The Find

As we drove around for house showings, we came across a few places with ‘for sale by owner’ signs posted at the end of the driveways.  On one occasion, while driving around with our realtor/bro-in-law, we stopped at such a sign and bro-in-law called.  The woman on the other end was hesitant to give info but said that their listing was up on craigslist, complete with asking price and photos.  All we had to do was put  ‘courtenay acreage’ in the search field.  I had never thought of looking for a house on craigslist and so a new search began.

We found about 10 acreages listed there with widely varying descriptions and information.  We entered addresses into the GPS and did drive-bys of most of them.  By this time, it was late in the day and we had to start making our way back to the ferry so we didn’t have time to call or follow-up with any of the craigslist homes we had seen.

That week, I wrote email inquiries to two of those listings.  One of them never responded (your loss, Ledingham!) but the other replied quickly and gave a good amount of information.  Here is the craigslist entry:

This property is quiet, peaceful and close to town. Zoning allows for two houses. Septic system already built for second house. Property is cleared with just the right mix of towering fir and maple trees remaining. The house is 2 years old, 2700 sq ft, 2 story, 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 5 stainless steel appliances, heated floors, wood stove, heat pump, Hardi Plank siding and black metal roof. The shop is 18ft x 30ft with 14ft high walls and was originally used as our residence during construction of the house. The shop has its own 200 amp service, is insulated, has a 3 piece bathroom, wood stove, washer/dryer hook up and sink. This house and property is ideal for a small hobby farm, horses or for an extended family wanting to build a second house.

When I further inquired about seeing some photos of the interior, he was able to send some that had obviously been taken by a real estate photographer.  We set up an appointment for our next trip over and left it at that.

HELLICAR!  View from the road. The lot has been over-cleared and the house is very exposed. As you can see, the ground is really wet and has drainage issues but the photo was taken in early February.

HELLICAR!  From the road, the house was a large sage-green box, sitting out on a mostly cleared 5 acre lot.  Although it sat well-back on the property, it was exposed to the road – at least it was a dead-end road.  There was a lot of big equipment and machinery around the place.  But the interior, from the photos, was what piqued our interest.  The rooms seemed large and airy.  The finishing colours and details showed that there was no need to do work on the interior.  The kitchen was enormous with wall ovens, lots of counter space and part of a great room.

2 weeks later, we went to see it.  Mike, the owner, gave us about 2 hours of his time with a complete tour of the property and the house.  He explained that he had cleared the lot and built the home himself.  He built it for his family and used the best materials available because they planned on living there permanently.  Unfortunately, through the course of building it, his marriage fell on hard times and his wife left the scene.  (although I don’t know how long I would have lasted, living in the workshop with 2 small kids while it was built).  A big feature of the property is the pond.  Mike used his excavator to dig out a marshy area and create a pond, which takes up about 1 acre.

FM and I were both really excited about the house, knowing right away that we had found our new home.  We called his brother/our realtor and asked him to fly over the next day to look at it with his unbiased construction/real estate eye.  To celebrate, FM and I went to Local’s Restaurant for a fabulous multi-course meal.  The next day, we got to roam the property again, looking more carefully at details and listening to our realtor’s feedback.  Mike was there to field questions about the well, the septic system, the pond and everything else we inquired about.  When we left, we let him know that we would be in touch shortly with an offer.  Two days later, the papers were signed and we had 6 weeks until possession.  Just like that.  I’ve spent longer deciding on a pair of jeans.

View of the front door and wrap-around deck. The driveway to the road is off to the right of the photo

View from the back fence, looking towards the road. The 1 acre pond is a big part of what attracted us to this place.

Kitchen – view #1

Kitchen view #2 The windows overlook the pond. We’ll be sipping morning coffees in this room.

Bathroom – All the counters in the kitchen and bathrooms are formed concrete. Pretty slick-looking!

Ensuite bathroom has 2 shower heads! and heated tile floors.

Crawl space is about 4 ft high and bone dry.

Mudroom – a big space to be messy with practical slate tile flooring

Outbuildings – The foreground building is a garden shed and the rest are wood storage and big tool garage bays.  The excavator in the distance wasn’t part of the sale.