Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spectacular Verdun Victorian

The parlor with its tile-fronted fireplace and the stairs leading to the bedrooms.
Take a look at this spectacular four-bedroom Victorian just listed by Amy Barratt and me. The asking price is $359,000.

UPDATE: The price has been reduced to $349,000.

The vendor has deeds, many of them handwritten in spidery cursive, going back to the late 1880s. This is a rock-solid house with brick walls and a stone foundation. The four real bedrooms on the second floor feature high ceilings and generous proportions.

The reception rooms on the main floor include a large formal parlor with a tile-fronted fireplace, a family room which was probably once the formal dining room, a dinette and kitchen. The main floor also has a water closet (toilet) near the front door, as well as a full laundry room and an open office area near the back door. There's plenty of natural light and it is surprisingly quiet, thanks no doubt to the thick stone walls and the triple-glazed windows.

The house has original woodwork throughout, hot-water radiators, lovely stained glass windows added by the owner, as well as thoughtfully chosen light fixtures that accent the property's vintage character.

Family room and dinette. The laundry room is beyond the stained-glass doors.
The owner is a gifted interior designer and something of a bulldog when it comes to home maintenance and repairs. Over the course of her decade-long tenancy, she has undertaken at least one major improvement a year - furnace, roof, windows and doors, painting, etc. Her most recent investment was an interior french drain and waterproofing of the basement. The basement is more than 6 feet, high and dry. It could be finished, if someone was so inclined.

The property has a small fenced yard which could be also be used for parking, though street parking is not a problem in this part of Verdun. May Ave. is the last street off of Wellington St. before you cross under the viaduct into Point St. Charles. The Maxi grocery store is one short block away. LaSalle metro is about two blocks away. It is a quick 15-20 minutes door to door to get downtown via public transit.

If you look around Verdun, $359,000 is a typical asking price for a two- or three-bedroom post-war cottage. They are cute and cozy but nowhere near as spacious or as grand as this Victorian beauty. This property is priced at a market discount because traffic approaching the Champlain Bridge pass overhead not too far from the building's front. It isn't particularly noisy, but the location isn't going to be for everyone.

Exterior from the corner of May Ave. and Rushbrooke St.
If you are in the market for a lovingly restored Victorian that has both acres of elbow room and impeccable bones, this could be the house for you. Give me a call at (514) 978-6522 to book a visit. You won't regret it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Buying a Fixer Upper

A lovely feature story on my Springland listing in Ville Émard, with tips for those interested in buying a fixer-upper. The printed story had way more photos.
I'm having and open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Do Pets Help or Hurt When it Comes to Real Estate?

The New York Times answers the question in a recent article in its real estate section. 
According to the Times, some Manhattan agents find that the presence of a friendly pooch can help seal the deal on high-end property sales.
I am firmly in the category of people who are nutty about animals. For a while, I took cell phone pictures of every dog or cat I met while visiting properties with my clients. I had dozens of photos clogging up my memory card.
The photo here was taken a few weeks ago while I visited a house in St. Lambert with some out-of-town clients.  The owners of the house were out when we visited but their very exotic ring-tailed Siamese was home. That cat followed us everywhere we went, perched on the counter as we stood around the kitchen weighing the merits of the house. He didn't blink an eye as two excited little girls squealed and patted him.
Oli and Adri, very excited!
My clients have bought the house. Did the cat influence their decision? No, don't be silly! People don't make expensive real estate decisions because of a cat. But did the cat contribute the feeling of home and laid-back comfort they got during the visit? You can count on it.

The pendulum can swing both ways. I once did a series of open houses for a colleague where there was what can only be described as a demon dog in the house. The vendor had been recently widowed and was the sole keeper of a very large, whip-thin, black and orange striped dog with an anvil shaped head. It looked like a pitbull crossed with a greyhound.

 I've seldom been afraid of a dog in my life. This dog scared me.  The woman could not physically  handle it, consequently, the dog didn't get enough exercise. It had pent up energy and pent up energy can easily turn to aggression. The dog jumped up on me, leaving poopy paw prints on my cream-colored woolen pants. It got hold of the scarf around my neck and started playing tug of war as the woman weakly scolded "Get down, Daisy!"

During the open house, the owner went out, but she left her dog in a cage in her bedroom.
It went nuts every time the doorbell rang and then went nuts again whenever visitors innocently wandered into the master bedroom. There was a lot of barking and shrieking and tears at those open houses, only some of them from me.

If ever there was a candidate for a dog least likely to help a real estate transaction to a swift and happy conclusion, that 100 lbs of muscle, sinew and jaws was it.