Monday, June 29, 2009

In contract!!!

Just heard from the realtor, the sellers signed the offer and she is on her way over to pick up the deposit check!
The conditions (financing, inspection, etc) should be met by the 6th of July and then if all goes well we will close on the 21st of August.

We both *love* the house and are over the moon excited!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Lets distract ourselves from the offer by thinking about the shiney white flooring by Ikea, MARKLAND.

It looks like this

and when installed something like this:

(photo from here).

I'm not a big fan of carpet, even for a basement, but tiles seem so cold. Laminate flooring that looks like wood is kind of eh, but I love the idea of a white glossy floor that isn't trying to look like something it is not. Plus the bright floor would help brighten up a basement. I'm not sure what one would do with the stairs (can you lay this kind of floor there? is it too slippery?).

Offer in

We just signed an offer for the "red door house". Now we sit around waiting and obsessing until we hear back from the realtor (we should hear something tonight but might not get the final word till tomorrow morning.)
I'm afraid to jinx it so I will tell you all about it if it works out...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Getting a little tired

Went back to visit "hot mess house" again today. The neighborhood - AMAZING, the house - found a few more issues that are more than just cosmetic, so sadly we have to cross it off the list. Le sigh.

Good news is that I get to go pick up The Husband from the airport tonight! Woo hoo!!

Then tomorrow we will go out and look at maybe 5 places, a mix of ones I've seen (so he gets an idea of whats out there) and maybe one or two new ones. There have been some price changes so who knows...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pictures don't tell the whole truth

Back from the morning with the realtor. The rundown on the houses:

Diagonal floor house - this actually had an offer in already but we went to check it out. For the price I felt like it was just kind of "meh". It had some serious noise from the road a few blocks away, and other than the cute outside shape, in person it was underwhelming

Pimped out house - Being on the same street as diagonal floor house, it had the same road noise. The first level was dominated by a giant island in the kitchen, leaving not much space for a living area and table. The master bedroom was GIANT, I think the bedroom + closet + bathroom was bigger than our last apartment. And as a result the other two bedrooms were on the lower level of the bi-level. Too pimped out for us.

That 60s house - This one will be renamed "hot mess house". It is being lived in by university students (apparently one of them partially owns it with their parents or something?) And they are all boys. And just wow. BUUUTTT I was able to see beyond the piles of dirty dishes, empty bottles, and other random stuff strewn around the floor to realize that it has potential. It would need to have new floors put down, and possibly the kitchen done, but much of the rest could be given a good cleaning and be livable until we decided to change it. The layout is great, the neighborhood is PERFECT. And don't they always say "location first!"
So the realtor is going to pull comps for the area and I'm going to go back for a second look and put in a first low offer. We want to see if they are willing to negotiate on price at all (it is a bit above what we were thinking given the updates - and i think overpriced for the condition as well). Fingers crossed!!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No fireplace?

I just was looking at the pictures again and realized that diagonal floor house has no fireplace.

This isn't a huge deal for us (I've never used a fireplace, and although we are going somewhere cold I am fine to do without), but I wonder if it would really hurt the resale, given that lots of the homes I've seen here have a fireplace.

I will ask the realtor what she thinks, but what do you think? One option would be to install a direct vent gas fireplace, I wonder if one of the 2 or three sided ones could look nice between the living space and dining space in the main room. Otherwise in the so called "family room"?

2 other houses for tomorrow

There is a second house on the same street as the new one (oops, forgot to name that one, lets call it "diagonal floor house"). So even though it is priced a tiny bit above the range we were thinking of, I will have a look tomorrow (the realtor says she thinks they might come down on the price).

A good name for it would be "pimped out house" (hmm, what if we end up with this one, i wonder if im going to regret that name...)

It is a bi-level, which has been all updated

With fancy bathrooms like this

And a kitchen like this

From the way the description is written, it sounds like only the master is on the upper level, and the other two bedrooms are on the lower level. Of course they have full sized windows, but I'm not sure how I feel about that (Megan, I know how you would feel about it!) But it will be fun to at least see the updates they have done and get an idea about the street.

The other house I am going to see is pretty much the opposite (although it is also just a smidge above the range we were originally thinking) and they don't even show pictures of the inside, just say that the house is pretty much original from when it was built (which would be 1967... which sounds like a good name, "that 60s house") It does however, have a pretty nice look from the outside.

And it is in one of the most desirable neighborhoods near the university (basically all the other houses are in the 700k - 1 million + range), would be walking distance to work for The Husband (instead of walking distance to transit), so it could be something to consider as a longer term project. It would need to be at least livable to start with though.

