Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pass the Insult

First off, Mark and I spent all day in Canmore / Banff looking at houses on Sunday. Well, houses would be a bit of a lie. You can't ACTUALLY buy a house in one of those places for less then a million dollars. And really, it would be better if you had two. So let's just say we were viewing sassy little condo's with big city aspirations. The Sex and the City of condos, if you please.

There are things you should know before I continue this abode shopping tale. 1. You can't live in Banff if you don't work there at least 20 hours a week (national park and all) 2. Anyone can live in Canmore and those wishing to throwing reckless amounts of money on a vacation home are drawn to this town like childless women to a window at a puppy emporium.

It really only takes about 10-15 minutes to drive between the two, on a double lane highway. So a much more pleasant drive then say, the 60 minute gridlocked route Margarita takes from one end of Calgary to the other twice a day. So living in one and working in the other is no a big deal, if you pass rule 1.

Now I should also frame a picture for you of the conditions we are currently working within. Last Thursday my parents came up from Medicine Hat to help us get our house ready to list. You can check out our listing here. We gutted the main bathroom and redid it (thank god Dad is handy), repainted all the casings and baseboards. Touched up all the paint throughout the house where it needed to be spruced up. Put a casing around the pantry door, which didn't have one. Washed all the walls and windows. Cleaned and packed away everything on counters, shelves or other vertical surfaces to eradicate clutter. Put in curtains as needed, staged the basement and main living room. Replaced the torn screen door. Recruited a good friend and avid green thumb to find the zen in our backyard jungle. Put in a new garage door. Finally, we got the house drunk and promised we would still love it in the morning if it promised to play nice with anyone who came to look at it. Getting this house ready to list has not been unsubstantial. My parents didn't leave until 1pm yesterday and we worked each day until midnight to get this all done. It looks better then when we bought it.

Now having spent four days on my knees, in a totally non-sexual, completely backbreaking way, I was HORRIFIED by some of the places we looked at. And angry. Like !!!!!, angry. Offended, that people would bother to list their houses, in price ranges around $500,000, and not even bother to dust the baseboards. That they would have the gall to list as 'newly' painted when they obviously did, said paint job, themselves. And not well. In fact, a couple of these places had areas where 'paint' should can be easily replaced with dusted. I could spit more paint onto a wall then the streaky mess I was looking at. Others places needed so much updating and work that you should have been able to easily knock $40-50,000 off the asking price. Just in good will. But because of the town they are located in, all reason goes out the window. Problem is, the market has slowed everywhere. Sadly, people who live in wonderful getaway places like Banff / Canmore can't stomach the fact that their place has lost, in some cases, up to 25-35% of it value in one year. So the white dinosaurs sit. And sit. Untouched up, forlorn, and costing their owners HUGE monthly mortgage payments. The market has corrected. You can't fight that. But you can come to terms with it. That is if you can afford it, and if your willing to put a little sweat equity into your place so that it shows like cribs. Not like the Amityville horror movie. Unfortunately, some people can't, or won't. They bought on speculation, and are now caught in a costly whirlpool of hell. The best thing about a whirlpool is getting pulled out of the water. Some will come to terms with that. Grab for the life jacket and kiss the ground when they land. Others will drown.

Here is the place we are hoping to get. We wait with bated breath to see if you all can come stay with us.


Unknown said...

I LOVE your house, and it looks so clean and fresh and beautiful! All your work certainly shows through.
I'm sure you will sell it quickly, but it seems you should be able to get more for it, ya know? But I guess a lot depends on the area, cause I can't believe that condo is MORE than your big, beautiful house!

Heidi Schempp Fournier said...

It is definitely all about location. Banff is a National Park and considered one of the most beautiful places in the world: mountains, lakes, world class skiing. And you get to pay for living there to enjoy it. But hey, I am willing to pay!

Rebecca 'Becky' Heaman said...

I didn't even recognize the basement. It all looks fab! Keeping my fingers crossed for you!

Anonymous said...

I am totally prepared to make a sacrafice so that I can drink my morning coffee on that new deck in BANFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!