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How to Compromise and Buy an Awesome House

When we started shopping for a house in Kitchener-Waterloo, we had a long list of “wants”: three bedrooms, more than one bathroom, character features, a good sized yard, garage space… there were probably 30 must-haves on that list. However, as the weeks rolled on and we saw nearly all of the houses within our desired price-range, it became pretty clear that something had to give.


Yep, we compromised; crossed must-haves off our list, lowered our starry-eyed standards, and focused on what was most important to our life right now. Everyone wants that “This is the one!” feeling, but even dream houses aren’t perfect. If you’ve been struggling to pull the trigger (you know who you are) here’s how I prioritized my shopping list and bought an awesome house.

  1. Location is king. Yep, we all know it, so don’t pretend it doesn’t matter. Live where you want to do your living; it’s that simple. We compromised on size to live within 5km of work and the downtown activities that we love. In the end, it’s much easier to update the flow of a house than the flow of a neighbourhood. That extra 30 minutes in the car may not feel like much when you’re house shopping, but do the drive twice a day, in traffic, for the next five years…  hopefully you really love your car.
  2. The Right Now. What functions in a home are part of your daily life? We have a large dog and a love for gardening. Sure, we could live without a yard, but… it would majorly change how we spend our time. Compromise on areas that will have less of an impact on how you live your life right now. Focusing too much on future plans is a sure way to get home buying paralysis. Be present, buy something that will work for you as you are.
  3. Your Stuff Doesn’t Have Feelings. Chances are, “Where will we put our stuff?” is one of the top thoughts flowing through your head when you’re viewing houses. It’s a natural thing to consider, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor. We got rid of several pieces of furniture that didn’t work in the new house (even some with sentimental value). Don’t buy a house just because it has a room for the pool table you never use. Your stuff doesn’t have feelings, it doesn’t get to decide where you live. Period. 

When we first saw our current house, we didn’t think it met our needs. It was small, needed a lot of work, and nearly electrocuted our realtor (seriously). But, when we focused on what we really needed and how we lived, it was a great match – an awesome little house. (And, don’t worry, we’ve fixed that trick light switch).


What’s the biggest compromise you’ve made for a new house? What’s the one thing you absolutely couldn’t take off the “must-have” list?


Read more about our house adventures over at

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Stephanie Catcher
September 9, 2020
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Mark Carruthers
October 15, 2019
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Steve Catcher
June 9, 2014
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