Doing it despite the fear.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Property hunting, vol. 4


To understand our fascination with this particular place, we have to travel back in time.
36 years back, to be exact.

To December of 1979.
Two things happened that month that are important for this story: A handsome young man boarded an airplane to Vancouver, Canada. He had slept on his friend's couch for the past month after his parents kicked him out for his decision to leave.
600 km away, a baby girl was born, two weeks early but healthy, and, if you believe her mother, "the prettiest baby on the entire ward".

The young man flew to Canada on a grey December day, with few belongings and even less money, but with his head full of dreams: To make it. To find his way in this new world, to make money, friends, live wild and free, and to own a little piece of this magnificent country one day.
He wanted to buy some land, and do what he loved most: Raising animals. The young man loved animals with all his heart.

The baby girl grew and flourished. She was a shy, but happy child, who loved books, her dog, and the fantasy world she lived in most of the time.
What she dreamed of was this: To live in Canada one day, by a lake, with a man who loved her, animals by her side, writing children's books.

The young man (not so young now) and the baby girl (a full-grown woman now) met on a hot August day in 2002.
They fell madly in love. There were many obstacles in their path, but their love persevered, and they were married on a cold, but sunny day in January of 2005.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016.

They had now lived together for over 13 years. The overwhelming majority of these years was very happy.
However, they weren't without their challenges: They had (step-)children to raise. A newly acquired mortgage to pay off. The (formerly baby) girl went back to school for a proper career. Those years were busy, dominated by work, obligations, and money woes.
They were also filled with much love, laughter, great vacations and new additions to their always expanding animal-family.
They were good years.

Then, in the summer of 2016, three things happened that would change their lives.
The property market in their area went absolutely nuts. Houses sold in less than one day, hopeful buyers knocked on unsuspecting people's doors, asking if they might be interested in selling.
They watched in amazement as the places around them went up for unheard sums of money.
They looked at it for a while, until they finally had the same thought: Why not us?
It would solve all their money problems in one fell swoop.
And they could finally realize their long-held dream: To own some tiny (tiny, but bigger than what they had right now) piece of this beautiful country they loved so much, and had made their home.

One of their friends decided to put his place on the market, so they bit the bullet and did something that scared them both: get their very own "For Sale"-sign.
On the day it was put up, they almost changed their minds. It seemed so wrong!
This was their home, their special place, the site of so many happy memories.
But after the initial fear, they got very excited.
They remembered their dreams, and the very real possibility of them becoming a reality in the near future.

They set out property hunting.
At first, they started out small. They owned 5 acres now, so anything above it seemed good. 10-20 acres was the initial goal.
But, after having viewed a few places of that size, they started to dream bigger. After all, 50 or 100 acres more only cost a couple of $100,000 more - and wasn't it worth it?

They looked at a lot of different properties, in a lot of different places.

Nothing was quite right.

Until they met Charlene.*

*name changed

Charlene showed them yet another property they were underwhelmed by: House too big, property too small, it was all wrong. They stood in the massive, way-too-oversized basement, discouraged, when Charlene looked at them quizzically for a moment, and then dropped her bombshell: "I have the perfect place for you: 160 acres. Spectacular view. Close to town, yet remote. More water than you know what to do with. Small(ish) house."

She had covered everything they were looking for. Excitedly, they arranged for a viewing of that magical place.
Sadly, it turned out to be six days away. However, they couldn't help but sneak a peek before, just from the outside.
They went there.
And they went crazy. 

It was love at first sight. The view! The location! Even the (eccentric) neighbours!
It all seemed meant to be.
Fate.
Kismet.
This was their destiny.


A (long, very long) six days later, they eagerly came back.
The view was as stunning as they remembered. The property was amazing.
The house was - okay, but with some renovations needed.
Then came the price.

And that was the rude awakening.
They had know that it was roughly $300,000 above their limit. They had tried to ignore the deafening warning bells by reassuring themselves that it was "an investment". The neighbour would supply an immediate income by having his herd of cows graze on their land. They might be able to get it for cheaper.
They tried to rationalize it.
But in the end, they had to admit the truth: It was too expensive. Not only did they not need it, they couldn't afford it.

And that's the sad, yet simple truth of the dream place that wasn't meant to be.

They were disappointed, of course. Was their dream destroyed?
After a few days of licking their wounds, they realized that, of course, it wasn't.
Canada was a huge country. There were many more pieces of land available for sale.

One of them would be for them.

The search continues.
And they won't rest until they have found their place.





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