If you’re a young couple looking to purchase your first home, the local real estate market is a tough one to crack.
With good starter homes costing in excess of $250,000 — and other factors such as the government-imposed stress test, which has reduced borrowing allowances — it’s becoming increasingly difficult to join the ranks of first-time homebuyers.
That said, there are options out there. Granted, some of those options — such as apartment-style condominiums — might not necessarily rank as a young couple’s second (or even third) choice. Nevertheless, they are an option that can provide three things: entry into the real estate market, a solid (even stylish) place to call home — and, most importantly, equity.
Royal LePage Top Producers’ Michael Leclerc says he recently listed a great option in the form of a two-bedroom, 880-sq.-ft. condominium at 494 Beliveau Rd. East in St. Vital. "This is an end unit that was completely renovated in 2009," he says. "It’s exceptional in the sense that it’s in immaculate condition. Even though the unit was remodelled eight years ago, it’s still in like-new condition throughout."
Not only is the suite neat as a pin, its floor plan is superb, featuring an L-shaped dining room/living room and eye-catching galley kitchen in the main living area.
"The thing to note about the suite is that it’s an end unit. That means that, unlike interior units, it has an extra window next to the dining room that allows extra sunlight to flow into the dining room, kitchen and living room. The extra sunlight makes the suite very bright, and livable."
So too does the suite’s layout. Much like a traditional single-family home, the dining room is positioned next to the kitchen, making it perfectly positioned for entertaining. It’s also approximately eight feet by eight feet in size, which allows for placement of a table that seats six (or more) — with plenty of space left over to move around the table without feeling boxed in.
The dining room then flows seamlessly into a spacious living room with patio door on its rear wall. "It does two things," Leclerc says. "First, its southeast exposure allows all kinds of natural light to flow inside. Second, it provides access to a covered, 12-foot by-eight-foot balcony that’s perfect for a late-day barbecue with guests. The living room itself is huge at nearly 15 by 14.5 ft. In this case, the owners have a large sectional couch in it and there’s still tons of room to move between it and the TV on the opposite wall."
Meanwhile, the kitchen opens nicely on to the living room courtesy of a cut-out on its rear wall. "It’s an excellent, well-designed working space with breakfast bar for two off the living room — a great feature," he says. "Finishes are tasteful and modern, with white (textured) thermofoil cabinets (tons of them), white tile backsplash, grey laminate countertops, (faux tile) taupe vinyl floor and four newer stainless Whirlpool appliances."
The suite’s generous square footage really comes into play — in a very efficient (and stylish) way in the bedroom wing. Both bedrooms are a very good size, with the bedroom coming in at 10.6 by 9.2 ft.; the master suite is also generously proportioned at 12.7 by 11 ft.
A huge window allows tons of natural light to enter, while there’s ample space for a bed, dresser and end tables. Then, there’s its walk-in closet, says Leclerc. "If you’re looking for a bit of luxury, there it is — a massive, two-part closet with clothes racks and shelving on either side, a niche for a stackable (Whirlpool) washer and dryer, plus another nook at the end that can has space enough to hold more built-in shelving, even an armoire. It’s a space that provides all kinds of function."
Additional function — with a welcome touch of luxury thrown in — can be found in the remodelled main bath across the way. "It features a deep soaker tub set in a white/grey tile surround, white thermofoil vanity with raised white ceramic bowl sink on a grey laminate countertop and like-new (faux tile) vinyl floor. It’s a beautiful space."
The unit’s location is also excellent, adds Leclerc. "You’re on a quiet, dead-end street (across from Marlene Street Park) that’s close to schools, shopping centres, playgrounds and a community centre. It’s a turnkey unit that comes with improvements such as flooring (carpet, vinyl), newer cabinets, newer windows, newer doors and newer plumbing and electrical. The suite is immaculate and affordable, with low utilities, condo fees and taxes. It’s a great spot for a young couple to put down roots, and start building equity."
Location: 316-494 Beliveau Rd. East
Year Built: 1970
Style: Apartment-style condominium
Size: 880 sq. ft.
Condominium Fees: $240/month
Contact: Michael Leclerc or Sharan Tappia, Royal LePage Top Producers, 204-989-6900