Real Estate Envy.

I have real estate envy, after reading Heather and Shannen's last posts. I confess to being a bit of a real estate junkie...or as much of a junkie as I can be when I'm kind of blockaded from buying in Canada. Like Shan, I get a moving "itch" occasionally. Or maybe it's just a buying itch, since I actually hate moving.

I'm a daily MLS scanner. It's almost scary that I know as much as I do about what's for sale in Victoria at any given time, what it's listed for and how long it's been listed. I didn't realize just how bad it had gotten until I was home last October and driving down streets recognizing signs and thinking "...listed in August...$469K...unfinished basement" or "...backs on park...2 bedrooms plus den...original owner..." or, the most common thought: "...this house used to be a dump".

A lot of houses in Victoria used to be dumps. Certain older (awesome) areas used to look a lot seedier than they do now, with a lot of huge, old houses falling into disrepair, and none of this was that long ago. Having always had a bit of an *ahem* passion for old buildings and the preservation of Victoria's heritage homes (even the ones without the actual designation), I always found this sad, even as a little kid.

In the last decade or so, the situation in these older areas has changed drastically. Realizing that they were sitting on potential gold mines, the owners either subdivided the houses themselves or sold them to someone who would, breaking the property into 3, 4, 5, even 6 units and selling them off as condominiums. Brilliant. Not only were these old houses given amazing facelifts, but suddenly the income necessary to keep the roof on the house and the paint from chipping away was coming in the form of condo fees.

I have three "favorite" houses in the Fairfield/James Bay area and all three, having formerly been in pretty bad shape, are now gorgeously refinished condo conversions. It's nice to see them being taken care of, kept up beautifully, and enjoyed as they deserve to be. It's also nice to see them saved from demolition and replaced by towers, etc. that look totally out of place in these older areas. The downside is that they're in high demand and often head into bidding wars between potential owners. Still, I think they're probably worth the fight and would happily duke it out for one if Kurt and I ever decided to return to Victoria. What can I say? I like a place with some character, and they really are in the best parts of town. Totally unbiased point of view, of course.

Fingers are crossed for Heather and James today! Best of luck, you two. :-)


Heather said...

Yahoo to now owning a character conversion!

Katie said...

I know and LOVE the house in the picture. I drive by it and pretend it's mine.

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