When JF and I first set out to meet Kevin, our real estate agent, it was the best of times. In fact, I was convinced we were going to find our house that morning. Having watched plenty of HGTV, I knew I could turn any fixer-upper into a masterpiece. All I needed was imagination, a bit of money, and two weeks.
The three of us sat down at the Elmvale Tim Hortons (which is apparently where shit gets done in Springwater Township) to talk about what we wanted in a home. I oozed enthusiasm and expectations. Kevin played it pretty cool.
As we pulled up to the first one, I was literally bouncing in my seat. It was beautiful. A quiet country road, acres and acres of field, a rustic barn, and a pretty, two-storey, red brick victorian. It even had a lilac tree.
As soon we opened the door, I was overwhelmed by an interesting, earthy, wet wool smell. The living room featured a pea green carpet I originally thought was polka dotted — turns out it was mould. The kitchen was okay, if you don’t care for running water. One bedroom had a ceiling fan with coca-cola bottles for blades. Another had a hole in the floor, convenient for reaching into the kitchen. Several walls were buckling from a leak in the roof. Best of all, this place was at the top of our price range. I left feeling dispirited.
It’s now several weeks later and we’ve seen houses all over Simcoe County. My skin is thicker. I feel older and wiser. And JF and I have come to a few basic conclusions:
- To protect our relationship and sanity, we don’t want a giant project.
- We can’t afford a real country house (with good land) that doesn’t need to be gutted. So we’re going to shelf that dream for later and start with a house in town.
- We want something we can add a little value to.
- We don’t want to be house poor.
- We still want three bedrooms and some good yard space.
That leads me to our current dilemma. Our tale of two houses. At this juncture, JF likes one Elmvale house. I like another Elmvale house. Here is my unbiased assessment of both.
Good things about his house:
- Great yard
- Three bathrooms, four bedrooms
- Big kitchen
Bad things about his house:
- Weird, ugly floors
- Dirty and covered in pet hair
- Smelly basement
- Located on a busy street
- Crappy layout
Good things about my house:
- All new electrical and plumbing
- Historic home, gorgeous top to bottom
- Move in ready
- Nice, private yard
- Great location on a quiet street
Bad things about my house:
- No garage (buildable)
- Leaky basement (but at least it’s not pretending to have a finished basement like JF’s house)
- Currently only has two bedrooms (I have a plan to add a third)
- No air conditioning (easy fix)
We are going to try to resolve this showcase showdown tomorrow. We’re looking at a few more houses in Coldwater and Hillsdale. Maybe we’ll find one we both love. Or maybe we won’t and we’ll fight to see whose Elmvale house prevails. I like a good row now and again.