House Hunting 2016: First Looks, First Impressions, First Pangs Of Remorse

Earlier this month, we got an email inviting us to tour the development site where our townhouse is being built. It promised a walk-through, a chance to check out the other styles (there are three types of units in total) and the opportunity to speak with the developer, who gets rave reviews from the few people we know that have bought from him in the past.

We RSVP’ed yes and I started counting down the days until the trip because this felt like it would be the first time all of this was really real. Sure, we’d handed over a deposit cheque and had the brochures giving us a general idea of what the layout would be, but there is something different, more tangible about climbing the stairs for the first time and walking into your open concept main floor that brings the whole thing to life.

And that’s precisely what happened when we turned up on Saturday, although bringing everything to life doesn’t necessarily mean all positives, though our experience was terrific overall.

After discovering that our garage is bigger than we expected (read: karate in the garage is coming), our decision to spend a little extra to get the end unit was very much worth it as the extra windows in our stairwells and living room provide tons of additional light that you’re not getting from an interior unit.

Our main floor – open concept throughout – is also a garden level, so we have sliders on the back into our little yard, perfect for the mongrel to run out when it’s raining and aces for firing up the barbecue. We had talked about choosing to switch our living room and dining room – using the space in the back for the living room – but between having the cable hook-ups in the front of the space and the overall size of those two areas, it’s not going to work, but it’s cool, because it’s still everything we’ve been looking for in a main floor, especially with our monstrous 10-foot kitchen island and walk-in pantry.

Those may not be things that get you excited, but I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to both. The island is such a multi-purpose spot and super-helpful as someone who spends a lot of time cooking, while having a pantry for storing dry goods and whatever else frees up space, which means Tupperware isn’t falling out of cupboards and cans aren’t stacked three-high.

But it wasn’t all awesomeness.

Heading up to the top floor, we realized the two spare bedrooms are smaller than anticipated, which presents some issues, namely that getting a queen-sized bed and some workspace for my wife out of one room probably isn’t going to happen, unless we get a Murphy bed, which is under consideration.

And there isn’t a lot of room between the toilet and the stand-alone shower in the en suite bathroom. Not that there needs to be tons of space, but squeezing in isn’t exactly pleasurable either and let’s be honest, I’m kind of a bigger dude and the chances of me stubbing my toe on the edge of the shower while sleepy-eyed at ungodly o’clock in the morning are now much higher.

But those were the only real issues and all-in-all, that’s not too bad.

Smaller rooms aren’t the end of the world because we’ve had a sleeper-sofa for the last couple years and its hella comfortable, so we have space for people to sleep, even if we only end up with a double or a day bed. Plus, maybe we’ll feel differently about the space once it is finished and we’re not heading in nervous and filled with anticipation.

That’s the thing to remember in situations like this: your expectations are always going to be heightened, while your nerves and apprehensions will be high at the same time. It costs a lot of money, more than you’ve ever spent in one sitting before (in most cases), so you’re going to be worried and look for flaws and stuff to get worried about just as much as you’re going to be searching for positives.

Thankfully, my wife and I balance each other out pretty well, so we came away mostly stoked and excited about the next few months, just with a couple more things on our shopping list.

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