Finding My Home

As you may know I am a first time home buyer right in the thick of it, busy spring buying/selling season and competition unlike any other I’ve ever experienced. To date I have looked at 6 houses which in the grand scheme of things is not a lot, some people look at 100, others 20… I knew the distance radius I wanted to be in based on my 12 hour work days and social life I wanted to stay close to Kingston’s boundaries without actually being right in town.

I had no idea that buying a home was going to be such a competition, but now that I think about it, I probably should have. Anyone of my age group or younger tends to have a more limited budget, and myself being a single woman I need to have a home that is suitable for one income only. The price point is what makes it competitive, basically $250k and under as there is so many needing an affordable home and so few options.

The first home I looked at on was the one I am buying. Curious isn’t it? I actually ruled it out early on because of the price point, but after months of looking at my ideal price point ($175-$200k would put me in the same payment category as my rental property) I realized what I could get for that price was a phenomenal amount of renovation and in the end, a much higher price tag. I love old character homes, unfortunately a girl of my income and ability, cannot manage to flip a house like that as much as I would dream to. If I could save all the abandoned homes I would.

I looked a few homes and tried to imagine how I could “save” them, resell them and make them wonderful again… but that was just a dream. I looked a beautiful old home with an unbelievable waterfront view that was left in ruin. I cried when I returned to my car, not because it was another failed look – but because I couldn’t fathom how someone could leave such a beautiful home in such disrepair. Nothing about the property could be salvaged. You can imagine the home it once was, but now you just see the rotten wood structure and broken windows. Tragic.

When we pulled up in the driveway of the house that will soon be my home, I felt a wave of excitement. Much like I did at a home in Amherstview (that I lost in an unpleasant bid battle for my first experience putting in an offer – was quite devastating.) I knew there would be another home, one that I would be able to inspect and ensure was the right option for me. The property alone had me captivated. To the left a creek that carried itself out past farm fields farther than I could see. Across the road, my living room view, a forest with the creek flowing through the rocks and the old mill up on the hill in behind. At that moment I could not understand why you would sell a home in such a location.

Convinced there must be a reason that no other offers were placed on this home in the several months it had been on the market, we went in for a tour, provided by the four in-house cats. As cute as they were, my nose was not impressed for the rest of the day. The paint colours were neutral warm tones with white trim, much like my current rental. The floors were a few different types of wood click flooring, some linoleum and in the basement a tight beige carpet. The kitchen was small with basic handmade cupboards that appear to have been sanded in preparation for painting. The dining room adjacent was quite boxed in with a nice big window and yet limited light due to it being at the back of the house. My first thought was to knock the extra walls down and make it open concept so it could breathe.

The living room was substantial, with a gorgeous view of the creek overlooking the front patio and a rich caramel colour on the walls. Down a small hallway to the end is a small bathroom with white fixtures and a shower/tub combination. To the left a very bright small bedroom with a beautiful view, bubbling wallpaper and a child-finger-painted closet to explore. To the right a larger bedroom or office with a view of the back farm lands.

In the basement you walk right into the laundry room, followed by a unique open foyer. To the left a large downstairs bedroom connected to the second bathroom which appeared almost larger than the one upstairs but without the shower and bath tub. To the right of the bathroom a second large living room or rec room with a black and white damask wallpaper feature wall. I am not sure if I like it or not. For me such a contrast forces me to decorate in a specific way, and none of my furniture is black… A softer pattern in a lighter colour might just open the room up completely. With no windows in this space, you need all the bright you can get.

A door next to the patterned wall leads to a cement room underneath the upstairs patio. Likely always a damp room due to the nature of it but might be useable for storage. The patio is a new addition onto the house. Based on Google Streetview, we can see there was recently a red painted wood deck that wrapped around the front and was likely in need of repair. According to the House Inspector, Steve Burke, there was no sign of flashing or a way to send any heavy rain water away from the house so that will need to be addressed.

Surprisingly only a few things were noted as “must be fixed” on the inspection which includes a UV System to treat the water (which had a very bad rating at Public Health), a proper cover required for their septic pump area to prevent fumes from entering the house, electrical in the upstairs bathroom needs to be corrected, insulation is at only 3 inches in the roof with no ventilation (increasing this will greatly lower heating costs), the dryer is not venting outside but into the basement and finally, shifting the direction of rain fall away from the house by increasing the slope in the surrounding grass.

With some minor adjustments that will need to be made and possibly opening up that dining room wall to be open concept, the home is move in ready. Now starts the big two step move from my Kingston apartment to my parents north of Yarker and then into my new home in June.


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