In late June of 2006, we met our first love in the Montreal real estate market — after Luc, our realtor, that is — 6629 St. Andre, Apartment 3, listing for a mere $370,000. It was the 3rd floor of a 3-story (+basement) industrial building that had been converted to 3 condos. The 3rd floor was completely open, and while it had been renovated well, it was renovated in that weird Montreal way: totally idiosyncratic to the owner. You’d step down half an inch from the hardwood floors to the kitchen. The place was totally open, and while the front had hardwood floors, the back was carpeted. The light fixtures in the walls were naked sockets with bulbs. And still, the place had a lot of charm. It was huge and bright, on the top floor with no adjacent neighbors on either side and access to a rooftop terrace, and the location was great (except for the fact that it faced the back of St. Hubert Plaza–but then, there was all sorts of cool stuff nearby). And it has a fireplace. It was the first place we saw that was big enough and that we could imagine ourselves living in. After dipping our top into the real estate waters, we jumped in. It had potential, though we had resevations. Either way, we’d need to check out the market. $370,000 was way more than we’d originally hoped to spend. Then again, the only “2000 square foot” places we’d seen for under $300000 were well under 2000 square feet and either in lousy condition or undergoing what can only be described as dubious renovation.