As I stood in a bookshop in Marylebone, London, I digitally signed the documents on an accepted offer for a 127 year old house in Nova Scotia. I bought a house.
This was, perhaps, a bit unconventional. But since selling my Cape Breton property, I had been on the hunt for somewhere to live that was not my childhood bedroom. The housing market in Nova Scotia had gone a little wacko since COVID, and I’d spent the better part of a year visiting the most atrocious collection of not-affordable-but-closer-than-some houses. Houses that used to be reasonably priced had doubled and tripled in cost, so a ‘budget’ property was now a dive, and anything that wasn’t a dive was no longer budget-friendly.
In the fall of 2022, I attempted to buy an old (and very untidy) house in a cute community. The owner seemed disinterested in selling (despite the large For Sale sign on the front lawn). My realtor showed me a couple of other old houses nearby, and I put a low-ball(ish) offer on one, 127 years old, 3 storeys, that was rejected. No problem. I went off to England.
Several weeks later, my realtor wrote to me and said the deal had fallen through on the old house. Did I want to make another offer?
Sure, why not. My parents went to check it out and make sure it was still standing up, since I was in Oxford and not available to swing by.
This time, my offer was accepted. I signed the papers one evening in a London bookshop, and that was that.
The closing date was some time away, so I had time to come home from England, celebrate Christmas, and sit around for 6 weeks before actually getting to see the major purchase I had made.
The house is old. And big. 3 storeys, five bedrooms, and some very unusual decor choices. But the basement is better than many in old houses I’ve toured, and generally the interior doesn’t need gutting. The outside has been let go a bit, and therefore will need some work once the snow melts. But overall, not awful.
I’ve started some minor changes, and it’s already improving. And, it’s hosted three sets of AirBnB guests already. If you’re coming to Nova Scotia and want an old, character-filled house to stay in, check out the listing here.
So along with the regular travel/book/introvert content, you’ll now get to join me on the adventure of sorting through one hundred years of dust, updating a century home on the cheap, and odd projects inspired by IKEA ads.
You can find more photos and real-time sagas on Instagram: @its_rachelkaroline.