Friday, August 25, 2006

House Hunting Update #1

David and I toured two houses last evening. Both were unimpressive. The first, in a third string neighborhood, was a handy-man special which had been weirdly modified by the previous owner. I think it was either a grow-op or a crack house in its previous life. I was ready to leave after 5 minutes, but after a thorough tour we were ready to run. Our agent used the opportunity to point out lots of problems and flaws and watch-outs, so it was a good place to start. The walk beside the house sloped towards the basement, meaning bad draining. The fireplace was soiled with smoke, meaning bad drafting inside the chimney. And the bedrooms had been renovated by removing walls, leaving heating registers in the middle of the floors. The windows were old and so was the roof and furnace.

The second house was once a noble house in a lovely neighborhood, our second choice neighborhood. It was built in 1973 and had not been renovated. The layout was lovely, except for the south-facing 2nd storey master bedroom with the ugly window overlooking the school across the street. I could already picture myself in bed with a massive headache, children screaming outside in the playground, and the scorching prairie sun streaming into the south-facing bedroom (most Calgary homes aren't air-conditioned...we don't get much over 30C/85F weather). The house was severely dated despite the new carpet and furnace and roof. We decided quickly it wasn't worth the trouble, not for the price. We would have no money left for the copious renovations.

Today, a listing finally came up in our #1 neighborhood. David has a company BBQ tonight at his boss's posh house, so we are seeing our agent at 8pm. This gives us a quick excuse to ditch the colleagues early too!

This neighborhood is a gem. It is pricey and established but not really well-known except by the well-heeled set since the neighborhood is small and out of the way. The neighborhood sits on a peninsula of development surrounded on three sides by green space. To the south and east is Fish Creek Park, the largest urban park in Canada. To the east is a green zone. The neighborhood is private and delicious. We're seeing another older home, which hasn't been substantially renovated, but it was described as immaculate and charming. Charming can mean charming or it can mean quirky and weird. We'll see. I can tell that David is excited. We are almost ready to move in from the description and the fact that the house is located one block from the ridge and a wide-open view of the valley below and the mountains. The house sits one row behind the million-dollar monster homes that line the ridge.

I'm dying to see it. But we have to schmooze with the colleagues first at this BBQ. Should be a fun evening. I finally get to meet some more of David's colleagues and get to see his boss's grand house. Will post an update soon, but will spend the next 5 hours trying to emotionally detach myself from this house, so I am prepared for disappointment.

By the way, my headache is raging, as it's done all week. I hope I am lucid for the party. I will just stand there, perhaps, and pretend I am shy. : )


  1. i'm so sorry your headache's been extra trouble! no fair!

    can't wait to hear about the house; i hope it's everything you're dreaming of.

    as for coming off as shy, i feel that way too. b/c i don't talk as loud as i used to, or as much as i used to, i feel like people must think i'm really quiet. the funny thing is, i'm not at all! ah well.

  2. ohhh, you've get ME in love with that house already. I think I know what area of Calgary you are talking about, and your right, it is beautiful. And anywhere in the city where there is green space is worth the money.

    Good luck, and I hope the headache gives you an evening off.