We bought a condo. :)
We'd already bought it before I published my last post on the subject, but we needed to sell our own house to make it final. I'd been writing that post on & off over several months, waiting for the right time to make it public. (We're still not Facebook-official, but we will be soon... you heard it here first, folks, lol.)
As I wrote there, we've been keeping our eye on the realtor listings for awhile now and making special scouting trips to check out promising buildings and locations. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted. Dh thought we could manage with one bedroom, but I insisted on two. I wanted some extra space for a futon or sofabed for guests (and shelves for my books, lol). And when we started actually looking, we quickly realized that anything under about 750 square feet would be pretty darn small. We wanted a low-rise building, not a tower. We didn't need a lot of bells & whistles (although we've found that just about every condo building of whatever size comes with a party room and exercise room).
Dh was eager to get looking in the new year; and in mid-February, he saw a condo online he thought we should see, and called the agent to arrange a viewing. Things happened very quickly after that (as I suspected they would). That was a Sunday; we went to see another unit twice later that week, and then arranged to see a few more places the following Saturday (Feb. 20th, with BIL & SIL in tow for second opinions).
As with our house 26 years ago, the minute we walked in, we knew this was the place we wanted. Even I, who had been dragging her feet a bit on the whole condo subject, fell in love with the place instantly. It's in a low-rise building, about one year old -- on a major thoroughfare, but facing a green/treed space at the back, and just a few miles away from BIL and family. The unit is near one end of the building, away from both the elevator & garbage room. 875 spacious, well-laid-out square feet. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, nine-foot ceilings, a walk-in closet in the master suite, and a kitchen to die for, with a granite countertop, stainless steel appliances and as much cupboard space as what's in my current kitchen, if not more. It's bright and airy, with floor to ceiling windows that let in a ton of natural light -- including good-sized panels that open in the bedrooms and a sliding glass door in the living room area that leads out to a small balcony, with room for two or three chairs &/or a small table &/or barbecue. (I couldn't believe how tiny the window openings in most condo buildings are... and how many balcony doors are just plain old doors, with no screens. Either you suffocate or you open the door & let all the bugs in.) There's even a guest suite, if my mother doesn't want to sleep on a futon when she visits. ;)
"If you don't take it, I will!" SIL said to me as we wandered around. (We loved the furniture too and wondered if the owners would leave it for us, lol.)
After we said goodbye to our agent, the four of us went to McDonalds (within walking distance -- not sure if that's a good thing, lol...!) for lunch and to discuss what we'd seen. BIL & SIL were equally as enthusiastic as we were about the place. We called our agent the next day and asked her to submit an offer.
The next week went by in a blur. Talk about rollercoasters!! We put the offer together on Monday and negotiated back & forth with the sellers over the next 24 hours. Late Tuesday, our offer was accepted. Our offer was conditional, with the primary condition being the sale of our own house.
Dh had already called a junk removal company to come Wednesday to clear 26 years of accumulated stuff from our garage and garden shed. I spent Tuesday & Wednesday in a frenzy, clearing the house of our personal photos and knick-knacks and packing them up, and sending even more excess stuff out to the garage. StepBIL, who had painted our house last fall, returned to do some fixes for us, working all day Thursday and through Friday morning.
Our deadline was 1 p.m. Friday, when the realtor's photographer was arriving to take photos of the house for the listing. We continued to clean (the oven, the windows, the laundry sink) over the weekend. The sign went up Sunday night (Feb. 28th) and the listing went live Tuesday morning, March 1st.
The Toronto real estate market has been pretty insane for the past few years (not quite as insane price-wise as Vancouver, but getting there...!), and it seems the insanity has spread to the suburbs. There is very little inventory out there right now, particularly for smaller, "starter" detached homes like ours, and what's out there tends to go quickly. By midday Tuesday, we were booking appointments from agents who wanted to bring their clients to see our house. We had six visits that first day, a sanity-challenging 14 on Wednesday, 6 on Thursday and another 14 on Friday -- more than 40 visits over four days. We received one good offer late Thursday night and another even better one Friday afternoon, and by Saturday morning, the deal was finalized.
I'm not sure what made me happier, knowing we'd sold the house for a good price -- or that we didn't have to accept any more appointments for viewings, lol. We were both EXHAUSTED (and are still recovering). (If you've noticed I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately, now you know why...!) At one point on Wednesday night, we had FOUR agents & their clients tramping through our house at the same time. We were advised we should remove ourselves from the property while it was being viewed, and only allow one agent in at a time -- but there was a constant stream of them, and it was bitterly cold outside -- too cold to stand around waiting. I had a dream the night before the MLS listing went live that we opened the door the next morning and there was a lineup of people 12 deep down the sidewalk, wanting to get in to see our house -- and it wasn't too far off from the way things turned out. Did I mention my house is only 1400 square feet?? It felt like an invasion. :p
As I signed the paperwork to hand my house over to another family, I got a little choked up. Later, as dh & I sat, talking about what we'd done, I started crying. I have loved my little house, and part of me is so sad to leave it, even if it is for something nice -- but I am happy that it's going to go to a family with two little girls -- the family I once dreamed of having. They will sleep in the bedrooms that we once thought Katie would sleep in, and play in the back yard that Katie never got to play in, under the tree that we call hers, and even play on the piano that my parents bought 40 years ago for me & my sister, that my own children will never learn to play "Heart & Soul" duets on. We offered it to them, since we will have no room for it in the condo (and since I haven't played it in years anyway) and they were happy to take it -- which makes me happy. One less thing we will have to try to sell or donate somewhere.
The events of the past few weeks (from the time we started viewing condos to the day we accepted the offer was less than three weeks!!) have reminded me why we haven't moved in 26 years. ;) (And why I hope it will be at LEAST another 26 years before I move again, lol.) It's been extremely stressful -- and I'm sure there will be more changes and challenges to come as we navigate packing, moving, closing on two properties in the same day, and trying to find places for all our furniture & possessions in a much smaller place. The condo is sleek and shiny and modern, all white and stainless steel; my furniture & knick-knacks are old and cozy and country-ish and in warm colours. Somehow, we'll find a way to make the two worlds mesh.
But it's also exciting. Maybe it was the push we needed to do something new and different with our lives. Dh felt we'd gotten into a bit of rut in recent years, and perhaps he was right. We've been living in the same house, working at the same jobs, for 25+ years. Losing our jobs was a bit of a jolt, definitely -- but our surroundings were still the same. Even losing Katie didn't change our lives very much, on the surface. Yes, it changed everything in the most important ways -- but our day-to-day lives didn't really change very much at all, post-stillbirth. I've said before, we were ready for our lives to change, we wanted our lives to change -- we thought they were going to change -- and then they didn't -- and life went on more or less the same as it always had before I got pregnant and lost the baby.
This will be a big change. But we're hoping to make it a good one.
I'll keep you posted. :)