Open Houses – Week number 5

With a bit of an afternoon free, James and I decided to check out some more open houses today. I was sporting a bit of a headache from some wine I drank last night, so I wasn’t too into anything too strenuous today. When we set off it had just started snowing like crazy and it made for a bit of a messy drive. Oh well – we were troopers and by the time we left the first house, the sun was shining and the world was moving smoothly yet again.

As we had some empties to return to the beer store, we stopped there first and were heading down Dundas to other parts of town. My good eyes found a sign by an agent that I knew had a very interesting property in the tiny area of Galt we’d consider. We ended up having to completely back track to get there but it was so worth it.

The area is a very established one – with big old houses, mature trees and a very good mojo. My mother grew up in this area, and my grandmother lived there with my aunt and uncle until about 14 years go. I love the area, know that houses don’t come up very often, especially not in our price range. I know that there are currently two houses, with one having just dropped massively in price since the owners found another property. Both houses look almost identical – red brick, two story, good sized property on the same side of two different streets that run parallel to each other.

Unfortunately, only one was having an open house. Walking up and inside it felt like it was a really nice house and we weren’t disappointed. The decorating was exactly how we would do it. The colours were fantastic and it had a nice island in the kitchen. It was a really nice house with a really nice yard and even a heated workshop out the back with electrical and everything. It had two good sized bedrooms with closets and a smaller room that was set up as a nursery. Unlike most older homes, this house had closets. The bathroom was fantastic with lots of space, and yes, a clawfoot tub. My favourite room was a sitting room out the back that had windows – lots of them that gave you a few of a small deck and the back yard.

The house wasn’t perfect and there are some things that would really need to be looked at and considered if we were really going to look seriously at it. The first and most major knock against it is the house was heated by radiant heating. James is really against radiant heating. He wants to be able to put a/c into a house. Although, older houses don’t usually get nearly as hot as newer houses do. The walls are thicker and this house would be no exception I’m sure.

Another knock was the floor. Only part of the main living area, the part they used as a dining area, is original hardwood. Otherwise, there are three different colours of hardwood laid down. They don’t melt that well together but it does allow you to have the clearly defined spaces. Also – I really love the darkest of the woods that is in the back sitting area. It’s connected to the kitchen that has really funky black and white tile – so this one I don’t consider a problem. In fact, the different floor doesn’t matter that much to me, but James noticed.

All I kept thinking as we walked from room to room on the top two levels was that I really liked this house. It was decorated exactly as I would want it to be and I could just move in and our furniture would fit very well. The basement however disappointed me. The ceiling was slightly higher than the one we saw and really liked a few weeks before. But there were pipes that hung below that and James would need to duck. There was a small room – meaning big enough for a chair and a tv – so that would work for solitary time alone. But the floor was hardwood (again another colour than the one upstairs.) It was a nice colour and felt cozy. The laundry room down there wasn’t the best but there was storage that could be used and that would be a nice touch.

After spending a bit more time talking to the agent I realized what it was that hadn’t completely grabbed me about the house. It didn’t feel like our house. There was something that happened when we walked into the house a few weeks ago – it felt like home. It felt like we could live there and I saw us there at holidays and for parties. I saw dinner on the back deck. However walking into this open house in a house that would be perfect for us, I just didn’t get the same feeling. I felt like we were visiting someone elses house and admiring for what it was – there house. I wasn’t able to dream us living there.

So we left and headed to the next house. This I knew would have a bit of a wow factor. It’s over our budget, but realistically, there weren’t that many houses on open house today. Also, after talking to many agents over the past several months, we know that the market has turned, agents don’t know where to price houses, and it’s a buyers market. The market is saturated with houses, and not that many buyers. So off we went.

Walking up to the house you definitely have some great curb appeal. There is a gorgeous stone walkway, awesome garage with full loft. There is a great porch and it has a wow factor. The house is on a corner lot, and the yard is L-shaped but fenced in. The front entry way was a big WOW. 12 foot ceilings all on the first floor, at least 10 foot ceilings on the second. Wrap around stair case. It was a really cool house. Huge – over 1700 square feet! But oddly laid out. The kitchen was huge and had an eat in area. But very country looking. Upstairs used to be three bedrooms – but the only bathroom was on the main floor. Smartly, the current home owners had opted to put in a bathroom in one of the bedrooms.

The house had a strong old world charm, but the layout meant work to get it to a workable house. We could see the potential, but don’t think we are in the right point in our lives to do it.

Due to my head hurting, we opted to finish our day at the two houses. No winners today, but we’ll keep looking and find the right one. Now that I have a full time permanent job (unless I screw it up) we can look more seriously. I’m hopeful we’ll find something awesome for our early spring move in date.

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