!

The unit was a one-bedroom plus den, one bathroom, with a patio on the main floor complete with BBQ, tables, and chairs.  The price was $299,900, and it would most certainly go over the asking price.

We spent about ten minutes inside the condo, and then got back in the car.  Neil was quiet as a mouse (or hamster…), and I finally said, “Sooooooo?”

He said, “Dude……that really…..uh……that really opened my eyes.  I think I should see more properties.  I think Lindsay should come with us.  I think….yeah…..”

You know that saying, “You never know until you try?”  Well until you get out there and actually see some condos and houses up close, you have no clue what to expect.  My brother had basically never even been inside a condo before, and he was thinking of buying one!  Shouldn’t you actually see one before you become a potential buyer???

The following weekend, I took Neil & Lindsay out to see seven different buildings in the Yonge/Eglinton area, all different shapes and sizes.  Lofts, 2-storey units, new, old, big, small, and everything in between.  I firmly believe in overwhelming my clients the first time out simply so there are no surprises, and they know what a huge job they have ahead of them.

But in the past little while, I’ve noticed an interesting trend with respect to “the first time.”  I find more and more that the very FIRST property a person sets foot in often becomes the perfect place.

Coincidence?  Well, yeah.  I mean, could it be anything but?

I took my friend Tucker to see a place last year on Cleveland Avenue in Davisville Village that was exactly what he was looking for: three units in a house, but NOT a triplex, and under $600,000.  Unfortunately, it was the first house he saw, and he wasn’t ready to buy.  One year later, we haven’t found anything even close, and prices have risen substantially.

I took my friend Pete to see condos last summer, and we had eight places on our list.  Seven of those were complete garbage, and one of them was just unreal.  Bright, spacious, open-concept condo with a clear waterfront view from the 16th floor overlooking a park below (that will never be built on!), and in a great building in a trendy locale.  To appease Pete’s parents, we went out one more time to look at condos (six crummy ones), and Pete bought the place he saw on his FIRST trip out!

When I bought my condo, I wasn’t in the market.  Now, being in real estate, obviously I see a ton of condos every day of the week.  But after my very FIRST thought about potentially making a move, I walked in to a condo and just fell in love with it.

My friend Galen, who also likes to be called Kurt by his friends and co-workers, found the “perfect” place his first week of looking at residential real estate.  It was the first place we put an offer in on, and unfortunately for Kurt, er, Galen, there were ten other offers.  But since then, we haven’t found anything worth looking at, unless you count the house on Palmerston that served cat for dinner….

One of the saddest stories I have on this subject is with respect to my clients from three years past: Jake and Dara.  Dara had her heart set on the Bathurst/Queen area, and we found an exceptional little house for $319,900, that wasn’t holding back on offers, as all properties do today.  It was, in a word, perfect.  But Jake was adamant that we see what else is out there, and we kept looking.  A week later, the house sold, and we spent the next four months trying to find something comparable, which we never did.  Jake & Dara gave up looking, and rented for a year before moving to Brampton.  Ironically, that house came onto the market a month ago for $399,900, and sold for $411,100.

Everybody is nervous their first time, but if you have an experienced partner, er, Realtor, they should be able to walk you through the process and wipe the proverbial sweat from your brow.

Realtors work on commission, and it’s a known fact.  So if a Realtor takes you out your first time and then says, “This house is perfect, you should quit looking, and buy this one,” you probably are going to take his/her advice with a grain of salt.

But I’ve seen it happen time and time again; the first one is often the nicest, the most memorable, the best price, or meets all of your wants and needs.

Many people have reservations about buying or offering on the first place they look at, and it’s understandable.

No matter what happens in the end, the first time is exciting for everybody involved.  You might not know what you’re doing, and you’ll probably fumble about a few times while trying to determine what you like and what feels right, but once you get through the nitty-gritty, you’ll surely be left satisfied and smiling…

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