Buying real estate in Nova Scotia is like going to a bargain sale. The same property in Ontario would cost at least twice as much. As far as Alberta goes, you wouldn’t want to know!
After putting in our offer on the store, we began negotiations on a house on Hollow Mountain Road. The house was nine kilometers from the store. It was by Nova Scotia standards a relatively new house (Nova Scotia has some very old houses) at only 24 years old. A roomy house with two bedrooms and a bath upstairs, master bedroom and main bath with kitchen/dining room and living room/den on main level, then a full unfinished basement – all on nearly two acres. It was a perfect spot for the pets as the road was not all that busy, and the neighbour was a safe distance away. A similar house in Ontario would have gone on the market at $130,000 or more. Here in Nova Scotia, the asking price was $67,000!
Although Nova Scotia is stricter about some things than what we were used to in Ontario, when it comes to building codes, they are not quite as rigid. The store in Hillsburn, for example, was basically a small takeout building that had been moved years before from its original site to the 3931 Shore Road address then built onto in stages. The last section was the rear part, which had been used as an apartment.
Fortunately the Hollow Mountain house seemed to have been built soundly. It came equipped with a drilled well and septic. As part of our offer, we asked that the sellers provide proof of insurability. The insurance company that came out to complete the estimate insisted that they replace a perfectly good relatively new steel fuel oil tank with a brand new fibreglass one, which they did do, even though it seemed unnecessary.
The house turned out to be everything we needed at the time. We were able to move right in without doing anything. We put siding on the shed and installed a new deck over time.
In the fall of 2012, as we were looking at different properties from which to start a new business, we stumbled upon 440 Purdy Road, Deep Brook. A 1-1/2 storey house with two-car garage and small barn on 7-1/2 acres. Asking price: $30,000.
We couldn’t believe it. Even the most humble agricultural property in Ontario would sell for 2-3 times as much as that. We’d sold our 2-acre lot on County Road 46 in Lyn for $25,000 a few years back.
The house was listed as a handyman’s special. It was older, needed some work, especially in one room that someone had started to gut. The upstairs was in good shape, though, and the house was fairly roomy. The two-car garage and barn were in need of upgrading, but that was to be expected for the price.
Ian purchased the Purdy Road property in January 2013. Our plan was to turn it into a country farm with live pets after Fundy’s Mountain sold as we both missed working directly with animals. And there were no retail pet stores that sold actual pets around. The closest one was in New Minas, more than an hour’s drive away.
So at that point, we owned three Nova Scotia properties – all mortgage-free!