Have you been following the trials and tribulations of our resident newlywed Kellye Macmillan? Each month she shares her laugh-out-loud conundrums on navigating her quest for domestic bliss a deux. Including this month, where she shares her challenges on finding a place for
two, er, four!
Whether you're a first time buyer new to the process, or someone who has already jumped through the real estate hoops, most every buyer has one 'must-have' which becomes both their real estate 'deal-breaker' and a housing search curse. In my own case as I embark on finding the right home for our domestic bliss, I must admit our pets are dictating our home search.
Allow me to give you some context; my wonderful, patient husband’s wedding vows should have stated “I, Iain, take you Kellye, Howard and George…” I adopted these two tabby fur balls from Toronto Cat Rescue in 2010. They’re hilarious, spoiled and just a wee bit overweight. Have no fear, the extra-large one (Howard, below) has a dietician and we’re trying to get more exercise into his day (I’ve never written a more Dual-Income-No-Kids sentence in my entire life). I never anticipated the impact these adorably frustrating felines could have on our current living situation let alone our future home buying decision.
We learned who is really in charge early in the search for our current home. In other words, Iain quickly realized he may be committing his life to a potential crazy cat person. This became glaringly apparent when I was insistent on finding a place with two front doors e.g. the door going into the home does not lead directly outside. Hear me out: George (small[er] cat – they’re both huge so it’s all relative) was still a bit of an arrogant teen-cat at the time and loved to dart out the front door. George thinks he’s a super tough city cat but I don’t have the heart to tell him he would lose a fight to a squirrel let alone stand a chance against the raccoon mafia that rules Trinity Bellwoods. Amazingly, my future husband indulged this slightly odd request most likely because he doesn’t want to have to deal with me if George escapes.
Iain has accepted his fate and is okay with the fact that I would adopt ALL THE KITTENS if it was socially acceptable and I was less concerned with hygiene. Unfortunately, like many downtown dwellers, we have compromised size in our current home to live in our favourite neighbourhood. The open concept living room/kitchen space in our circa-1900 Queen West, end of row townhome is approximately 12 ft wide – typical for the area but continually surprising to my suburban American family (curse you and your massive lot size!). The part of my brain that goes “Squee!” when it sees something fluffy really wants to rescue more cats. On the other hand, the area of my brain responsible for spatial reasoning wants to have me committed. If we’re set on living in the city then we have reached our maximum pet capacity.
As I’ve mentioned, we’re still sorting out what our next step will be. A condo is still a definite possibility but two or three pets can put a wrench in that plan. Condominium boards frequently include a clause in their Rules and Regulations that limit either the size and/or the number of pets allowed by the residents. Pet owners need to be aware of the rules prior to purchasing a suite to avoid a nasty surprise on move in day. In the battle between the cats and the condo board, I’m going to side with the cats so we need to plan accordingly.
The kitties also add an interesting element to considering a floor plan. Two words: litter boxes. We need a dedicated space to store the litter boxes – a seemingly minor issue for laymen but an extraordinarily important requirement for cat owners. Honestly, it’s one of the first things I look for when I’m considering a home for us. I’ll admit it is one of the weirdest deal breakers I have ever encountered as a real estate professional (and it’s my own!). This one teeny element has caused us to rule out a lot of floor plans and limited our search. It’s one of many reasons pushing us towards a freehold townhouse.
So what does this all really mean? First, Howard and George are totally running this show and I’m okay with it. Second, I would be a real pain in the bum as a client. Realizing this has made me a better realtor because everyone has their quirks. It’s not for me to judge the often surprising needs of my clients however I am responsible for helping them find a space that suits their lives (and apparently the lives of their furry companions!). Finally, my husband is a gem and I have no idea why he puts up with me.
~ Kellye The Newlywed
Are you a first time buyer seeking some guidance? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more of her amazing insights.
She would love to hear from you!
Did you enjoy this? Consider reading Kellye's previous installment called "Marriage 101:Love Me, Love My Owl Lamp - The “Do’s and Don’ts” of Decorating Together"
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
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