I fully expect this to be an ongoing series of posts. I mean, I don’t expect to find a house right out of the gate. But I figured I’d chronicle my search for a new home. I mean, why else have I got this blog, eh?
So here’s a quick background: I thoroughly enjoy where I live now. It’s a cozy 3-bedroom minihome that I bought with my ex-wife seven years ago. It’s on a quiet street and it’s really a nice little spot.
But the reality of the situation is that while I own the home, I’m renting the land it’s on…and it’s increasingly becoming a financial strain to stay here. My father is a real estate agent and wants to help me find a duplex in the city…something economical that’s a more realistic fit for me.
Being a real estate agent (from another province, mind you), my dad’s got contacts all over the place. He also knows a lot of things that I don’t know, so I trust his judgment on a great many things…especially when it comes to buying a house.
So this week was my first time seeing a house as a possible buyer (we’ll call it “Noel House”). The price wasn’t too bad, the home looked okay on the outside, and while there was no back yard it was right next to a playground so Ankle Biter would probably enjoy it.
So we were told that one of the current tenants would be home when we went for a tour of the house. My dad, our realtor, and I went to the house on Tuesday afternoon. We walked into the right-hand side of the duplex (it was a side-by-side…not a big fan of up-and-down duplexes) and were greeted by a cute, old couple. They, apparently, have been there for almost 19 years.
Yikes…it would suck to throw them out.
They basically have done nothing with the house since moving in as the original carpet was still down and original paint on the walls and original EVERYTHING. What threw me for a loop, though, was the church paraphernalia all over the place. More specifically, the Jesus paraphernalia. I mean, kneeling Jesus…praying Jesus…dancing Jesus…sleeping Jesus…the only thing missing was Buddy Christ.
They proceeded to tell me that they kept their heat bill down by never (ever) turning the heat up above 15 degrees celcius (59 degrees fahrenheit), they rarely shower (TRUE!!) and when they do they literally just get wet and get out, and whenever they need hot water they take cold water and boil it.
It was just a really weird experience, to say the least. Very friendly people, but they frightened me.
There was no expectations of seeing the left-hand side of the house, but we decided to knock on the door anyway. Sure enough, the tenant was home and welcomed us in with open arms (and a slobbering dog, as well).
Immediately there was a stench of smoke. As an ex-smoker, it was extremely off-putting. Thankfully, it wasn’t so strong that it’d never be able to be cleaned out. The place looked normal (i.e. no praying hands anywhere) and appeared to be a lot larger than the other side, even though they’re “mirror images”. They had laid down some laminate flooring and I didn’t see carpeting that was over 30 years old, so that was a positive.
All in all, the house itself was okay. It was a place that I could potentially see as a home for me and my son.
However, the neighborhood is well-known as being a “bad neighborhood”. Violence…shootings…egg throwing…and that, to me, takes a lot away from the house potential. But where it’s a good price and is close to the hospital, a park/playground, and my work…it’s not a total write-off (and in all due fairness, the violence ended a couple of years ago).
So that’s part one of my house shopping experience. We’ve got a couple more homes lined-up to view so we’ll see how things go from here.