Thursday, May 3, 2012

On the hunt

We went on our first house-viewing expedition last night and it say the least.

After spending a year drooling over houses but being realistic about our budget and commutes, the Beau and I have a clear idea on what neighbourhoods we're looking at and what our maximum budget it. We've also accepted that housing prices in Toronto are what they are, so I'm not going to be bitching on here about the cost of homes. We've made the choice to live here, fully knowing what it will cost, and that's fine by us. (Though we don't look at real estate outside of Toronto, to keep the envy down.)

House viewed not exactly as shown (unfortunately)

That said, we went out last night and checked out some townhouses in complexes we'd been eying. And what an eye-opener it was. We want three bedrooms and have discovered that our definition of bedroom does not always align with sellers' definitions.

One place we viewed was a 3-bed, 3-storey townhouse, but of the three bedrooms, one was a loft space that we would have to use for a living room (as the living/dining shared space was not big enough for both living and dining) and the second bedroom would end up being an office/den. So that meant we ended up with...a 1-bedroom + den home, which is what we have now. Oh, and it had less kitchen space.

Does it have a living vroom?
We looked at another townhouse, which was a bust, and then a semi-detached home. The semi had a huge amount of potential (i.e. we loved it) on the first floor: separate living and dining, big kitchen, big back deck, lots of light. It felt good...until we went upstairs. First, the staircase seemed to have been narrowed to allow for main-floor remodeling, which meant it was awkward walking up as a person (never mind trying to get furniture upstairs). The upstairs bathroom had a great tub, but it was at the expense of toilet space; I could barely fit on the toilet and a niche had been carved out of the wall to allow the flusher to move.

The Beau and I had talked of getting a new bedroom set when we moved, but the master bedroom in this home would barely hold our bed - if we could even get our king-sized mattress up that narrow staircase. The second bedroom was wee. Lovely, but wee.

We were hoping the finished basement would have potential but the even narrower staircase (which I've dubbed the supermodel staircase) was not a good start. The basement was "finished" in that the cinder block had been painted and it would work, as long as you were 5'4" and under. The Beau is over six feet; needless to say he was cramped. And there was a bulkhead right around the corner from the staircase; if you took that corner too quickly, well, you didn't need that other eye, right?

C'mon Barbie, let's go party
But it was a still a great outing. When you spend as much time looking at MLS listings as we do, everything starts to seem like "the house". It's just as important for us to cross spots off the list as it is to see the ones with real potential. And it's amazing to see what the price differences are and to learn what the market value is. Plus it's fun. I'm sure some people would find it frustrating or discouraging, but we're in no huge rush and we've already decided that we'd rather wait for the right place than rush into the right-now place.

Our perfect home is out there and we know it. And spring is a busy time for listings so who knows what might come up next? We get listings sent to us daily by our realtor (who is amazing) so we're always aware of the latest and greatest/"greatest". And I'm excited to go see what we can see.

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