Monday, August 24, 2009

Pretend house shopping

I think I've mentioned before that we're thinking of buying a house. We haven't contacted a realtor yet, but we will - in case you noticed, we don't do things quickly :). We know that the best houses here are sold right away without being listed on the realtor site, but it's fun to check the site anyways to see what's out there. Right now there's not much for us.

Once it's clear that there's nothing suitable for us on the site, I like to look at what we could get if we had unlimited amounts of money. It's like "house-shopping" in fancy neighbourhoods but even better because the listings show the interiors, too... so my nosiness is better satisfied.

There's a lovely $12.5M, 11000 sq. ft. house for sale that's only about a ten minute drive away from our place. This beauty has its own tennis court, gardens, forests, ponds with waterfalls, and walking trails - and that's just on the outside, on its 100acre lot adjoining a river! On the inside are four bedrooms and nine baths, a lovely indoor pool/hot tub with vaulted retractable roof, wine cellar and tasting room, and elevator. This mansion would be perfect for old-school entertaining - the kind where people would travel for days to stay with their relatives and then would have the run of the grounds.

Of course $12.5M is a lot of money and might too much. Consider, then, this luscious, $3.45M, 8000 sq. ft. bungalow on a 100acre lot in the country, about a twenty minute drive from our place. This honey of a home has only three bedrooms and five baths but makes up for its lack of sleeping areas with a pool room, indoor ice rink, and outdoor pool.  The interior is impeccably, tastefully appointed in warm colours. Friends and family would be comfortable here.

Perhaps you'd prefer something a little closer to the city, with city-supplied utilities? Take a look at this magnificent $4.25M, 12000 sq. ft estate. Its gorgeously terraced yard with pond and waterfall backs right onto the Grand River. This slice of heaven has four bedrooms, ten bathrooms, a 12-seat theatre, and enclosed pool and spa. You would have no problem keeping yourself and your guests comfortable and entertained here!

Isn't house-shopping fun? :) I love love love these ginormous houses (especially the last one, I think - all that stone appeals to me), but they might be a bit too much house for us. You'd need a team of people to keep it clean and to do the landscaping, and we don't have a team of people. Not to mention a lack of mortgage approval. Of course if anyone just bought me one of these properties, I wouldn't say no.

I was quite surprised to see that there are actually quite a number of properties in the $1-1.5M price range up for sale right now here in Waterloo. There aren't that many of them, but there are definitely of options in that price range which is not what I'd expect for this region. I used to walk by this one on the way to school a few years ago; it's in a nice, mature-treed neighbourhood and is close to the University.

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