As we start our search for a new home (ok, let’s be honest here… we are addicted to MLS and the search is never-ending).
But even as veterans in this “fun hobby” we call of ours, frustrations exist.
First of all lets be clear in stating the Pacific Northwest has the mildest weather in Canada. Up here in the land of igloos, hockey and lumberjacks lies a real gem: Vancouver Island.
Its a place where you can surf, golf and ski all in one weekend, or possible day. (bucket list maybe?!) Some of the Islanders even think it is so tropical they plan palm trees in their yards! (not us, my husband is obsessed with bamboo!)
All this makes for expensive cost of living.
The housing market here can be tricky and a real challenge to find a decent house in a desirable area for a reasonable price. Be prepared to give your arm, leg and unborn child – not to mention every last penny! Ok, maybe thats a slight exaggeration but only just!
The way that we are able to do what we do is by watching the market very closely for properties with excellent opportunity to make a great home. We don’t have a disposable income, so for us, finding that diamond in the rough is how we are able to transform our spaces.
Since having our daughter, we have wanted a hobby farm with close proximity to the city (shouldn’t be hard right? HA!). We love the thought of an idyllic country life (and I, Alison, grew up living just that life!), but being in town and able to walk to all amenities is also a value to us as well. In a perfect world we’d have both city and country life combined, but I know thats like finding a needle in a haystack. Factor in budget and your looking at virtually impossible for us! (though I am a dreamer and will never say never!)
Our wish list for this search and new home is:
-flat, sun drenched USEABLE land.
-a property (acre or two?) for veggies, fruit trees, chickens and a pony. What?! Every little girl needs a pony, didn’t you know???
-a home with nice flow (we really don’t want to have to start taking down walls to reconfigure a lay-out)
-rec/family space separate from the living room.
-large kitchen space (or the possibility for it)
-suite potential (income or visitors)
-close proximity to town (be great to walk to restaurants or pubs… I feel a bit like an idiot saying I want to live farm life in the city but hey! one can dream can’t I?)
-Chris wants a workshop/man cave.
We have yet to find anything that really fits the bill. We have been viewing a mish mash of houses and looking a fixers and acreages alike. Problem is the lay-outs don’t work, they are overpriced, or too far out of town. Finding that special place seems near impossible. And it very well may be! Our approach has been that we will not narrow down to a specific part of town or type of home and instead will keep on the look out for anything that appeals to us. We figure when we know, we will know. But ideally, we would love a little hobby farm but also know this may not be realistic for us and we could wind up with the opposite!
One thing that I don’t particularly like about the search this time is that at this point deals are not to be had. Because our market has softened but many refuse to admit it there is a lot of overpriced homes on the market. This means that when a quality listing comes up you need to act fast and be prepared to go in aggressive.
So far nothing has caught our eyes that has really truly wowed us. Thats not to say we didn’t offer on a house already because we actually did.! We offered on a property with a large yard and lots of square footage. The problems was it was farther then we wanted to go and every square inch needed to be touched (at this point I was still fixated on having a BIG home. I really wanted the walk in closet and ensuite and wasn’t sure I was prepared to give up all our square footage!). Add to the fact it was overpriced. We submitted what we believed to be a fair offer but no agreement could be made so both parties walked. The house has the potential to be glorious but I think for us we would have bitten off more then we could chew. In retrospect, I am so glad it didn’t work out. It was a good house, but not the one for us. We will keep our eye on it and see what happens in the coming months. If they can bring the price to where it is agreeable for us then it might be a contender.
Either way, I am feeling excited about this particular house search. This will be the 6th house for us in our 7 years together and we really do want something that we can sink our teeth into and put some roots down. This time around we are ready to create a home for US. In the past, we have simply created homes for the next person. Our way of thinking has been more along the lines of: polish it up, show it off, and proudly present it to a new homeowner who loves what we have done. There is pride associated with our homes but no emotional attachment.
This time I want to make a home for us and that may be why this search seems like the most important one of all. I feel like we will find something special and we have agreed to go with our heart and gut this time instead of our brains and numbers. Just having this approach should make for an interesting search!
Welcome along for what is sure to be an interesting ride!