Should be an exciting day tomorrow!

Back on the horse

I am more addicted to checking my email for new house updates than a girl waiting around by the phone for a guy to call.

Today I was rewarded with this pretty little thing, another slope-y roof style home:

which has been nicely redone inside:

(although what is up with the diagonal hardwood floors? i find that so weird. but then that isnt really a reason not to buy a house is it?)

we are going to check this one out tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wasn't meant to be

Our realtor called first thing this morning but they got an offer yesterday and the house is no longer on the market. Oh well. Back to waiting for something new to come up!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Never a dull moment

Our wire transfer went through so first thing tomorrow morning, if the house is still available, we will be making an offer!

Cross your fingers and hold your thumbs!!

I can't think of a creative title for yet another post about house hunting

I'm starting to realize I should name the houses because talking about them later is confusing otherwise.

So today I saw

- pool house (i bet we can all guess which one that is): to much noise from the roads behind (they are pretty far away but no wall i guess?), and just eh overall for the price.

- house with the red doorway: lovely house, it was built in the 50s and has the original hardwood floors. Very nice neighborhood (but also $100,000 more). We will go back to visit this one when The Husband gets here.

That leaves us with the house we tried to make an offer on last night (lets call that first offer house). The Swiss bank finally is moving (they money has actually left our account there) so if the house is still on the market in a few days I will go back to see it again and make another offer, if not, there will always be more houses to come.

This house hunting is exciting, but also a little stressful. I am very greatful for our awesome realtor, but also looking forward to having the house and moving onto the fun decorating part ;)

A little excitement

So I saw the latest house yesterday afternoon and we decided to make an offer that evening.
Unfortunately, due to the incompetence of some Swiss bankers, our wire transfer from Switzerland has not arrived so I could only put down as a deposit the amount you can get out of an ATM machine with 3 different accounts, with a promise of more to come by Friday, but that wasn't enough for the sellers. (And fair enough for them, I think the house got quite a bit of traffic the first day so they weren't ready to accept the offer).
I will go see the other two houses today, and if the first house is still on the market when the money comes we will probably make another offer. I will be happy if we can still make that house our own, but if not, thats life and not the end of the world either.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I am officially impatient

A new house just got posted today and from the pictures I *love* it

From the slope-y midcentury roof

To the hardwood floors and big windows in the living room

To a bunch of other things I don't have pictures of here like the ensuite with shower, the great neighborhood and the walking distance to the transit.

I emailed the realtor to ask to see it tomorrow (side note, the showings for this morning got pushed to tomorrow because of not being able to reach the sellers) but then 5 minutes later had to call her and ask if we could go tonight instead. She is going to check if we can get in this evening!!! Eeeekkk!

Another house for today

The realtor sent some listings last night for another neighborhood she thought we should look at, and I got weak in the knees when I saw this one:

And the lovely wood floors inside:

It was built in 1955 and looks so cute. Its in a neighborhood close to the university and to the hospital, it seems quite mixed in terms of 50% rentals and 50% houses (but really quite expensive ones, even this one is over 100,000 more than a similar house in some of the other neighborhoods). I really really hope it has a nice neighborhood feel to it!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the house for tomorrow

here is the house i am going to look at tomorrow. the layout is great, it has lovely bay windows in the living room:

but it also has this big pool in the backyard

it seems like a perfectly nice looking pool, but a pool just isnt for us. we have to see about the cost for removal, but i guess there is always something to compromise on.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

So, househunting

It continues, I've seen about 18 houses so far, and haven't found "the one" yet. I do have a much better idea of which neighborhoods, and which parts of those neighborhoods I want to be in.
The best of the bunch is one in a great neighborhood, with a nice layout, but backs onto a large road. So even with the 2 large walls, you can still hear the traffic noise. And we know that you can't change the location, so that one is off the list.

I will go out Monday to see another house with the Realtor, we had originally passed it over because of a large pool in the backyard (um, I thought I left Southern California!) but if it can be removed it is something we would consider. I'm a little worried about what it would do to the value of the home to remove the pool, but we can't be the only ones who don't want a pool in this city where it snowed last year in 11 months! It also would need new floors and some other updates, so we are going to see what the realtor thinks in terms of if it would be worth putting the money into it. On the plus side the house is on the lower side of our budget so we could do the work right away. Of course maybe it will be gone by Monday, or maybe I won't like it, but I'm still enjoying playing out the scenarios of each house in my head.

Friday, June 19, 2009

house hunting is hard!

