Open Houses – week number 2

So our second jaunt of open houses has just finished and again, I amazed by the things I learn about my husband through such trips.

We started out looking at a small house in Preston, a section of Cambridge that is pretty much located between highway 24 and highway 8. Therefore – close to everything and on the right end of town for our needs. The house we saw was decorated nicely, but we noticed that all the bedrooms were pretty much of the same size and were decorated to a childs taste. There were bunk beds in two of the rooms, and I can only imagine that these parents were getting out because they had outgrown their adorable house. We found the parents bedroom as part of the recroom downstairs and it was hidden away by a curtain from the rest of the room. I know that we all do what we have to, but this seemed to just point out all the flaws of living there. We walked out after a quick chat with the real estate agent about the weather and September weddings and were off to the next house.

The next place was not too far away – but as soon as James saw it he veto’d it. We didn’t even go in! He just said “Ew” and pulled a u-turn and drove away. It appears that he is not a fan of four different coloured bricks and houses that look like they were owned by your grandparents. Looking back at the pictures and information on www.realtor.ca I can understand why. It is a small two bedroom with less than 1000 square feet. Yes we are only two people, but we hope to have kids within the next five years and we would soon run out of room.

The next street over was another open house. This was in another small bungalow but had some good curb appeal. Directly across from a city park on a fairly private street, it seemed like the ideal location. And as the real estate agent mentioned in the first open house of the day – one of the best schools in town was nearby.

This open house was put on by Prudential, and they were doing a very good job as it was a VERY busy open house. The floors really were nice and you could tell they spent money to make the kitchen and the bathroom look top notch for what they are. We both really liked the main floor, but the bedrooms seemed a little small and we both knew the kitchen’s size would limit our cooking together. The backyard need some tlc and the basement was finished – but seemed odd. We had a hard time as it only seemed to be partially lived in with some rooms being completely bare and other rooms being disshevelled. All in all it wasn’t too bad, but for the price, we really couldn’t see putting in the work that would be needed to make it work for us.

Onto the next house on our journey. Staying in Preston, we wandered over to the next neighbourhood area. Due to where we were we had to take a fairly snaky street to get to the next house. James immediately pointed out a flaw – in that he’d never want to live in the middle of a suburb like that as he’d get all turned around and not sure where he was. I told him to stick it out, because the house was just a half block down from a secondary road but we had to go through the other neighbourhood to get there.

We showed up and there was definitely some curb appeal. It was a sidesplit, and you could tell they had lovingly taken care of the small details such as the front entry way, the doors and everything in between. It was finished from top to bottom with four bedrooms one and a half baths and a really nicely laid out back yard with two tier deck. The yard even boasted a dog run and a pond – making it your own little oasis. I wasn’t so sure about the way the neighbours houses looked in on the yard, but all in all it wasn’t too bad.

By the time we made it to the basement James was insisting we find out the price. He was pretty sure it was out of our price range, and I knew it was too. If the house was $20,000 less we’d be putting in an offer, but we knew there is no way we could talk them down to where we’d need to be. The open house was really busy too – so we knew that it would sell quickly and probably near the asking price. Only major complaint was the kitchen – which continues to be the breaking point for us. It was the same exact layout as three other houses we’d seen – was small, led to a deadend and only had space for one to work. You couldn’t even cook and do dishes at the same time. I could overlook it but my husband who loves to cook would go nuts. That coupled with the price, led us out of there and onto the final house of the day.

We hopped on the secondary road and made our way up to Hwy 24. My hubby saw that we weren’t actually that far out of the loop and it wouldn’t be a problem at all for our out of town friends to find us – or for us to get to work. But we were headed to Hespeler, and in fact, our ideal neighbourhood of Fisher Mills. We really liked Fisher Mills because it is the last neighbourhood before you are out of town on Highway 24 heading to Guelph. It’s not very far from Kitchener or Guelph where we work. We can easily get to shopping or on the 401 or get to work. When we started our search it was the place where we thought we wanted to be. Throughout our search we’ve seen other great neighbourhoods so we are still up in the air on things.

My husband found a street called Fearnwood Street – in which he has continued to call it Fearwood Street. He loves the name and thinks it would be the best place to be for Halloween. Since we started looking not a single house has come up for sale, so I found an open house on the street that ran parallel. This house was an older home and not nearly as big as the last house – at least square footage wise. The main house is a two story with a second section of the house that is one story beside. It had an older charm to it and I really liked certain aspects of the house. It was nicely decorated and the kitchen was a fantastic size. The entire addition on the side of the house was for a kitchen and a main floor laundry. It had a strong homelike feel to it. The walls were very thick, and the house was well insulated. But there were some major drawbacks. The house was boiler heated and every room had a radiator – even just inside the front door. The basement steps were so narrow you needed to walk down sideways to get down. (Well at least me with my wide hips did.) It was a workshop down there – and not much space for anything else. It seemed pretty much inaccessable to us and made the house an out for us. The bedrooms upstairs were quaint but pretty small. But it was made up for by a HUGE backyard, that was pretty much the full length from street to street. I immediately imagined next years Beer Olympics and knew that it would go over quite well. (Yes folks – I am aiming to get a house that will work for next years games!)

As James said, I chat too much with the real estate agents and give too much away. I could see the real estate agents eyes light up when she asked if we liked the house and we said we did. She had told us the requested closing date early on and as we were leaving she asked if we had to sell our house. When I told her that we didn’t – her eyes lit up. I had to burst her bubble and let her know that we are actually not sure if we are ready to move yet and that we were leaning more towards the spring. She said we were smart to get a feel for things now – and then asked the ever important question – do we have a real estate agent. To which we sort of do.

James and I met a real estate agent that we both really liked at model home showing a few months ago. We weren’t completely looking then and she didn’t pressure us at all. Told us she’d love to work with us. After talking to some family we found that some had used her and had nothing but positive things to say. They say she’s great and one of the best in town and I’ve chatted with her husband and her since then. We aren’t seriously looking, but when we are ready they are going to bring us in for a “new home buyers” meeting. They pretty much go over the whole process, what to expect, what to watch for. We haven’t signed anything, but due to her and her husband’s honesty with us, I have no regrets about wanting to deal with them.

So all in all – we did not find “the house” today. We found some good points and some bad points but it was good to see what’s there and what’s available.

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