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Our Minimalist Home Buying Process – Part 2

July 17, 2018
Our Minimalist Home Buying Process Part 2 _ Tiny Ambitions

Ready for more tedious house stuff? I sure hope so because that’s what’s on the blog menu for today. If you missed part one of our home buying process last week, you can catch up here. Like I said in that post, there really isn’t anything “minimalist” about the home buying process. It’s a pretty big financial (and emotional) deal. That being said, I’d like to think we approached the process with a minimalist attitude. And, that’s got to count for something, right? This week, I’m sharing Steps 5-10 of our home-buying journey. Enjoy!

Step Six: Moving Money Around

Welcome to the age of the internet, where online banking is super handy every other time, except for when you need to gather your downpayment.

Mr. TA and I have separate accounts with separate banks, so money had to be withdrawn from investments, RRSPs, savings, etc. and all funnelled into our joint house account. We are very lucky to have been able to put down 20% of the purchase price of our home as a downpayment.

In Canada, that means we didn’t have to get mortgage insurance through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. We thought about putting less down, thanks to some awesome work by Alyssa over at Zolo, but it wouldn’t have made a difference in our interest rate, so we went for the full 20%.

Step Seven: Home Inspection

When we had our home inspection, I nearly walked out and wanted to back away from the whole thing. It seemed like there were hundreds and hundreds of things wrong with the house. Of course, that wasn’t actually true. There is nothing seriously wrong with the house (like the foundation), that needs immediate repair before we could move in. It’s just small things here and there. But, hearing the home inspector point them all out to me was NOT great for my anxious mind.

In the end, I realized it was the inspector’s job to see every little thing that could possibly need fixing so we could prioritize based on what was important for the house, and for us.

Our Minimalist Home Buying Process - Part 2 {Pin} _ Tiny Ambitions

Step Eight: Wait

At this point, we satisfied all of the conditions on our offer and so began the waiting game.

We are first-time home-buyers which means we didn’t have a house to sell that would be contingent on our offer. The sellers were buying another house, and the sellers of that house were also buying another house. We were at the front of a long line of dominoes, waiting and hoping that everything would fall into place on the timeline we had agreed upon.

Thankfully, everything did work out, but it was right down to the very last minute to find out if everything would go according to plan. 

Step Nine: Lawyers

I don’t know if this is the case everywhere, but in Ontario at least, lawyers are a required part of the home-buying process to hold the money between the buyers and sellers to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. Aka, if we had walked in the day before our deal closed and the basement was flooded or there were massive holes in the walls, we would have withheld some money until the seller fixed the problem. 

In our city, the lawyers also run a title search on the property and make sure that the water utility is transferred properly (don’t ask me why they don’t do the other utilities, I have no idea).

Thanks to the awesome personal finance community that I find myself a part of, I was fully prepared for the costs of the lawyer and had built it into our budget. In fact, I was prepared for it to cost anywhere between $2000 and $3000. So, when the final bill came out at $1600, I was pleased as a peach.

I should also point out that since we are first-time home-buyers, we didn’t have to pay any land transfer tax. It’ll get us next time though.

Step 10: Keys, Close and Move

When all is said and done, we were back to waiting. This time, we were waiting for the money to change hands and for the lawyers to call us and say we could come to pick up our keys.

Our moving day was really cut up because of this. We got our moving truck at 8 am on a Monday and didn’t get the keys to our new house until after 4 pm. I actually didn’t mind the waiting though because it meant we had lots of time between packing up our apartment and moving into the house to eat lunch and relax.

I’ll take a waiting but relaxed move over a fast and furious one any day.


So that’s it. The good, the bad and the ugly that led us to the new homeowners we are today. All things considered, I would say it was a pretty painless process. I’ve never signed more documents in my life (and handed over more money). But, other than the anxious waiting, everything went according to plan. As a first-time home buyer, I am especially grateful that we didn’t have any last minute disasters. That would have been enough to send me over the edge and back into renting.

This brings us, more or less, to where we’re at now. As of the date of this post, we’ve been in the new house for just under a month. Which is straight up bananas. It feels like we’ve been in the house for a hot second, but also an eternity.  We’re all moved into the new house and are slowing getting things to where we want them. Current milestones include hanging up curtains and buying a tiny lawnmower for a backyard. (This is what home ownership wins look like).  

There are a couple more things on the ‘to-purchase’ list that I’m going to share in a future post. We’re not going to go overboard with buying new ‘stuff’ for the space, but there are a couple of things we’ve been living without for the last couple of years that I am more than ready to reintroduce back into our lives.