I've seen 12 houses this week, and discovered I am super duper picky when it comes to the neighborhood. Combine that with the recent fact we learned that it will take 1 year before The Husband can get a drivers license so that he can drive without someone in the car (meaning, after our first winter here, when he will be walking to the light rail stop) and its quite a challenge to find something close enough but still nice!

The Realtor is great though, and we have decided to expand our search out one more stop on the light rail line, so fingers crossed there will be some good properties to go look at on Monday when we go out again. I know that 12 houses is not that many so I'm not discouraged yet!

p.s. putting disgusting amounts of air freshener in your house doesn't cover up the smoke smell, it just makes me want to run out of there as fast as possible. thanks.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The most boring blog

I have no time to think about houses and home design because I'm knee deep in pension plans and Canadian-Swiss-American-French tax law (I know, you are so jealous).

So I will leave you with 2 pictures of my current favorite house (click on to enlarge). Been on the market 11 days now. If it is still there in 5 days I will be visiting it with the Realtor.

How cute is the front? Love the little stairs, it just looks like a friendly house

Living room. Pretty pretty new floors. I can already imagine how they would look with super pale grey walls.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hurry up and wait

With one week left to go there is lots and lots to be done here and limited time for thinking about the new house.
I'm selling off everything electronic which won't work on 110 V. I had considered messing with converters, transformers, etc. but it feels good to make a clean break, and with the high prices for electronics here, the used prices i can get for things will almost cover new stuff in Canada.

The Realtor wrote to ask when she should send the updated listings for us to look over. (I was so excited to get her mail, she is turning out to be really great, especially as far as being responsive and proactive, I had thought I would need to reminder her to send it to us but she beat me to it. Given that I'm a horrible impatient person this is a huge plus). She will send them this weekend and we will have another look through. But given that we went through the last list pretty closely, and are getting any updates by mail, I don't expect a big change to the list of homes to visit. There are 3 on the list which seems like a good number. (Of course this can change as they may sell before then).

So not much else to say around here, but I'm sure things will pickup again soon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Security systems

I've never lived in a home with a security system but I'm thinking about getting one for the new place. I have an irrational fear that people will be hiding in the closets and jump out when I'm sleeping. Now this makes very little sense, especially because the way I usually deal with it is checking the 2 closets in our house before I got to bed if I'm home alone, and I have no actual plan for what I would do if I found someone in the closet. But there you go, it makes me feel better when I do go to bed. I do the same in hotel rooms (and also under the bed). This isnt such a problem in a 600 sq ft apartment, but it seems impractical in a house. And moreover after so many years in apartments, being in a house on the ground floor, with all those windows, makes me feel so exposed.

I suppose the companies will be different up in Canada, but any words of advice regarding security systems?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

White paint

This post has me thinking about white paint. For a long time I wanted a house so I could paint it how it want it, but now my tastes have evolved and its rooms with crisp white paint that make my heart beat a little faster.

But who knew there were so many colors of white?? I much prefer gray to beige so I'm thinking I would prefer something with those undertones, but I'm also stumped about the trim, same color white? different? Really I want to throw up my hands and just paint all the walls in a very very pale shade of gray with crisp white trim, but then I wonder if I will get over the gray phase?

Oh, and then there is the minor detail of the cats, who seem to have gotten our previously white doors a little dingy looking, so I guess it should be something pretty washable moreover.

What colors are the rooms in your house?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Housing crush

I find myself getting really attached to one house at a time. And while I feel a little disappointed when it goes off the market, I always seem to get over it and move onto the next one which I decide is really actually better (what does this say about me?)

So meet my current housing crush. There are a few things which make it crushworthy. Such as this master bedroom:

What you cant see is the space on the other side with the room for the walk in closet. I'm pretty sure that make this bigger than the first few apartments we lived in. Which is kind of silly. But OMG WANT. I can totally see the gray room, with the wood either stained or painted, and maybe the fireplace too.

The second thing is the combo you see here:

On the one hand you have the open dining room, with huge glass doors, lovely redone floors (again what you dont see is the living room next to that with similarly nice floors and big windows). And on the other hand you have a kitchen which could use some updating (and even better with nice floors!) This combo is super. I have some very specific ideas (big surprise right?) about what I want the kitchen to look like, and while all the updated kitchens I've seen are very nice, they arent exactly what I want. But at the same time, who rips out a perfectly good kitchen just because the counters arent the right color (not me). So really I would rather find something where I have a good reason to change it. This house gets bonus points because the things I am not as picky about (the color of the wood floors for example) are already nicely done.

Its been on the market about 20 days, so it really seems that there is a chance it could be there in 2 more weeks, fingers crossed!! Of course I know I can always come up with another crush :)