Buying another house

It’s official — we have a new house.

Well, not a new house, but a different house than the one we’re currently in, hence new to us. Why a new house?, you may ask. The honest reality is that we can’t stay in this one much longer. Alex is pregnant (if you didn’t already know) and while this house is ideal for a couple, it’s not so good for young children. Especially babes in arms.

So we’re being proactive and finding a new place to call home.

The sad reality, though, is that Calgary has turned into Vancouver — extremely-high priced houses in areas that were previously considered reasonable. The new oil boom has brought up prices over 30% in the last year alone. We bought our house at $333,000. We’re selling it (hopefully) at over half a million. I’m having difficulty with that figure.

And don’t think that we’re greedy — this is what the City of Calgary turned over for an assessment on our house! (The appraisal from the bank is in the same range, too.) I just about had a heart attack when I heard the supposed value. Which is just yet another sign that the pricing in this city is totally gonzo insane.

The problem extends to residential occupancy (there are next to no rental units in this city, and new buildings can’t come up fast enough), office space availability (something like less than a percent, and most of downtown Calgary is being levelled for skyscrapers — witness the end of Hy’s, Penny Lane, the King Eddie, Cowboys, Co-op, and Vietnam Restaurant to name a few), and storage space (we managed to get one of only a few 5’x10′ spaces left in the city).

Two words: In. Sane.

But we have a new house. $452,000. And smaller than the one we have now. Three bedrooms. Also small. A basement we need to literally rip out and replace. Which we actually want. Why? Because we have some big plans:

  • Radiant heat flooring (take out inefficient forced air furnace)
  • Tankless hot water (on-demand means less heat used to constantly reheat water)
  • Skylights (to save on electricity during the day)
  • High-efficiency wood fireplace (Allen and Jean have one that I sadly covet)
  • Custom bathroom with Japanese-style bathtub (I’m working on getting Alex convinced to this idea)
  • Complete fluorescent or halogen lighting (lowered electricity bill)
  • High-efficiency, low water/heat usage appliances (lowered bills again)
  • A proper home theatre (finally!)

Lofty goals. And some of those (namely the first two) need to be done (or at least nearing completion) by the end of August.

‘Cuz by then, I’m going to have something else occupying my attention.

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