Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lost and Found

We decided that the price of renting our own place for two weeks this summer was just too much. But, unbeknownst to one another, we both started searching MLS again. For "shits and giggles," of course. Nothing serious, just more wistful, and wishful, daydreaming. Chris was at work and I was at home, on the very same day, looking at el cheapo little cottages or dumpy little shacks for sale. I think we both topped out our search price at $50,000, if that. We laughed when we discovered that we were both up to the same thing, sending each other MLS numbers for the other to check out. Some were interesting, but all of them were pretty crappy. Any of the half-decent little cottages were all "to be moved," a common practice on the Island. For $25,000 you can buy a cottage, but it doesn't come with any land; you'll have to find and purchase a lot, then pay to have the cottage moved onto it. Not something we were interested in, thanks very much.

But then Chris sent me another batch of about four MLS listings to peruse. One of them stood out to me. A little old shingled house, seemingly unspoiled by any horrid vinyl siding or 1970s "improvements." The description read, word-for-word:

Ideal summer home. Century-old character farmhouse located minutes from beautiful farming village of Port Hill. Minutes from Green Park (provincial camp ground), shipbuilding museum and the historic Yeo House. Various beaches, golf and fishing are also close. This four-bedroom home sits on a solid poured concrete foundation. Hardwood floors, trim, pine plank floors and nine-foot ceilings.

I perked right up at the mention of the floors, trim and ceilings. I have a real weakness for old houses, especially those with all their character and architectural detailing intact. I will take crooked floors and rotting old windows over ensuite bathrooms and open-concept floor plans any day. The pictures really got me too. These were the ones on the original listing:

I loved the staircase, the original old wood floors, the unspoiled shingled exterior. The size seemed perfect: four bedrooms (room for us, plus guests!) but not a huge rambling farmhouse. And the price was the real point of interest. The house, including .7 of an acre, was being sold for the asking price of $39,500.
Chris simply said, "I knew you'd like that one."

For days we kept going back to look at the listing online. This was in late March. Within a week we couldn't stop thinking about it and decided we would go look at it over the Easter long weekend. We were getting kind of serious about it all of a sudden. We called the listing agent and asked him some more about the property. We even lined up a house inspection for the very same day, just in case we wanted to make an offer. We knew we wouldn't be back to the Island again until later in the summer, and someone else might have snapped it up by then.
Obviously it was in dire need of some renovations. It's always a red flag for me when an MLS listing is without pictures of the kitchen or bathroom. So I knew the kitchen and bathroom would be bad. How else could they be asking less than $40,000 for a cute little house?? I knew its mechanical systems, like heat, wiring, plumbing, probably needed attention. I suspected it might also have roofing and foundation issues. But we decided we needed to go and see it. Little did we know what we were about to find.

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