We bought our first home …and beat 700 people to get it! (Pre-construction Experience)

PRE-CONSTRUCTION EXPERIENCE - Andrin Homes

You know that feeling when you buy something you’ve been wanting (and saving up) for a long time? A new pair of shoes, designer bag, etc? Add the fact that you waited in line and beat out 100s of people to get it. That feeling! It’s so good you want to bottle it up and ride that high wave. Times that by 10000000000. We bought a house! Hashtag WINNING!

The road to get our first home was a rocky anxiety-driven one. The pre-construction home buying process rumours are true. There were people camping overnight. There were more people than homes. There was a lot of emotion and a lot of money spent. Here’s the play by play of our purchase from Andrin Homes in the future new community of Country Lane in Whitby.

Months before the sales centre opens…

The decision was made. Our savings was going to go into our future home and we wanted a brand new home, straight from the builder. We started to look up neighbourhoods we wanted to be in and decided on north Whitby. With over 6 developers planning future residential communities in north Whitby we signed up for ALL newsletters.

The next few months were spent researching the developers and signing up again and again and again. You know, just in case they didn’t get we wanted a home the first time. We drove by constantly keeping tabs on how far the sales centre was from being completed.

One month before the sale centre opens…

Constant calls were made to the head office of the developer to try and get ANY information about when the opening date was. Mind you the sales representatives were pretty tight lip. They were screening 100s of calls a day from buyers like me wanting to know price point, release date, lots size, anything.

One week before…

We drive by the sales centre and it looked 90% complete! We see construction men working on site and I take it upon me to talk to them. I scoop out which one would give me the most information and cat-walk my way towards him. Poor guy has been approach over 30 times just in one day. He let’s me know that “they were suppose to open up last weekend but we haven’t finished the fence or driveway…we’ll be done that this week so I’m assuming it’ll be next weekend, not sure though.”

I’m ecstatic and antsy at the same time. Mind you this is the most information I’ve gotten. It’s game time.  We’re getting one of these homes.

We go home and prepare for the worse. Will one of us have to camp out, can we hire someone, or maybe a family member could do it for us? How much do we actually want to spend? What is our walk away? Who will be there? How will it be run? Questions in our minds spinning out of control. After all, this is one of the biggest purchases we will make in our life.

 HALT! EMAIL ALERT!

Finally an email from the builder. We’ll be opening very soon, be prepared for an email to BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT.

An appointment!? Amazing, we won’t have to wait in line after all. So we think…

3 Days before

I get another email. Even though we signed up both of our emails, it was only I receiving the news. Thankfully we were those crazy people that signed up thousands of times.

The email is a code to use to sign up for an appointment. The appointment email will be sent out “shortly”. The build up was killing us. We both work, yet we had to be by our phones with data service and full battery for who knew how long?

One hour later! The email comes! I’m driving down the 404 freaking out that I’m on the highway. I called David to try and get him to do it on his phone but it was so slow on his end. Anxiety level through the roof at this point. I pull over on the side of the highway. Type in the code, see the appointments for 10 am, 11 am, 12 am up until 5 pm for both Saturday and Sunday. I pick the first appointment available.

We have an appointment! We get another email with the agreement of purchase and sale to look over with a lawyer if we choose.

48 hours before

Being a realtor I start to go over the agreement of purchase and sale, multiple times. Marking certain points for questions we had for the sales representative. There are a lot of hidden fees in the agreement of purchase and sale. I highlight and underline changes I want to make. Or so I think we can make…

11:00 AM Day Before. Cold Feet?

Filled with anxiety. We decide to meet with my team lead/partner Ravi Singh for sound advice. We go over the APS again with him. Ravi teaches us about the Future Value our new purchase has. We are buying 2016 prices and getting the home in 2018. One key advice that stuck out was not to be fooled by the hype. Builders will throw on a show to sell out. Together we figured out what our walk away price would be and we were sticking to that.

8:45 AM THE BIG DAY.

Tickets printed, IDs in hand, APS in binder, cheque book in purse. We were as ready as we could be. David receives a text. One of his friends, who lives in Whitby, just passed by the sales centre. There seems to be 100 people in line already and someone had been there since Wednesday night! Jolted with this information we grab our two large teas and started on our way.

9:50 AM We arrive.

It started to rain, we drive up the muddy road to park 500 metres away from the sales office. To our astonishment there was over 100 people in line. A car with a sign that said “First person in line since Wednesday night”. What?! We thought it was by appointment. But it was. However it turned out you shared that same appointment with 100s of other people. Crap.

10:00 AM Inside the tent

We sign into our 10 AM appointment. We get a tag that says Andrin 051. We were 51st in line for the 10 AM appointment. Fortunately Andrin had security and Durham Police only letting in people with tickets and appointments. Still anxious we forego the free hotdogs and fancy brochures. We pace back and forth under the tent trying to stay warm and dry. Every 10-15 mins a coordinator would come out calling out 10 people at a time to line up and go in. “ANDRIN HOMES NUMBERS 030 TO 041 PLEASE LINE UP HERE YOU’LL BE GOING IN SHORTLY”.

10:50 AM Call time

Time seems to be passing slowly. Another coordinator comes out with red sold stickers. Everyone rushes to the lot layout to see what homes have just sold. There were 187 lots and 30% of them were sold out in 50 mins. “ANDRIN HOMES NUMBER 042 TO 053”. It’s our turn!

11:00 AM Inside the sales centre

Warmth. Finally we are inside. We’re guided to the front area of the sales centre. A coordinator then tells us the next steps.