Do you own a house? How was your home buying process? Let me know in the comments!

Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions

  • Marda A. Keith July 19, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    We bought a condo that we had never seen in a place 1400 miles from where we were living to replace a house we loved in a town we had lived in for many years. We saw a condo in a small complex on Realtor.com and had a family member look it it. It sold the same day it appeared on the web site. However it was in the perfect location and had what we needed. By good luck a condo in the same complex showed up a few weeks later. Again family members looked and approved. We made an offer (one of three the same day it appeared!) and had it accepted by shear good luck ( our realtor mentioned the proximity to family which hit the right note with the sellers). Paper work was accomplished by FedEX and email with a family member using a power of attorney to sign the final papers. We couldn’t move for several months so had everything done that we wanted before we moved. First sighting in person was when we were waiting for delivery of our furniture! It actually worked out far better than might be expected considering that we did everything in a rather weird way. We are close to family, have shops close, and the arrangement of the condo. We were incredibly lucky.

    • Britt July 19, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Marda! I’m glad your home buying process worked out well for you.

  • Linda Sand July 18, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Small houses are good for keeping you from buying things you don’t need. Two love seats and a recliner totally filled our first living room and we loved it. I made cushions to put on the long, low radiator then made stockings to hang on the white stair railing and we hosted Dave’s family of eight people for Christmas Eve. Oh, the memories!

    • Britt July 18, 2018 at 9:35 pm

      I totally agree! If you don’t have space for something, you’ll be less tempted to fill it with stuff you don’t actually need.

  • Tread Lightly, Retire Early July 18, 2018 at 9:19 am

    It sounds like you really did have quite a smooth home buying process! Amazing how much you can get thrown for a loop at the very end for any number of different reasons. Glad to hear you’re settling in, and congratulations on being homeowners!

  • Lisa July 18, 2018 at 2:38 am

    Awesome! It really does sound like the whole process went very smoothly, Britt. That’s amazing that you’ve already been there for a month. Well done on making a 20% downpayment, too – that’s incredible!!

    • Britt July 18, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Thanks, Lisa! Looking back now, it’s almost weird how smoothly it went. You always hear horror stories about people buying a house. Luckily (fingers crossed), none of that happened to us!

  • Geneviève July 17, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Hi Britt! Congrats on being a new home owner! I must say, I am a bit jealous about the land transfer tax… I just bought a home in june, and in Quebec, first-time home-buyers have to pay that tax. So much for incouraging young people to buy their first home…

    I remember the house inspection, I had the same reaction as you. So many things. Even though they are minor and easy corrections to make, it was the first time I realized what I was in for and what it meant to own a house.

    In Quebec, we have notaries instead of lawyers for all the legal stuff around the home-buying process, or wills, for exemples. They actually are lawyers who don’t plead. It is the same education, but I think they are not members of the Bar.

    Oh that strange feeling when we bought the lawnmower! Never thought I’d be excited to buy such a thing hahaha But it feels so good to have a place of your own. And the silence! I can’t thanks life enough for how quiet the house is.

    Though it was a stressful process, what I struggle the most with was how people around me were discouraging me when I expressed I didn’t want to move my clutter and overstuff our new place. They were all like “Yeah, we all want that. It never happens.” “You’ll see, you will still have dozens of unpacked boxes in you basement in 6 years, we all do.”

    We moved from a 5-room appartment. I thought (and was right) that we had already enough furniture for the house we bought. When I said I didn’t want to buy more furniture, I wanted to live in my new space before deciding if it was lacking something, I got some “Nature hates emptiness. It will be filled without you noticing it.” . In my opinion, if you say you want to do something, “but that never happens anyway”, you will fail. It is hard work and constent vigilance. But it is achievable. And I had to remind myself at time why I was doing this, It was not for them, not to prove anything to anyone. it was to feel better in my life, to have a peaceful place to come home to everyday.

    I wish you lots of hapiness in your new home! (And sorry for this way to long comment…)

    • Britt July 17, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Genevieve! It’s been interesting what people have been saying to me as well. It’s always along similar lines “do you have enough furniture?” Etc. We bought a small house on purpose, so we couldn’t fill it full of stuff we wouldn’t use.

      We have bought a couple of things for the house, but nothing we won’t actually get any use out of. And it’s all stuff I plan to sell if we ever move back to southern Ontario.

      Thanks for reading!

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.

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