Monday, June 4, 2012

The NEST: Nesting for REAL.


One minute, I had agreed to finally look at some of the houses for sale that Brian has been scoping out online for months. Next minute, I found myself standing in the middle of an open house with my mother teaching me how to evaluate the hardwood floors. 

It's logical, I suppose, that we have started looking for a home. Though honestly, when we started the NEST last year, I thought we would mostly be talking about frugal ways to dress up our rented apartment. Perhaps it was the twin batfiasco that finally got me looking at the housing listings. Maybe it was the roaring highway noise that makes it impossible to sleep as I am constantly wakened by speeders zipping by just 20 yards to the south of us. Maybe it was the two times the furnace went out in February and my landlord was MIA, or maybe it was the three times I blew I fuse and had to wait hours for the kids downstairs to come home and flip the switch in the basement. 

Whatever the final straw was, I find myself yearning for a nest...a real nest, one where I can flip my own breaker, call my own bat catcher, or burn a pile of magazines to keep warm if need be.


Housing in Ottawa is stupidly expensive. This is causing us some extra challenges as we can only afford the very, very cheapest homes in town. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that my dad heard our plan and budget, and very seriously told Brian that it was time he taught me karate. I worked in social services for ten years, so I'm familiar with these neighborhoods we're visiting. In fact, I may know some of our future neighbors by name. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though: perhaps years ago I provided them with granola bars and sleeping bags, and perhaps that good will means we'll have some street cred in the 'hood.

Goodbye to the bells that I hear every morning
...when the highway quiets down.


We’ll be saying goodbye to my precious Westboro-Hintonburg area, that’s for sure. When I scan the sales listings in this area, nothing pops up even at $50,000 more than we’re able to afford. Well, not true: if we were willing to move into an apartment-style condo, we could stay; but I am tired of hearing parties through my floor and fights through my ceiling. Yes, the garden homes we’re looking at still come with neighbours, but I’m hopeful we’ll find an end unit attached to a quiet old widower whose hobbies include crossword puzzles and checkers.

Tonight we meet with a real estate agent. We’re excited for the help, as scanning the listings is maddening and you always find yourself looking at something beautiful but way outside your price range. (God, it’s wedding gown shopping all over again.) We have a list of wants/wishes, and a list of musts/needs. We are sticking to a very rigid budget so that once Brian finishes school and gets out there into the employed world, we’ll be able to build up a savings and maybe even travel.

And of course, there’s the karate lessons, starting this week.


  1. I highly recommend looking in the Carlington area - close to Westborough/Hintonburg but MUCH more affordable - it's where we bought after renting for YEARS in Little Italy - would love to live in a trendier / lively-er neighbourhood but this is a nice one which has really grown on us!

  2. Thanks, Sarah. We will definitely check it out! Just gotta find it on a map...

  3. I would also love to purchase a house. I will follow your journey and follow your tips :) Good luck...Things always come together.

    1. We think we found one, come live near us in Barrhaven!

  4. After 6 months of searching.... we decided to wait another year. We don't want to move to the suburbs yet.... and well... as you said. Unless you want to put your foot through the floor or inherit some lovely plants.. there ain't much out there under $500,000

  5. I hear ya, Heather. Who is buying all these overpriced houses?! Soon Ottawa will have scared away all the young couples and there will be nothing but Monopoly men here running around in top hats, mowing their overpriced lawns.