Gary and I have been looking for a property to call our own since before we moved to Montreal from Vancouver in July of 2011. We were not looking very hard; there are lots of places available for sale in Montreal. (Bonus: they are much cheaper here than in Van!) The problem was that we were not sure what we were looking for. Since Gary is a carpenter/builder and I am an architect (or just about to be) we knew we were looking for a place that was undervalued with “lots of potential” (read: “needs lots of work”). Unfortunately, tacky and outdated are not criteria that you can select on Centris or MLS (…yet) but somehow we found plenty of both. Our searches went something like this: “Kitchen’s too nice”,” Space is too well organized,” “Wait. This one’s a dump.” …In with a chance!
But were we looking for an income property or a property to flip? What neighbourhood? How big? How much did we want to spend? There were too many options and so the search persevered and we continued to rent an apartment in Pointe-Saint-Charles. It was only recently, when our landlord asked us if we were renewing our lease that we started a more serious search. We have been talking about doing this for just over two years, and it was high time to make our move!
I started calling the listing agents of properties that struck our eye (in a painful way of course = potential!) I went to see a duplex on the Plateau and the agent asked if the place was too small for Gary and I, whether it was a problem it didn’t have a basement, whether we could imagine ourselves doing all the work required to fix it up , etc. (we had yet to disclose our professions). In short, she was honest. She was supposed to be selling the place! Anyway, when she offered to show us a few more listings, we agreed. We arranged to go see a few properties on a Saturday morning. She called me on Tuesday to say that there was an offer on one of them. If we were interested we could see the place at 9am Saturday but would have to be ready to make a serious offer before noon. What!? I had shared the listing photos with my parents who were so eager to see the place, they came along! In fact, dad had singled this place out as the one with the most potential. In the photos, this place looked WILD, like time had stood still. In person, it was obvious that it had. It was love at first site.
Here are the listing photos:
The property was purchased by the previous owner’s family in 1940 and NOTHING has changed since. When we visited the place, my parents and I walked around wide eyed, taking in all the amazing original details. Meanwhile, Gary was walking around with eyes more like that of a deer-caught-in-headlights. He would later reveal he was busy identifying defects, mentally tallying up all the work that there was to be done (and there was a lot of it). That is, until I showed him the 1500 square foot workshop in the basement. He basically stayed down there for the rest of our quick visit.
At one point, the agent came up to my mom and me, and asked us what we thought of the place. I began to say that I loved it but suddenly my mom burst into tears and sobbed: “It’s so great…sob…tear…sniffle…it reminds me of my grannnndfaaather.” The agent turned to me and was like: “she’s very emotional, isn’t she!?” Yes, very emotional, indeed.
Unfortunately, we were not the only ones who loved this place. By the time we were though our visit, there were 3 other offers on the table. We put in our offer and we were told that the curator had 72 hours to make his decision. 72 hours!? My stomach was already in knots! We were supposed to visit a few more places that day, so we set out. (For the record, we were not planning on making any more offers that day – but we had made the appointments). Before we arrived at the next property, we were told that our offer was chosen. OMG!! Hooray! It immediately started to sink in…it’s ours! …WHAT HAVE WE DONE!?
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