Monday, 30 May 2016

Incredulity instead of heartbreak

House hunting has proven to be a very tiresome business. Particularly since the Hespeler market is currently cheering vigorously for the Seller's side. I check every few hours to see if something new in our price range shows up but it has been pretty slim pickings thus far.

To make matters worse, nearly every house in our price range is selling within a few days (sometimes hours) and since there's usually a bidding war occurring, they sell for asking price or well above.

When something catches our eye, I usually email our real estate agent and we set up a time to go see it and Jake and I so far have left feeling disappointed and uninterested.

Until we found the house.

Picturesque front view of house.

It was PERFECT! Built in the late 1800s, it was completely adorable from the outside, within walking distance to downtown, had all the rooms we needed and a few that we merely wanted. It had a huge yard that backed right onto the river, AND IT HAD A CLAWFOOT TUB!!!!!

View to the river.  

Imagine taking a bath here, and looking out the window to the river.

Sure, the windows were old and the driveway a bit narrow, but those were things that we could look past and save up to fix. This house had more than we currently needed and both Jake and I could see our lives in this home for years and years. It was amazing that this beauty was in our price range at all.

But then we (I say "we" very loosely... it was Jake who noticed) saw the reason why.

Dining room wall next to the door that leads to the basement.
Look at how angled the baseboard is.

It turns out that the wall had pulled away and bubbled just above the foundation line.

View from the other side of that door.

See how badly angled it is after that line?

Honestly it was a good thing Jake was there (and more sensible than myself) because while I saw the issue, I was far too busy imagining all the dinner parties I could host and all of the baths I could take if this house became ours. But Jake was not to be detterred and instead we all went outside to take a look at the issue from there.

It wasn't very encouraging.

Can you see the way the wall bubbles at the bottom?

Look at the angle of the window.

The cement siding was falling off badly.

Now, we also knew that this was an old house so this could have happened years ago and the structure still be fine. BUT we are also not blind and noticed that the crack in the dining room showed a lot of white. This meant that the room had been painted BEFORE the incident occurred.

See the white?

"Okay, so what?!" I hear you say. "Maybe the owners have lived there for years and haven't painted it in a really long time!"

That is where it pays to have a husband who works in the paint industry and who also has moments of sheer brilliancy (that's what it seemed to me at the time). Without missing a beat, Jake went downstairs and came back up with a paint can. After checking to make sure that the dab of paint on top matched the walls, he read the label and discovered that the paint was mixed in 2014.

This bit of Sherlock-esque detective work let us deduce that they painted the room in 2014, therefore the shift in the stone occurred sometime after that.

It was very disheartening.

That's looking the other direction on that same wall. Notice how the baseboard split?

We loved so much about this house though and were determined to explore every avenue before giving up on it. We got in contact with someone from our church who builds houses (in fact, their company is currently building my parents' place) and who we knew from a program we went through last year. He agreed to come out and give us his opinion on just what kind of a problem we might be facing.

That was also very disheartening.

We learned that it was a bad situation that was likely to only get worse. And since it was an old house, fixing it would not be easy or cheap if you wanted to do it right. $30,000 was the price tag he gave us, including in it the assumption for some worst-case scenarios.

We thought long and hard and decided that the only way we could afford to buy this place was if we could get it decently below asking. We had to wait a few days before placing an offer (it's a tactic used in the real estate industry to incite a bidding war) so we had plenty of time to think about what we wanted to do.

Finally the day came and we were informed that there were already 4 registered offers.

We met with our agent again and ultimately decided that it wasn't going to be worth presenting an offer. We couldn't possibly go in without financing as a condition and with that many offers in place we'd have to have the bonus of no conditions to go with our low offer price.

I felt a lot less sad than I thought I would.

I knew that it would haunt me forever if Jake and I didn't even try to buy this house. However, even though we didn't actually place an offer on it, I felt like we tried our best. We thought about every possibility to make it happen, the "what if's" were just too high for us.

In hindsight I am very glad we didn't bother with an offer because it would have been embarrassing... The property ended up selling for $50,000 ABOVE asking price with no conditions.

I couldn't believe that. But then again, the world is full of people far wealthier than I, much to my disappointment.

All in all, I learned that having Jake around to point out the things I don't want to see is probably a good thing.

And that having a clawfoot tub is still the pinnacle of luxurious relaxation and I want one badly. 

I will now leave you with some more amazing pictures of the house that almost was... *sigh*


Front entrance! aofhodfhsodjgoihdg!

Skylights above the bed in the master!!

Amazing kitchen.

One day...

Have you ever found real estate heaven? Tell me about it, even if you couldn't make it yours!


  1. Wow! I would have loved it too! How wonderful that Jake sees and knows these things. That is what one of things that makes marriage so great.

    1. I would have completely flown right past it and passed it off as a minor problem I could deal with later. Although it was pretty funny, as time went by we seemed to be switching positions. He started out afraid, when I only thought of possibility. And then I moved toward afraid and he started thinking of the possibilities. After we decided not to go forward with it we realized how much our own opinions had shifted and it certainly made for a good laugh.