Searching for a home (Comstock/Photos.com)

Buyer Diaries

Week 1: House hunters not impressed by what a hefty price tag gets

The Globe and Mail

It has been a week since we launched our Home Buying section, and our Buyer Diaries bloggers are still on the hunt for their dream homes - or at least something decent they can afford.

In Toronto, Carl was taken aback by the cheap wiring on a house with a $1-million asking price. Carl said the first thing he looks at is a home's electrical system, and this house had 100-amp service with only one free slot on the panel.

"That's way too little for a brand new build and, in my own opinion, way too cheap for a million-dollar house," Carl wrote. "I'm left to wonder, if they cut corners on the service panel I can see, what other corners may have been cut?"

Carl was left shaking his head after viewing a $600,000 bungalow he felt would need to be totally gutted.

"Time will tell if they get the $600K+ they are asking. Personally, I can't fathom it, but that doesn't mean that someone out there won't pay it. If this is the thin edge of the wedge then a crazy market just got worse."

In Vancouver, Kristin received a lot of suggestions from readers about the best places to search for a detached house within her $500,000 budget.

By expanding her search a little, Kristin found some detached homes in Squamish and Port Coquitlam for under $500,000 that were better suited to her family's needs. "I’ve appreciated the comments that suggest alternate locations such as Squamish, or even Bowen Island. Having grown up on the island, I know that the 'pace' these places offer is more aligned with our family."

She also looked at plans for a $449,000 1045-square-foot condo to be built beside her current building in Burnaby. "It definitely was not the single-family detached home we dream of, but in Vancouver, we have to be realistic about what we’ll be able to afford," she wrote.

And in Winnipeg, Corey and Angela settled into their rental unit and began their search. They attended several open houses, but could only find one home worth consideration within their $350,000 budget.

"Unfortunately, it didn't give us that 'we have to live here' feeling, so we already don't foresee going above the asking," Corey wrote.

We hope you're enjoying our Buyer Diaries feature and will continue to follow along with our bloggers. Please keep your comments coming.