These are your brochures. Know which home you want and which lot you prefer. Not every home can go on all the lots. Have your first, second, third, etc choices picked. After you have been allocated a lot you will sit down with a sales representative to sign the offer and you’ll be off.

11:10 AM Priorities

We all disburse ourselves throughout the building. Looking at layouts, lots, home finishes and reading over all the paperwork. I’m secretly freaking out. What if we don’t get the house we want?! What if the closing costs are more than we expected? What finishes do we pick?

David being the numbers guy that he is starts to prioritize the lots we want. If we don’t get this one, what is our second choice? Every so often going up to check which lots were sold.

12:00 PM Still waiting

We haven’t seen a sales rep yet. Lots are being sold every 5 mins. Andrin number 048 gets called up. They take our 3rd choice. We regroup, what’s left? We were constantly crossing out and re-prioritizing the lots we wanted. Andrin 051, FINALLY. We can pick our lot. Lot 52, Belmont A. We have a home layout and a lot. Deposit cheques were passed over.

What we thought what was the hardest part was done. Now we waited to see a sales rep to go over what we want out of the offer and then we could sign! Easy right? Nope!

1:00 PM Hello Neighbour!

At this point we knew we’d be waiting for a long time.  Surrounded by our future possible neighbours we started to talk to everyone and introduce ourselves. Hey, you never know when you’ll run out of salt or sugar and need a friendly neighbor, right?

Everyone was on the same page. It’s a long wait, there’s only so many hotdogs you can eat, the washrooms were far, we didn’t get our first choice in lot, prices were high and we were all exhausted!

With all of that it was nice knowing that our possible future neighbours surrounded us. I met a lovely lady named May; she’s an interior designer. We agreed if we both buy today that she’d come over to help me decorate. I’m looking forward to that, May!

2:00 PM Oh Bobbi!

Andrin 051. Hi guys this is Bobbi, she’ll be helping you sign the APS over here. Great! Bobbi was very brief with the introductions. I tell her I’d like to go over a few points in the APS.  She was quick to interrupt me…”sorry we don’t have time to do that, if you are ready then I can help you, if not than I have to move on to someone else and put you to the back of the line”

Now, if know me, this is not happening. One, I’ve been waiting since 10 AM to get to this point. Two, I saw other people taking their time. Three, I have questions that need answers. I explain this all to Bobbi. Again, she’s not having it. “Sorry this is my job to go through each person and finish this up as fast as possible”.

Nope, not again. I’m a realtor, Bobbi is a realtor. I know the legality behind signing an APS. If I ask you to explain something to me, as a licensed realtor you must explain it honestly and thoroughly.

Let’s skip through this drama, Bobbi and I did not get along. Finally she gave us an option. “Okay, so what I will do is get you the new APS (because of course there’s a new agreement of purchase and sale the day of) and you can sit here and review it and when you are ready I will get you a new sales rep to help you sign.” Bobbi, clearly just wanted to make her sales and chug through all possible buyers.

Fine, we take what we could get. 10 minutes later an assistant approaches Bobbi with a blank APS and hands it to her. Mind you Bobbi is already onto the next buyer. She points to us and says hand it to them please. The assistant confused and hesitant looks at Bobbi and says “but we can’t just give…” Bobbi interrupts her “…it’s okay just give it to them please.”

2:30 PM Breaking rules already

With a new APS in our hands we were the only buyers in the sales centre pushing boundaries. Feeling neglected by Bobbi had pushed my anxiety to an extreme level.

Are we getting screwed over here?!

We take a breather. Emotions are very high.

I text Ravi a freak-out text. We don’t know what to do. We feel wronged.

He’s right. There’s 700 people here. If they don’t get it now and we do that’s a positive. There’s demand here. Resale will be easy and we can profit because we are buying a future value. We need to regroup. This is our first home. It’s suppose to be exciting! The hype was getting to us. Pressure, pressure.

3:00 PM That’s it. We’re going for it.

Let’s sign babe. Decision made. David goes to get a new sales rep. We get put to the top of the pile again.

3:10 PM Good ol’ James!

A young, fit, well-dressed gentleman approaches us. “Hi guys, I hear your ready now, come on over!”

James made us feel at ease. He took the time to answer ALL of my highlighted and underlined questions in the APS. He was honest, real and knowledgeable. And boy did we appreciate that at this point.

“What happens if the square footage in the diagram here is different than what we get, isn’t that false advertising?!” I asked perplexed at the fact that measurements were not included in the final APS. “Yes, logically and in theory you can. But I’ve been doing this for several years now and Andrin is a good builder, they won’t do that to you. It won’t be EXACT, but they won’t cut off 100 square feet on you.”

James is the man at this point. But with both of us being from middle-eastern background we wanted a good deal. Give us anything to make us feel better about giving you $80, 000 deposit. At first it was a lot of “No we can’t give you more $$ for upgrades, no we can’t cap this, no we can’t give you an assignment clause”

So then we asked “Okay James, what can you do for us?” He said “I can push back your deposit cheques by 2 months.” YES, we will take it! I thought David was going to kiss James at this point. We love James if you haven’t gotten that by now.

4:10 PM Sign, sealed and delivered!

WE SIGNED! We will have our new home in December 2018.

This was one of the most high anxiety, stressful moments of our entire life.  However, we wouldn’t have changed it for anything. We learned a lot. We grew through the process and to be honest, we’d do it again.

Fast forward to today.

Everyday we talk about our new home with excitement. We look forward to watching it being built (catch my Snapchat for the updates), look forward to getting the keys, decorating it and throwing a big house warming party.

SG.