Drive-by: Part 2

The first house we viewed was a cute 1950s two-story at Fort Amherst, looking across the harbour to the city and Signal Hill. The view was stunning, and the first floor was ready to be transformed into a B&B suite, or an apartment. Its panoramic view was offset by its placement on the hill: any major rain could mean flooding. Also, it’s location across the harbour could be inconvenient for our lifestyle while we’re in the city. So, as much as we loved the thought of watching ships steam past our window, we decided to keep looking.

The view from Fort Amherst

Cue the call that the affordable house with tons of curbside appeal, in our favourite neighbourhood, had been snatched! Just like that! There were now only two houses left to view, and we were more anxious than ever.

Next, we pulled up to a row house attached on one side, and tried to ignore the contrast in vistas from the previous property. Our goal was to buy one of the least attractive houses on a street, and this house was one of the nicer homes on this street, although that isn’t a real compliment. We’re talking mattresses abandoned on porches (yes, multiple), orphaned shopping carts, and some other signs of not-so-maintained properties. After five minutes in this slanty-floored funhouse, I had vertigo and had to get out. It was very dark inside, in addition to having MAJOR leveling issues. Did I mention the price was close to our max?

With deflated spirits we drove to visit the last property, which had just been reduced a further 10K (now 40K less than originally advertised on MLS): we were excited, but didn’t want to raise our hopes too high.

From the street, it was nicer and larger than any of the other homes we viewed. Looking beyond the aluminum siding, we were immediately struck by the original moulding around a recessed front door, which could eventually accommodate a storm door, like some of the neighbouring homes. Coo-ool.

Behind the heavy wood front door we found rooms with 11.5 ft. ceilings (the front room is 13 ft.), with much of the original mouldings in place! The original stairway was so charming, with its stringer details, and unstained wood handrail.

Detail on stair stringer

The flooring was mismatched laminate wood, and there were some other questionable design and construction choices reflecting over a century of ownership, but nothing we couldn’t overcome. So far, it met our criteria!

It was from the second floor patio that we realized what a large lot this was, and it was bounded by a fence! Perfect for our future dog…? The house itself, at ~2,500 sq. ft. was just so much more spacious than our apartment, and we could easily envision a future bachelor pad on the ground floor.

View from all rooms on the third floor

We knew it: this was our house!

The decor was not our preference, and it was important to look beyond paint choices and silk flowers.

Silk flowers and peach candles, by seller.

The asking price was the maximum amount we wanted to pay, but our realtor knew that the sellers were trying to move out of province asap. We knew that with the recent price drops, there would be competition.

After conferring for only two hours, we asked to meet with our agent and draft an offer. Just eight hours, at least one bottle of wine, and a counter-offer later, The Row House was ours!!

Ours!

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