Courtesy Lisa Vlooswyk
Courtesy Lisa Vlooswyk

Your first home purchase is always significant, but for eight-time Canadian Long Drive Championship winner Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk, the milestone came along when her life was in full swing.

“When we took possession in 1997, my then fiancé had recently proposed, I had just graduated university and I was embarking on a career as an elementary school teacher,” said Vlooswyk, who is also a keynote speaker. “My husband and I both grew up as south-side kids, so Douglasdale was the perfect spot to build.”

Since the couple knew they wanted children, they chose an area with ample schools, parks and recreation facilities. The two-storey house was almost 2,000 square feet with a large backyard, to which they added fencing, sod and a deck.

Though they had a clear picture of what they wanted in terms of neighbourhood and yard, the house’s interior was another story.

“When we first built, we went quite basic, as we didn’t know what we liked at that point and had a certain budget to follow,” said Vlooswyk. “We basically took what the showhome included, such as exposed Corian reveal, arborite countertops and linoleum flooring throughout. A lot of it was cheesy, but it looked pretty in the showhome and was what we could afford.”

“I think our proudest moment was bringing our parents to view the new home. It was gratifying to see them so excited and to be sharing our joy with the people we loved.”

As is the case for many first-timer buyers who choose to start from scratch, the build process had its ups and downs.

“It was exciting, as we were just starting out in life. At the same time, we often felt overwhelmed with flooring appointments, painting appointments and choosing other aspects of the home,” said Vlooswyk.

“Because we were so young, we had our parents involved, and that was a real positive. I think our proudest moment was bringing our parents to view the new home. It was gratifying to see them so excited and to be sharing our joy with the people we loved.”

While there were challenges along the way, Vlooswyk and her husband also learned some valuable lessons for their next home purchase.

“We realized that hardwood would have been preferable to linoleum,” she said. “In having to share a sink for the first time in our lives, we quickly found that two sinks can save a marriage.”

They also discovered the importance of ample closet space and the value of spending more for quality window coverings.

“Make sure you have a good relationship with your neighbours, as that can make a big difference,” said Vlooswyk. “If you enjoy peace and quiet, don’t buy a house with a landlocked yard and three or four neighbours bordering it.”

Through it all, this prominent golfer and her husband had to take the bad with the good. But when you’re dealing with a life-changing purchase, that’s par for the course.