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by Pamela Blalock and John Bayley

We were quite taken with Nelson. It's has a fairly compact Central Business District, with lots of cafés, three bike shops and numerous other outdoor shops. After a bit of research, we even uncovered a few computer businesses, so there might even be a hope of a job. We picked up the local real estate listings, and had trouble figuring out if we could afford to live here or not, since most houses were sold at auction or by tender. Very few had prices. So we stopped in to see a Realtor to try and get a better feel. It turns out the market is so hot here right now, that most folks don't set a fixed price on a house, but Realtors can give some guesses of ranges, so we started to get a feel. The other side affect of the hot market was that realty offices don't work together like in the States, with multiple listings. Within an office, they will show other agents properties, but they won't show you another agency's property. So we made appointments with 4 different Realtors. This did seem short-sighted in that an agent might spend days showing us houses, but if we see a house we like that just happens to be listed by the competition, they lose out. Of well, they seem happy with the set-up, so we met with several agents. In retrospect, we probably jumped the gun, but after seeing several houses that had no appeal, we stepped into one that just spoke to us. I was quite surprised that John, who normally takes much longer to make decisions was ready to go for it. We'd heard lots of stories about the hot market, and how folks lost their dream house by hesitating...

And given that we were already in that mode of just doing things, like picking up and moving to another country and all, we decided to go for it. We were feeling some pressure to find a home for the cats - they'd be out of quarantine soon, and probably wouldn't take to being stuffed in a pannier and carried around by bike. After we put in the offer, we still had an appointment with another agent. We hadn't heard if the offer was accepted, and things could still fall through, so we looked at a dozen more houses. And I must say those houses did more to convince me we made a good choice. We hated everything else we saw.

Our offer was accepted. The inspection went well. We learned a few of the idiosyncrasies of the place, and that the roof would likely need to be replaced, but all in all, it was pretty good. The owners were moving out immediately - and we could have the place in 10 days!

So we in the meantime decided to head out to the west coast, or wet coast according to most in the know....