condos · housing market

Of the Useless Variety

Originally, when my job offer came through and the prospect of buying our own home when our lease was up became more and more of a possibility, we were considering condo living. After all, we were quite content in our little 500 square foot apartment despite the lack of shelf space in the kitchen (I was forced to turn half of our front closet into a makeshift pantry) and the dirty white carpet.

For a while, we started spending our weekends touring pre-construction condo sales offices. I quickly came to love their model suites. I drooled over the gorgeous finishes, the walk-in closets, the master bathrooms. We poured over floor plans, making a compromise here, and a compromise there until the dollar value accompanying the size of our potential unit became comfortable. After living in a condo that needed some work, the idea of everything-brand-new was really appealing.

At this point, you’re probably really confused. Is this actually Nette, the writer of a blog about a down-to-the-studs home renovation, talking about the desire for a move-in-ready, never-before-touched condo? Indeed. So, what changed so drastically in the 3 months between frequenting sales offices in October and calling a realtor in January?

Not much actually. Just this: information. See, we were looking at condos because we honestly thought it was all we could afford. The Toronto housing market is tough. Average prices keep climbing. There is no wonder the suburbs keep spreading. You know — drive until you can buy. But the Husband and I have never had any interest in the suburbs. (That’s a different musing, for a different time.) We wanted to be in the city. We wanted to be close to public transit. And restaurants. And grocery stores. But, for the most part, houses with a Toronto address are numerous hundreds of thousands of dollars out of our budget.

But condos. Condos are expensive per square foot, but since they tend to be quite small, they also tend to fall nicely in our price range. And, since condo unit prices shoot up the moment the building is actually standing, a pre-construction condo seemed like such a good investment.

I don’t know which one of us looked outside the North York area first. Since the Husband is the one who has an MLS addiction, I suspect it was him. As soon as we discovered that there was an area of the city still full of run-down and therefore, affordable homes, we didn’t look back.

But every so often, we fall into this kind of pointless conversation:

Me: You know, if we’d bought one of those condos, we’d be all settled in now.
The Husband: No work to do. It’d be different. It would be kinda nice, actually.
Me: Yes. No dust.
The Husband: Actually, we wouldn’t have it yet. We’d still be waiting for it to get built.
Me: True. We’d have moved into the cheapest apartment we can find to save as much money as we could.
The Husband: And we’d still have to go up and down an elevator every time Mocha has to potty.*
Me: And I wouldn’t have the blog. There wouldn’t be anything to blog about.
The Husband: Probably not.
Me: This is better.

* The Husband doesn’t actually talk like that. He does not call Mocha’s walks ‘going potty’. He’s much more manly than that I guess. Actually, I don’t even call Mocha’s walks ‘going potty’…

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