Hi everyone! We were in a house funk over here for the last week, between our disappointing home inspection result for Beech Ave and then a long weekend where no one was listing their house. There was an almost-email sent to Dawn (by me) asking to view a few houses that were on the borderline of being interesting (to me), but I got bullied into not doing that. I’m all for looking at things in person, because the pictures really don’t do a good job of showing you the space, and in some cases, they choose not to take pictures of important spaces that will make the difference to whether you’re interested or not.
There were two houses in Preston that fell in this weird grey area – one on Moore Street, and one on Dolph Street. The Moore house looked cutey cute cute on the outside, and there were no interior pictures for a few days on the listing. They had an open house last Saturday, when I was working, so Dan waddled over there to take a look. It was cute, it has lots of character since it’s an older home, but it was kind of weird. The kitchen was small, and there were only 2 bedrooms. What was the master bedroom used to be two small rooms, and it still had two doors to get into it. Weird. It was also asking a full $249,900, making it a teensy bit out of our price range if it had any of the usual older home fix-up problems (which I am fairly certain all older homes have).
The other house on Dolph is in a semi-crummy neighbourhood. We’ve walked by this house a number of times on our extended dog walks, and I think it falls under the same umbrella as our current place, on the wrong side of the tracks. BUT, it had some very nice looking spaces inside – a sun room, a spiral staircase going up to the top level, boat loads of older home character, etc. And it was $209,000. Dan thought that price was a typo, but the priced stayed that way for days. I think the price must have been a reflection of the overall condition of the house (not my favourite thing to want to move in to) and perhaps the crummy neighbourhood factor.
I even started writing an email to Dawn, and Dan got pouty faced and told me it would be a waste of our time. He’s mostly right, and wasting a few hours of our time to view houses we’re only sort of interested in seems silly, but we were getting antsy. I was getting antsy. It was coming up on a solid week since the last time we saw anything worth going to look at. In the end, I deleted the email and pouted for a while.
Friday morning arrives, and I have the day off as part of my weirdo every-other-weekend-is-a-long-weekend schedule. Dan went to work, I slept in, and it was a glorious morning. My mother sent me a text message about a house that she saw in the Remax weekly paper. Kribs Street in Hespeler (Cambridge), $247,900, open house on Sunday. Well hot damn! I’m off this weekend, and I could go for an open house. Who doesn’t love a good poke around someone else’s house? The listing was pretty basic, it said the house has been updated from top to bottom, but it didn’t say much else. As you may recall, one of our big sticking points is a separate formal dining room, and not all houses have them. I tried looking for the house on MLS, but it wasn’t there yet, and we hadn’t even received it through our automatic listings (which usually come a day or so before the public MLS listing goes up). So, no interior pictures, but a positive sound blurb in the paper, and a dark, grainy newspaper picture of the front of the house. Hmm. I google street viewed it, and the neighbourhood was nice nice nice. Across the street from a park (aka no across the street neighbours), it’s a side street of a side street, near down town Hespeler stuff, and totally within walking distance to lots of things. I ran the walkability score of the location (walkscore.com, try it!) and it scored an impressive 77 out of 100. Neat!
Hespeler homes have been a cruel mistress to us, readers. We’ve fallen in love and had our hearts broken (let’s all shed a tear for Beech Ave *sniffle*), we’ve been disappointed by what we’ve seen, and we’re consistently annoyed that Hespeler thinks it’s all that and a bag of chips. We get that it’s a commuter town. Everyone who lives in Hespeler drives to Missassauga every day, so they can afford the jacked up prices and obscene property taxes. But I love Hespeler, and I wanted it to be a good fit for us. Come on Hespeler! Give us something!
I decided to email Dawn and have her look into it. Why wasn’t it listed yet? Were they playing that dick move of refusing any showings and offers until after the weekend to incite a bidding war? I don’t like that game. Dawn also couldn’t find it listed officially anywhere, so she called the selling agent. Apparently the home was being listed that afternoon, and we could get in to see it that night at 6pm. Woo! Or perhaps not so woo. Don’t forget, I still haven’t seen ANY interior pictures. It could be a pile of garbage inside.
The listing popped up to our automatic listings later in the day, and my heart gave a little sigh of relief. It wasn’t ugly inside, or super dated, and it showed a dining room table. Huzzah! Here is our first impression of the house, as seen from street view and the listing in the paper:
This picture is just as pixel-y in the listing, so don’t think I did a poor job of resizing it or anything. Great big kitchen! It shows an eat-in space, but as long as there’s a spot for a real dining room….
We arrived to the house for 6pm, and while we waited for Dawn, we watched another woman and her agent go into the house. Shoot. We thought we were the first ones to the gate on this one, but apparently not. They were inside for about 5-10 minutes before us. Dawn arrived and we checked out the exterior of the house, then went inside.
