When we last left off, you heard about how we went to see some homes in Cambridge, and then a few homes in Kitchener. We haven’t done another multi-house day since those early weeks of us just getting excited to start the house hunting process. We’ve had two single-house visits, both on the same day the houses were put up on the market. They are both very different experiences, and we’ll start the positive one, the one that still makes me wonder, and in my mind, is the new standard for what we’re looking for.
I was at work, it was a Tuesday, and since I receive all my emails on my phone, I had seen a few emails come from the automatic listing service, but hadn’t look at any of them in great depth. The night before, I was going through the listings that Dan had declined, some of which I never even looked at. One was in Galt, on Myrtle Avenue, near George Street, and Dan had dismissed it on location alone, since there were no pictures up yet. I did some Google mapping and un-declined it because it was exactly 10 minutes to the 401, just going in a different direction (along Blair Road to the 401 access at Conestoga College). The next day when pictures were posted, Dan copied me on an email to Dawn asking if we could set up a viewing for the Myrtle house that day, after I finished work. You should all know that if Dan jumps at a house and really wants to go and see it, there is something there. I use Dan as my litmus test for homes, which can be difficult and frustrating sometimes. If he doesn’t like it, he immediately forms an opinion about something (could be a wet bar in the basement, or ugly furniture, or wood paneling) and is not interested. There’s no way to coax him out of it (at least not one I’ve discovered yet). If Dan was interested in the house, I was curious.
We were able to get an viewing appointment that night, and we arrived at the house before Dawn, so we wandered around the property. It was a bungalow, on a bit of a corner (but not really a corner lot since the neighbour’s property took up all of the awkward true corner space). The back yard was small (I think realtors prefer the term “cute and cozy”), but that’s all we really want considering the size of our current yard. The house had an attached garage (!!) in the back, off of a private laneway. When we went inside, we got excited. While there was no formal front hallway or closet, but there was a small bedroom/office immediately to the left as you walked in that had a closet, so that solved that problem in my mind. The living and dining rooms were open to each other, and the house had a unique layout. The dining room was a generous size (plenty of room for the table for 6 that we just bought last week at IKEA, to go with the 6 dining room chairs I’ve had in my mom’s basement for the last two years), the kitchen was great, the bedrooms were all a nice size, and there was a second living space in the addition on the back of the house. The basement was not completely full-height, but the only things down there were a laundry room, second bathroom, and storage/mechanicals. All the living space you could ever want was on the main level, and it was lovely. We were getting excited eyes at each other, and thinking about what we should do next. We went outside while Dawn called the listing agent to ask a few questions. While we waited for her to reach him, the train went by. And our vision collapsed. The train was LOUD. We were standing outside in the front yard, and I couldn’t hear Dan talking next to me. It screeched and squealed as it went by, and there was no buffer between the tracks and the house. No trees, no other houses, and the tracks were literally across the street from the house.
We sat in my car for a few minutes after Dawn left and really debated about how much we hated the train. I had a meeting to go to right from there, so we didn’t talk again until I got home a few hours later. We had both made up our minds that it wasn’t a good fit for us, but it was sad. The Myrtle house is my current #1 to compare all other houses to.
The second single-house same-day viewing was a big let down. This was about a week after the Myrtle house, and a listing came up for a home in Hespeler that was in our price range. It was in the Silverheights area, which is all residential, and in general, much more than we can afford. I was the one who contacted Dawn to make an appointment, and I think Dan hated me lightly for it. Remember Dan’s aversion to anything that looks dated? He’s a sucker for a well-staged home, and this one rubbed him the wrong way from when he first saw the pictures. I was trying to be optimistic and look beyond the cosmetic, but Dan was a negative Nancy from the moment we walked inside. It was a back-split, built in the 1970s, and it was obvious that they hadn’t changed a thing since they moved in 40 years ago. The layout and size of the house was just fine, but the amount of updating that needed to be done would put it out of our budget. We only stayed in the house for about 10 minutes before decided it wasn’t for us.
That was the last time we went to see a house, and that was almost 3 weeks ago. There was a big lull in the new listings in the week before Easter, and everything new that comes up has been lame or in our least desirable neighbourhoods. It’s been discouraging and kind of sad to think about home buying lately; it barely feels like we’re buying a house at all since there’s been zero action. Sigh. Delayed gratification is the sign of maturity, right?