Real Estate Part VIII: Denouemont

After the Mont-Royal disappointment, we continued looking. We began settling in for the long haul. After all, it was coming up on a year of looking and we hadn’t found the place of our dreams.

On the first Sunday in June, Carrie was out of town but I saw a few promising places in the paper, so I went on my own. Of particular note was an old industrial space on Normanville in the Petit Patrie, just south of Rosemount. The place was a just-renoved ex-industrial space, on a mixed use block. At the end of the block was the old incinerator, decomissioned several years ago and now under consideration for a variety of uses. The area is in transition. North of Rosemount (the cross street at the corner), Normanville is one of the most beautiful streets in the Petit Patrie. South of Normanville, it’s a little grey still, and there was at least one business still on the block.

<p>But the place was amazing.  They’d carved the building into four quadrants and doubly insonorized the walls, so that one wouldn’t have neighbors above or below and each unit would have two floors.  You bought roof access and a bit of outdoor space on each floor with the condo, and they’d carved some beautiful skylights that went all the down to the first floor (it’s hard to explain and the pics are no longer on the net).  The place was breathtaking, though it did have a few flaws.  I didn’t like what they’d done with the kitchen.  I found it to be the kind of kitchen that looks good for showing but wasn’t well laid out for cooking and was inefficient with storage (and there wasn’t nearly enough).  The bathrooms were beautiful but there was zero, and I mean <em>no</em> built in storage.</p>
<p>Nevertheless, the place was a sight to see.  I took Carrie and Sandra to see it and they both loved it.  Really loved it.  I came around, despite the kitchen, and there was something to be said for finishing a place yourself.  And it was in the Petit Patrie, a neighborhood we knew we loved, and a 10-minute walk from the Rosemount metro stop.  But the sellers wanted $439k for it, which seemed like they were charging extra for the “privilege” of finishing the place yourself.  So we decided we would bid but lowball them.  We offered $390k, and then we waited.  After making the offer, I started to get nervous about the cost of finishing the place.  You never really know how much that sort of thing costs, and this condo was already close to the top of our price range.  And I felt like I was paying extra to rectify the seller’s bad design decisions regarding storage in the kitchen and the lack thereof elsewhere.</p>
<p>While this was going on, another week had passed and it was Sunday again.  There was an intriguing open house in Villeray.  We went up there and the power was out on the buzzer.  The only reason we got in at all was because some other people were leaving.  We came in and were totally blown away.  The place was beautiful and finished.  The design was amazing, the light was good, and it came with storage and garage.  It was also big enough — 2000 square feet (or just under) but with lots of wall space for our books and tons of storage.  The condo looked out on a beautiful, tree-lined residential street.  The Jarry metro station was half a block away.  We walked around the neighborhood and checked out the amenities.  They looked pretty good (and in fact we’d checked out a house in the neighborhood so we already knew a bit about it).  We called our friend Debbie, who lives several blocks away, and asked her opinion.  She raved about the neighborhood.  Suddenly, we weren’t so certain.  One place was in the Petit Patrie, a neighborhood we knew we loved.  The other seemed like a better place.  I could give you adjectives, but the bottom line was that after a year of looking, we just knew we loved it.</p>
<p>We returned the next night with Sandra so she could see it.  She was also impressed.  The current owner showed us around and when she asked him was what wrong with the place, he said “we have to move.  That’s the only thing that’s wrong with it.”  We would, of course, do a few things to make it our own, but it was just right.</p>
<p>I don’t remember the sequence exactly, but it seems like the next day the counteroffer for the Normanville place came in.  The guy dropped the price a lot — to maybe $415k, with an absurdly early closing date (they obviously needed money from the sale).  But this time it was us who had to walk away from the negotiations.  We told Sandra to apologize profusely on our behalf, and that we’d be back if the negotiations on the other place fell through.  Our dream home was listing for $399k.  With some counseling from Sandra, we came in at $385k with our first offer.  She tells us that she went in and made a hard sell — she told the owners and the agent that we were bidding on another place, and so they were in competition for our money.  Apparently it worked.  The sellers accepted our first offer.  We were elated.  I’ll spare you the mechanics of buying except for a “what we learned” aftermath post, but I can tell you that since we moved in, I haven’t had a moment of buyer’s remorse.   At first, we thought it was a choice between quality of neighborhood and quality of place, since we thought the Petit Patrie was a more happening neighborhood.  It turns out that we were wrong.  The Petit Patrie is great but Villeray, or at least the part of it within walking distance of our place is wonderful, <a href=as I suggested in a much earlier post.

A few pictures are below. We’re “moved in” but not fully settled. There is still much decorating to be done, there is no overhead light in the dining room and 3 months later, my studio still isn’t hooked up. That’s what winter break is for. . . .

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