Friday, April 30, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes

We weren't sure what to expect when we started out yesterday but by the end of the day we had bought a house!

We met up with our agent at his office and set up our plan for the morning. He already had several appointments set up for us and then arranged a couple more while we were there. We really can't believe the speed of this market and how we can have an appointment made only to find out that it has been conditionally sold. There was one house that only started accepting visits yesterday. We were in there just after 9:00 am. We really loved it. It was a great place, an end unit townhouse that had been well maintained. Really the only things we didn't like about it were the carpet and a weird built-in bar they added to the dining room.

We left that house and went to some others. Some we liked and some we didn't. In one house we saw a gold wedding ring that looked like it had been thrown onto the floor of the downstairs family room. It just seemed so odd to have that ring lying there. It made us wonder if there was a relationship break up that was leading to the sale of the house. Bad vibes! There were other things we didn't like about the house too.

The next one we really liked was a vacant townhouse but it wasn't an end unit. We liked everything about this one too. It was big and bright and seemed perfect for us. Our agent noticed some weird spray paint on the basement ceiling and that made him suspicious. Everything had been sprayed. We were really interested in this house but we needed to find out what that was about. We took a bit of a break in the afternoon and our agent was going to set up second appointments at the two places we liked and he was going to try to find out what was up with the spray paint.

It didn't take long for him to find out that the house had previously had what seemed to be a fairly serious mold problem. There was a HUGE window in the back of the house (one of my favourite features of the house) that apparently had a leak of some sort. We don't know how it happened but the mold eventually spread through the whole house. We were provided with a lab report detailing the work that was done and the new clean tests that had been done on the house. There were a few things that still made us uncomfortable though. First of all is the stigma of a house that had previously had mold. When we ever want to sell the house it could prove to be a problem. Secondly, all that work had only been done in February. Could we really be sure the mold was gone permanently? Thirdly, the window that had started the problem was still there. There was still obviously water damage around the framing and that made us really uncomfortable. The window would be really expensive to replace and it was just too much for us to take a risk on. As much as we loved the house itself, we decided to walk away from that one. Too many risks.

So that brought us back to the first house we saw yesterday morning. We did the second look there and still liked what we saw. It has a nice layout, a good yard and good-sized rooms. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet and an ensuite bathroom. That's pretty exciting. It's a beautifully bright room too. One of the bedrooms is already painted purple and we know a little girl who will love to move right in there. We will need to replace all the carpeting before we move in but that shouldn't be too huge a job.

So we made the offer at 9:00 last night, 12 hours after seeing it the first time. We knew we had to act quickly because it wouldn't last long. We spent an hour going back and forth about the price and the closing date. We ended up getting close to the closing date we wanted (May 26th, we wanted May 20th, they wanted June 14th) and we're OK with the price. So now we need to wait for the home inspection which is set for Monday morning. This morning has been spent on the phone with lawyer's offices, mortgage people and all that sort of fun stuff. We're on our way to Darcy's new school shortly to get her registered. It's all going to happen very quickly from here!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

House Hunting Day One

Well here we are in Ottawa for our house hunting trip. We had a pretty easy travel day yesterday with some nasty turbulence around Toronto as our only problem. We arrived at the hotel shortly after 3:00 and spoke to the real estate agent at 3:30 and he was on his way over shortly after that. There was no time to be wasted.

We saw three homes yesterday. At this point we're not sure if any of them will be real contenders or not. One has definitely been ruled out. We like the layout of the house itself but it has been a rental property and is in pretty rough shape. There's just too much work to be done. Another one also has a lot of work to be done but it may be something we'd consider. The third is move-in ready but the rooms are a bit small.

I've lost track of how many we're going to see today. Lots. So we may be able to rule out the ones from yesterday, or we may see that that's where we're headed. Who knows. All I know for sure right now is that there's a Starbucks right across the road and our day starts there.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hop on the Bus Gus

No updates for months and now I'm posting on two consecutive days?!?!? What is going on?

For months Darcy has been asking us to take a ride on the city bus. She rides the school bus daily and has ridden the city bus in Montreal but not in Windsor. For some reason she really wanted to take a ride on the city bus.

Yesterday I took the kids to the mall before Nick got home from Toronto. There's a bus terminal in area where usually park and she started in about the bus ride again. Then Wesley started too. He wanted to get on the bus right then. I knew Nick had a stack of bus tickets at home that he won't be using before we move so we came up with the plan of taking a bus ride together today.

So we had two very excited kids this morning, anxious for their first ride on the bus. We waited in the rain and finally the bus came (5 minutes late, just as you would expect from Windsor transit). I wish you could have seen the look of pure joy on Wesley's face as he sat on the bus. He was positively gleeful. Darcy wanted to stand and was busy looking at all the people and all the sights we were passing. She even made friends with the lady sitting beside her.

We did a bit of shopping at the mall and then boarded the bus for the ride home. There had been an accident with the bus before ours so at one point we had to stop to let the passengers from the damaged bus get on our bus too. I had told Darcy on the way home that she would be able to ring the bell to tell the driver when we needed to stop so of course she kept asking me every 10 seconds if it was time to ring the bell yet. Finally she got to ring the bell and our bus ride came to and end.

Who would have thought that something as simple as a bus ride would make them so excited? Wesley kept yelling, "Bye Bus!" as we walked back up our street. He was thrilled. Darcy is thrilled at the prospect of riding the bus more frequently when we get to Ottawa. What funny kids. For our part it was a cheap way of keeping them entertained on a rainy Saturday morning!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Long Overdue Update

It has been far too long since I've posted an update here but it has been a crazy few months for us. Wesley is super active right now and if I'm not right beside him all the time then he is sure to do some serious damage to himself, Darcy or the house. So, sitting down to write a blog post isn't a luxury I have very often. He's sleeping right now so I'm going to try to get one done.

Our house is finally sold. I say "finally" but by Windsor's standards, being on the market for 2 1/2 months isn't all that bad. We were still panicking wondering what to do, because Nick was supposed to start his new job on April 14th but it has all worked out now. His new office was really understanding and gave us an extension until the end of June, instead of requiring him to come without the rest of the family. We were very thankful for that.

It's pretty interesting how it all turned out. If we had sold the house as scheduled, the day we probably would have moved would have been April 10th. Unfortunately, that ended up being the day of Nick's Grandpa's funeral. It would have been very difficult for us to manage the move and the funeral at the same time. However, we got an email on the morning of the funeral saying that someone was seriously considering making an offer on the house. They made the offer on the 12th. You've heard it said that the Lord works in mysterious ways. No kidding. We really experienced that here.

So we had gotten ourselves used to the idea that we would be in Windsor until the end of June. When the offer came, though, the buyers asked for a closing date of May 14th. A little over a month. We wanted to do as little as possible to rock the boat so we accepted that closing date even though it put us in a real time crunch.

We should have left right away for a house hunting trip but Nick was already scheduled to be in Toronto this week for training for the new job. So now the move is 3 weeks away and we still don't have a house to go to. Nick will return from Toronto this evening and then he and I leave for Ottawa on Wednesday to try to get us somewhere to live. Many thanks to my parents who are coming here to watch the kids so we don't have to disrupt their schedules too much and so we can really focus our attention on the house hunt. The market in Ottawa is completely different from the market in Windsor so we know we will have to act fast and offer wisely when we find a house we like. We still might end up in a hotel for a couple of weeks if we can't get an immediate closing date but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

So there you are. If there are still any of you checking this, that's our current update. Hopefully I'll be able to post soon saying that we've got somewhere new to live!