The kitchen is very big, since it has a space for an eat-in, and the space for the front room is just right for a living room for us. Bedrooms are bedrooms, and they both clearly fit a bed in them, so no worries there. The only bathroom in the house is a standard size, and has cupboard space. The bedroom that isn’t shown in the picture is a smaller room right behind this wall:
This one is screaming “reno”. Buh-bye wall, we want a formal dining room in that 3rd bedroom, and we’ll tear down a wall to get it. The room can quite nicely fit a dining table and chairs, and it has a closet, which would be good to keep for future resale so it can still be used as an office. We also thought about putting in French doors, like what they had in Beech Ave, so it would be even easier to make it a bedroom down the line. There is an existing door off of the hallway to get into it, so not sure what could be done with that. Leave it? Remove the door? Drywall it closed?
The pictures also don’t show any of the basement, and in a bungalow, that makes a big difference. This house is listed as 912 square feet, but you double that when it’s a bungalow. Wa-bam! The downstairs space is what sold Dan on the house. There’s a very large finished rec room area that would be ideal for casual TV watching (with a great big sectional couch) as well as a crafting area and library. AND, there’s still a separate laundry and storage area, a potential workout room, and a mechanical room with space for a workshop.
To illustrate it to you, I created the layouts of the basement and main floor (floorplanner.com, try it! you’ll lose a few hours of your life):
Not perfectly to scale, of course. I used the dimensions given in the listing, and all of the in-between spaces weren’t listed (hallways, closets, bathroom, etc), so I had to guess. But there you have it – basement layout, and main floor layout. I’ve already taken out the offensive wall that leads into what will be the dining room.
So we saw the house, we liked the house, but Dan was having some trouble with the price. The last place we put an offer on was listed at $237,900, and we offered $235,000 and were accepted. Based on the items our home inspector, Drago, was listing off, the general repairs and fix-ups around the house would have likely come to about $10,000 (that’s before the great sadness of the foundation wall discovery, which would have added another $10,000 to that easily). In my mind, that makes these two houses on an equal level. By paying a little more up front, you get a house that is 70 years younger than the Beech house, and it’s had all of the major things done already (more on that shortly). We chatted outside for a few minutes, and then told Dawn we wanted to proceed with an offer.
When Dawn called the selling agent to start the ball rolling, we found out there would be another offer coming in. We’ve played the multiple offer game before, so we were hoping the other person would back off, but with only one other offer coming in, we had a 50/50 shot. We prepared two offer scenarios – $249,000 for a multiple offer situation, and $245,00 if the other person backed out. Just like with the Madison home, we were not going above $250,00, because there will always be other houses, and we don’t want to over extend ourselves and be house-poor.
The offers were being presented at 9pm that night, which was only an hour and a half away by the time we finished viewing the house. That’s a good sign, readers, so there’s no chance that other people will get in to see the house. We went home, made dinner, and walked an Oscar. The selling agent told Dawn to bring her clients to the offer presentation, which we thought was weird. We stayed home, and told Dawn to call us if she needed us there, since the seller’s office was only 10 minutes away. She presented our offer at 8:45, then we waited while the sellers considered their options.
At 9:30, we were getting anxious, and I received this message from Dawn:
“So the other agent has presented their offer. I know they are very close and so I have had to use the $1000 wildcard (from me) but I am waiting to hear what they are going to do. Are you able to come in a few minutes? It may help.”
Ok, not bad news. We gathered our things and we were almost out the door when I got a second message:
“We got it!!! Can you bring a cheque with you?!”
Huh. We didn’t do a thing, and they chose our offer! Hooray! When we got to the office, Dawn explained what happened. The offers were close, so she upped our offer by $1000, which we would have done, but Dawn was insistent on helping us out with that. She was waiting for them to decide when they came out and told her they were accepting our offer anyway, and didn’t need the extra $1000. The difference was in the closing date. The sellers had to unexpectedly move because the husband is being transferred for work. They don’t want to move, they like their house, but it’s not an option to stay. Because they’re already in the process of moving to a new location, they wanted a quick closing, so we proposed June 28 (roughly 30 days). This is what made the deal for us. We’re very flexible when it comes to moving date since we need to give our landlord 60 days notice, and we’ve already paid for our last month of rent. Yippee!
We ended up meeting the sellers and having a good chat while we signed all the paperwork. They love their house. They’re proud of their house. He listed off tons of different updates and things that have been done to the home. We liked them, and we feel even better about our choice after talking to them.
That was almost two days ago, and now we’re playing the waiting game again. Paperwork has been sent to our broker to confirm financing again (although we’re not concerned about being approved since we already did this step two weeks ago), and we booked a home inspection for Wednesday morning. Keep your fingers crossed for us, we want this one to work out!