Note to readers who have tuned in with the program in progress: as I mentioned in my first entry for this series, my story is mostly in the past tense. In fact, we have purchased a place and are set to move in late August. The Verdun entry describes events from last August and September (2006). I also realize that this will go on endlessly at this pace, so I’m going to pick it up, as I don’t want to blog about real estate forever.
Our first round of candidates in hand, and our first tour of Montreal complete, we mulled it over. Everything seemed so expensive and there was no perfect place though some were tempting. As fall approached, several sellers dropped their prices and we were ever so tempted to make an offer. But not quite ready. We still hadn’t figured out a lot of things (like the Canadian mortgage system, which is a whole other post). And we were determined to get a better deal. We thought that maybe we could get places listing for $350000 for $275000 or $300000. But we didn’t even get to the point of making an offer.
In the meantime, our agent Luc informed us that he was switching to another part of the business, appraisal, and that he would no longer be able to serve as our agent come the end of October. We got busy with school and didn’t see clear to make an offer. He “retired” and referred us to another agent, Sandra, who would carry us through for the duration.
Sandra sent us a list of new places to look at, and we asked her also to check on our top 3.
All of them had sold, for more than we were willing to pay. We were in for a long winter.
The first place we really liked with Sandra was in Rosemount, a neighborhood east of the Petit Patrie and full of tree lined streets, parks and even some houses. This place was on 3rd Av E., and while it was nice and big enough, it needed renovation of the kitchen and 2 bathrooms. And it was $355000. Oh, and the public transit situation to McGill was not particularly good. That said, if the transit situation were better, Rosemount would be a great option. It’s virtually unknown to our Anglophone friends; it seems like a Francophone NDG but cheaper: lots of beautiful old brick, pretty streets and neighborhood establishments. Still, nothing came of our brief flirtation with Rosemount.
From this point on, we basically entered our winter of discontent. Our time serverely curtailed by the school year and pickings getting slimmer, we went months without seeing anything we really liked. There was a place in Old Montreal with potential but it was too small and too expensive ($400000 for a place smaller than ours but in better condition, but with almost no services in close walking distance, and the taxes were high too). There was the psychologists’ office on St. Denis, just north of Rosemount. It was an old house (a house!) for $330000. Of course, we’d have to re-convert it back into a house from its mix of psychoanalysis and sexology services. Also there was a distrurbing crack in the stairwell. And it needed a new bathroom. And St. Denis is LOUD.
And so we looked when we could, and we really found nothing of much interest for months. We had our pangs of regret for not making offers on the places we liked. We knew the market better and knew what things we worth. We were ready, if only we could find a place.
Then the spring came. . . .