The Emotional Journey of House Hunting in Halifax

The Emotional Journey of House Hunting in Halifax

The Emotional Journey of House Hunting in Halifax

If you’re house hunting in the HRM right now, you might be feeling a bit of buyer fatigue. It’s understandable. The hot seller’s market in the Halifax region has created a challenging situation for would-be buyers like Katelyn Josey, who describes her year-long search as “exhausting.”

As of early July, Katelyn and her husband had bid on eight homes, once going $112,000 over asking. But they still haven’t been able to buy a home. “There is limited inventory, so finding a home that fits our price point and needs is challenging,“ she explains.  Even when you do find one, you face stiff competition from other buyers.

“It's so hard to keep going after you finally fall in love with a home, put your best foot forward, and then have to move on to the next after you lose. There is a grieving process for sure.”

Challenging times for both buyers and agents

It isn’t easy to be a buyer’s agent, either. “Honestly, it’s very emotional for me as well because I’m there through it all with them and through their journey,” says Mary-Ellen Power, a RE/MAX nova agent who is helping Katelyn and her husband look for a home.

“Definitely the hardest part of my job at the moment is turning around and telling my buyers, who have been looking for a year, that they didn’t get the house that they absolutely love again, for the fifth time. You know, that’s tough.”

A key part of her role is keeping buyers motivated to keep looking. It’s easy to get discouraged after losing out time after time. Katelyn says Mary-Ellen is a key reason they haven’t given up yet and she can’t imagine not having a supportive and experienced agent helping them through the buying process.

“Mary Ellen is the only thing keeping our heads up and stopping us from quitting all together. I honestly have no idea how we would be surviving and navigating this market without her.” She says they’re also motivated by their goal of starting a family and hosting large celebrations for family and friends.

Message to buyers: Don’t lose hope

Mary-Ellen says on average, buying a house in the Halifax region these days takes about six months, up to 25 viewings and many offers. “I’m probably writing about seven to 10 offers before they’re getting accepted.” It means a lot of extra work for her and a lot of disappointment for her clients.

She understands how getting outbid over and over can wear people down. But she encourages her buyers not to give up because sometimes there’s a house just waiting for you. She tells one inspiring story about her friend Lindsay Britten, who bought a home after one house-hunting trip.

An unexpected happy ending

Lindsay and her partner were initially hesitant to step into the “crazy market.” But they decided to do it and went house hunting with Mary-Ellen one weekend. They viewed eight houses and ended up falling in love with one and making an offer on it. “We walked in and loved it right away,” recalls Lindsay. “Nervous about what the market was like, we went for it assuming we wouldn’t get it. To our surprise we got it.”

She knows they were lucky and thinks following Mary-Ellen’s suggestions made their offer stand out. “We wrote a letter to the sellers, showing how much we loved the house for our family. We were also flexible on a closing date and put a quarter of our down payment as a deposit,” explains Lindsay. 


But she also feels there may have been another power helping them that day. Her grandfather died the same weekend they were house hunting. She was very close to him and felt he wanted them to get the house she loved. “Grampie was pulling strings” that day, says Lindsay. “I knew he would be very happy for us.”

No letup in sight for 2021

Anyone with their heart set on home ownership anytime soon is likely to face challenging circumstances for a while longer. Most Canadian housing markets are expected to remain seller’s markets in 2021, which means few homes to choose from, lots of competition and rising prices.


But with patience and perseverance, many buyers will eventually find their ideal home. And Mary-Ellen says the intense competitive market makes winning even more satisfying. “Even though it’s a rough journey, it’s almost sweeter when they get the house because it’s been such a long haul. It’s more reason to celebrate and be happy.”

If you’d like to find your first or forever home, please contact us and one of our experienced RE/MAX nova agents will be happy to help. 

Link to National RE/MAX article June 28, 2021

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