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Archive for May, 2011

Shortly after my last entry, my husband and I learned that we were eligible for a mortgage. It would take a leap of faith on the lender’s part and on our own, because we’d have a higher interest rate than people with solid jobs or flourishing businesses, but we couldn’t let the opportunity pass.

Immediately we started to search in a city where house prices are still affordable, and the commute to Toronto and the outlying areas reasonable. Because we were considering homes at the low end of the price scale, we saw some real disasters. Some were so bad that it would be cheaper to tear them down and start over, rather than try to renovate what was already there. We saw homes that looked wonderful online, but those pictures were carefully cropped to miss the dilapidated homes on the rest of the street, or the fifteen story apartment that loomed behind and put the entire house in its shade. There were a lot of estate homes – easily recognizable by the dated decor and overall neglect of an elderly person who doesn’t have the money or energy to redecorate or renovate. We saw one place we loved, only to be told that the corner three hundred metres away served as home base for most of the city’s prostitutes.

One particular older home charmed us, and we considered making an offer. A closer look showed dangerous undermining of the foundation, and other structural time bombs. Another old place was lovely inside, but the floor was so uneven you’d swear you were hung over as you moved from one room to the next. My husband, ever the optimist, believed he could raise the floor himself. He did the research, then we went back for a second look. That’s when he discovered that the supports at one end of the house were rotten, and that without a mega transfusion of cash, the house would eventually crumble.

Across the street and down a bit, we found another home – sturdy, stately, with tons of character and original features. It took just one short visit for us to fall in love with it.

The purchase has moved quickly because the house is vacant. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Over the years, we’ve owned three brand new homes, and another that was only six years old when we bought it. Between homes, we’ve been lucky enough to live with a close friend. Now, after two tumultuous years, we are embarking on an entirely new adventure, something we’ve never considered before: a home that’s over one hundred years old, in the middle of a city we are only beginning to know.

It’s a fresh start for us, and it begins tomorrow. Wish us luck.

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