Strike throws wrench in home hunt - Metro US

Strike throws wrench in home hunt

In a classic first-timer’s move (or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself), I recently got into and out of a condo purchase all in the span of a week.

Flipping through the Saturday morning paper one weekend I spotted an ad that piqued my interest.

It touted a brand new loft conversion in a lovely neighbourhood on the subway line where I’d always dreamed of living.

“Move in August 2009!” it stated.

Before I knew it, my mom and I were off to explore this great opportunity.

Just as I had imagined, it was a beautiful old building with the original brickwork and detailing on the outside and all the modern finishes on the inside.

With only about half the units sold and all sitting built, decorated and waiting to be lived in, I was like a kid in a candy shop seduced by the shiny newness of it all.

Within an hour I’d picked the unit I wanted — which was a little on the small side at only 555 square feet, and didn’t have a door on the bedroom — but the price was good and imagine how cool I’d be in my new digs!

We went through the whole process including signing on the dotted line and handing over several thousand dollars in a personal cheques.

But somewhere near the end of the deal, while I scribbled my last sets of initials, the salesman dropped the bomb: The closing date, slated for the end of August, may be pushed back because of a zoning issue waiting to be “rubber stamped” by City Hall.

Essentially, the developers were still waiting for the property to be approved for residential use.

At first it seemed a minor issue because Mr. Salesman mentioned it so nonchalantly near the end of the transaction.

He assured me the approval was all but complete when the city strike threw a wrench into the timeline.

If anything, he said, closing will be pushed to early September.

As I began telling friends and family about my exciting new purchase, the red flags started to fly.

“That’s weird,” a few people said as I tried to remain positive about the predicament I’d gotten myself into.

“Why would they sell the units if it’s not even approved for residential use yet?” my boyfriend asked.

Good point.

I spent the next week utterly stressed but determined to live in my lovely new loft — even though, as I mentioned somewhere near the beginning of my house hunt, I’m not even a fan of lofts.

Fortunately, when you buy new, there’s a statutory 10-day “cooling off” time called a recission period that allows buyers to re-evaluate their purchase.

During my 10 days, I contacted a lawyer who went through the purchase agreement and warned me the vendor could extend the closing date up to three months.

This would mean not getting into my shiny new loft until just before Christmas.

After some good hard thinking I decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

“So you’ve given in to your conservative side,” the salesman teased annoyingly when I called to back out of my purchase.

He continued trying to sell me on it saying that at most, I’d only have to wait three additional months and when I’ve finally got this great space to live, I wouldn’t even remember the wait.

I suppose, I thought, and I’m sure someday it will be a beautiful home for some lucky people someday, but with the pace of City Hall even at the best of times, who knows when that day will be. I decided I’d leave the excitement to someone else and keep searching.

– Metro reporter Robyn Young will be taking readers on a whirlwind tour
of the trials and tribulations of buying her first home. Check back
every week for her accounts.

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