A Year in Our House

So it has been basically a year since we moved into this house and while it wasn’t the year we expected when we started the process of buying the house, I definitely can’t complain. Living here during Covid has been great.

It’s mostly little things like having our own entrance, controlling the number of people and potential Covid vectors in our lives, and having some private green space have all made this whole pandemic more bearable.

Being that it is semi-detached has probably been the hardest part. We don’t hear the neighbors often, but when we do, it gives us those “apartment-living” chills where our space doesn’t totally feel like our own. We haven’t cultivated much of a relationship with our neighbors yet, partly because of Covid, and partly because I’m not a super outgoing/social person. The attached neighbor is very keen to maintain the small patch of front-yard we share, so that’s nice.

Maintenance, Repairs, Changes

Annie and my mom planted a small garden out front this year, which really made things look great! Other than that, we haven’t done much to the house so far, mostly due to lack of money, but we also made sure to buy a place that was already in pretty good condition so we wouldn’t have to spend a ton in the first year. We had someone come in and do a check and maintenance to the furnace and air conditioning units, and both are in good repair. We will probably need to replace the central air conditioner unit before too long though, as it is getting near the end of it’s efficient lifespan.

We have a deck in our backyard that eventually needs to be removed as it is a home for all kinds of neighborhood critters like bunnies, a groundhog and more… It also is in a weird place and shape in our backyard, so we will probably replace it with some nice stonework next year or the year after.

One thing I am hoping we will find some money and time for before the winter is to fix or replace the banisters going up our front steps as they aren’t as safe as I’d like them to be and we also need to fix the way the steps look as the exterior coating has chipped away due to salt and ice and water ruining the finish. I don’t think it necessarily reduces safety, but I’m concerned it could cause the steps to age quickly and become unsafe.

We did have one issue with some water. The drain hose for the dishwasher became disconnected and flooded the under-sink area with water that started leaking into the basement a little. We caught it very early and were able to dry and remediate the damage. So far, no mold or moisture problem outside of that. It was one of those moments where I think Annie and I both thought, “why did we do this to ourselves?” We were so used to these being other people’s problems if they happened.

Our neighbor replaced their shingles this year, which made a big mess in our front and back yard. The company they hired, Elite Contracting, didn’t do anything to maintain a clean site, but what can you do? We didn’t even know they were going to get their roof done until we started hearing strange noises above us. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like any damage or anything was done to our side of the roof, but we continue to have different coloured shingles and that will always look weird to me.

Good Stuff

This house seems to work perfectly for the three of us adults and our two dogs. The backyard is big enough to be enjoyed, but not so big we can’t maintain it, and the house is comfortable for all of us and feels like it can expand to fit half a dozen more when we can have visitors. Having three full bathrooms goes a long way in making it easy to have many house guests.

The train noise isn’t so bad. The trains don’t typically use their horns near here as all of the crossings in Kingston proper now have bridges so the trains can pass through easily. Sometimes, when outside, it does get a bit annoying to hear the trains, but during the summer, when the trees are full, most of the noise is dampened anyways.

My mom has setup a craft and painting area downstairs near her workstation, and that has been used more than a few times to do paint pours, paint models that I’ve 3D printed, or to work on other crafts.

I got my first barbeque this summer. I don’t think I’ve ever owned one before, and there’s a bit of a learning curve because I went with a Weber charcoal kettle rather than a propane grill or sticking to my original plan of getting a pellet smoker, but I am enjoying the process and have already produced some edible food!

And Now?

The current housing market in Kingston continues to be crazy, and if we hadn’t bought when we did, we would have been nearly priced out of the local market. If local comparable sales are any indication, our house has likely appreciated in value by as much as one hundred thousand dollars over the past year and a half since we put in our offer, which just seems stupid to me.

It looks like the same kind of increases in pricing is happening even at the edges of Kingston, where there used to be less expensive options, but today for homes with three bedrooms or more and one and a half bathrooms or more, there are only eight options in the greater Kingston area under $350,000 and only one of them is a fully detached home.

I can’t say that this is our forever home as we’d certainly like to have all of our walls be completely our own, but I am super happy with this place and hope to continue to be happy for years to come, or at least until we can afford something better for us…

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