My own personal doll house

My husband and I are starting to look at the daunting task of buying a house.

Everyone told us to start with getting preapproved. We’ve done that and both feel that it’s a little higher than we both wanted it to be. Apparently this is quite common and we need to really think about what really works for us.

The city we are looking at living in has three towns that amalgamated to bring it all together back in 1973. Galt, which is the biggest of the three was a city already. Preston was a town and Hespeler was a village. As both James and I work in Guelph we are both looking at something that will allow us ease of travel. Also, he has family that lives out of town in the opposite direction, so he wants whereever we live to be fairly easy to find from a major highway. Essentially, he wants to avoid the subdivisions unless, it is something just off the secondary or tertiary roads. I can understand that.

With our price limit that we’ve voluntarially set upon ourselves, we are a little limited. But we’ve come to understand some of our likes and dislikes for what we are looking for.

Here is a brief checklist of what we want:

  • Two or three bedrooms minimum
  • If only two bedrooms, must have a den or a finished basement as we need to have an office
  • Kitchen space is very important – as my hubby loves to cook
  • Outside space for entertaining is important, but does not need to be overly large and does not need to be overly landscaped
  • We do not want a pool or a hottub – even though they’d be fun – the upkeep is just too much
  • We do not want to live on a major road, but wouldn’t be against living just off of it
  • We need to have parking for two if not three cars – as Cambridge does not allow you to park on the street overnight
  • A fenced yard is preferred as we want space for a dog to run
  • Closet space will be neccessary – we’ve lived without closests and it was a nightmare
  • Our house must have a bit of cute factor
  • Although we’d like the convenience of a newer house, we really like the look of older homes
  • We’ve decided not to build new
  • We would prefer to not have a townhouse or a semi – as we’d like to have our own property
  • We want to have mature trees, or some other way that our yard has privacy – we do not want our neighbours staring in on us and we don’t want to stare in on them
  • More than one bathroom would be ideal, but is not a dealbreaker
  • We are not afraid to put in a few changes to make the house our own, but don’t want to have a complete fixer upper either

It’s such a long list, and it will be interesting to see our journey.

This weekend, we went to some open houses. We saw a 30 year old home that needs some updating. It was a sidesplit and very open concept with original hardwood floors. There were lots of bathrooms and a finished basement recroom area. The house was okay, but the kitchen needed a full overhaul and potentially a few walls knocked down. The people were already out and were open to offers. But there was something about the house that I just didn’t like. It was a bit dark and the neighbourhood isn’t my ideal. The price was really high too – being $15,000 over where we wanted to even look. James liked it though, and saw the potential. I just think it’d be too much work needed before it really felt like my home. Does that make sense? The yard had a great big tree, but he front just looked neglected. I know with some love it would look better but the curb appeal just left me wanting more. It was a corner lot, so you saw it from both ways down the street. I was a bit disappointed for the price and the amount of work needed.

We went to another open house and from the street it was amazing. James said “There’s no way we can afford this house.” When I told him the price was $20,000 less than the one we had seen previously he was surprised. It was an older home, and pretty narrow but two stories and red brick, which seems to be my dream lately. It was decorated really nicely and had original hardwood floors that had loving wear and tear but were in good condition. The backyard was amazing and even had a little playground for our future kids. It was landscaped well, and wouldn’t require much work due to stones and mulch. But there were problems too. The bedrooms were SOOOO tiny. The master was only 8×10. The bathroom wasn’t bad – but I liked the clawfoot tub – I’m a sucker for old houses. There were no closets really to speak of. They had finished the basement with a rec room and had two little storage rooms. But it was so cold and musty down there that I don’t think I’d feel comfortable down there. The staircases were very narrow, and it made me wonder how they got the couch down there in the first place. The kitchen was very small and had very little counter space. It was very cosy, and pretty much move in ready – but there was no chance to fix the problems there. Can’t even expand any bedrooms as there just isn’t any space in the house.

All in all, it was a sad day for open houses. But it allowed us to really talk and get a feel for neighbourhoods and the size of rooms. We were able to see what we didn’t want, and that to me is a positive outcome. James has been avoiding, because he wants to move in the spring. I’m glad he’s starting to come around and we can start to learn about each other and what we really want. Hopefully, we can find our find what we want and can really honestly find that sweet little gem that we can call home.

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