From Where I Sit – Real Estate Reality

Over the last few days, I was sucked into the vortex called “Edmonton ‘s Hot Real Estate Market.” No, I’m not leaving the ol’ homestead with its peace, quiet and tranquility for the bright lights and excitement of Alberta’s capital city.

Blame my daughter Hilary. Just like it occurred with her brother, it seems every August we move the kid from one apartment to another. First-born Greg had his apartment within walking distance of NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology), as it was previously hand picked by his mama. I was thrilled with the old Ukrainian landlady with pink rollers in her hair polishing the lobby. She assured me that the apartment block was not a party place. Needless to say, Greg was gone like a bat-out-of-hell when the lease was up for renewal. Instead, he chose a west facing, third floor sweatbox on a main thoroughfare. Previously dragging all your possessions up three flights of stairs must’ve worn him out. When he moved a year later, he left a sofa behind for Salvation Army. Okay, the upholstery was ugly, but hey, it belonged to his grandparents.

Since leaving home, Hilary has moved from Greg and Carrie’s house to a basement suite off of Whyte Avenue and then to a condo shared with a cousin and owned by her grandparents. With August here, it would seem the annual move is likely on again.

Last weekend, she viewed several condo/townhouses with the view to buying a property. I saw the three properties that made the cut. Ruled out were the ones in sketchy neighbourhoods or very old or priced over $200,000. Yes, prices are sky-high. Yes, the more desirable locations offer less square footage for way more money. Yes, most places are getting multiple offers and selling within hours or days of being listed. Yes, she needs our help with a down payment.

About 9:30 on Monday night, she/we were alternately thrilled/scared shitless to have her offer on a property accepted, subject to financing and reviewing condo documents. It’s a 940 square foot, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathes, second floor condo built in 2004. It’s a stone’s throw to the LRT (Light Rail Transit) station, 15 minutes by car to her job at the Stollery, and very close to downtown. The condo is ready for move-in with virtually no decorating having been done by the current father and son owners. Something tells me I’m going to be painting and otherwise feminizing this space.

While this is hardly a done-deal, we’ve had our little talk with the banker, and have begun supplying the necessary documents. Scraping together a 25 percent down payment is as harrowing as you can imagine. Needless to say, a roommate is also part and parcel of the plan for making this work.

If everything proceeds according to plan, the conditions will be lifted, the condo will be vacated before August 31, and we’ll be moving the kid yet again.

It’s an exciting time, but sobering as well. For 21-year-old Hilary, this is a huge, long-term financial commitment to the property and the city. As parents, we hope property values continue to appreciate and that roommates will work out. We know Hilary has the maturity and smarts to pull this off. Let us hope that our bodies can survive another move, from where I sit.

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