Parallelogram: Finding a House

\One ex-pat experience explored from two points-of-view\


Lisa \Montreal\

What type of home did you hope for?
My top priority was to find a house with a short commute for Kris, my husband, but otherwise I wanted three bedrooms, a space for play, modern style, and under 1600 sq ft.

What type of home did you secure? 

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.05.45 PM

A first/second floor, 1500 sq ft, three bedroom flat in Le Plateau neighborhood.

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.04.15 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.04.32 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.04.47 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.04.56 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.05.06 PM Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 10.05.28 PM _MG_0575

Did you rent or buy?  Why?
Rent.  There are no restrictions or fees for a US citizens to purchase a home in Canada (NAFTA?  I have a feeling I’m going to toss that out a lot.) but we opted to rent mainly because Kris can turn a higher profit on our investment capital in the stock market than in real estate.  If this reads as me being uninvolved in that decision, there’s a good reason.

How did you find your home?

Real estate, real estate, real estate … broker.  Jess at Abbey and Olivier found our apartment.  As part of our relocation package we made two trips to Montreal to both get acquainted with the city and house-hunt.  We saw our apartment on the first trip.  It was the third one viewed and that’s all we needed.  We returned anyway and saw a couple more places but signed this lease as soon as the papers were drawn.  We were lucky – three bedrooms were very rare at our price point and technically it is a sunroom in which Farrah Star sleeps, but it works well for us.

What about your home is going to be a challenge?

  • The lack of a mudroom.  Four people + Montreal = one megaton of winter outerwear.
  • Keeping my toddler off the spiral staircase.
  • Not being able to paint or wallpaper.  Worrying about every nail I drive into the wall.
  • Two-and-a-half bathrooms to clean.  That’s at least a-half too many given the 1500 sq ft size.
  • Security.  Ground floor apartment with vulnerable alley access.

What do you like most about your home?

  • It’s so fucking pretty.
  • The space as a whole works perfectly with our lifestyle and belongings.  Kids bedrooms upstairs (safe), master downstairs and tucked away (quiet).
  • One word: playroom.
  • Another word: garage.
  • Two more!  ROOF TERRACE

Laura \Mayaguez\

What type of home did you hope for?

1) A kitchen close to the back yard where I could see the kids outside while I cooked.  2) A pool that was safe (it’s so freakin hot). 3) Not a cage (see samples)IMG_9218

What type of home did you secure? 

AN ORANGE ONE!  bwa-haha.  No really, I sent my hubby and my spanish-speaking Dad here last June to scope out places. They found one in a gated community with a community pool, workout room, and playground. The name of the community translates to “Paradise”! We’re on a dead-end street so there is not a lot of traffic, and there’s a huge back patio where the kiddos can play out of the glaring sun.


I think this side of the island is generally pretty safe.  But nonetheless, I’ve been told our guard at the entrance is armed.  okay…..

half of the L shaped walled in yard

half of the L shaped walled in yard


take during the initial tour,

take during the initial tour,

Did you rent or buy?  Why?

Rent. It was easier to go that route with such a short amount of time to look. And, in 11 years of marriage we’ve never owned a house so I’m used to renting. It’s a bonus that the landlord recommended the people he uses to clean the house and take care of the lawn.  score.

How did you find your home?

Realtor.  We emailed/called at least 5 realtors because that’s how you do it in PR. They don’t seem to all have the same listings to show you.  So it’s all about word of mouth.  This house wasn’t even for rent, it was for sale.  The landlord is a relative of the realtor!

What about your home is going to be a challenge?

Tile floors.  EVERYWHERE. Even the driveway. Like, the kind that breaks glass with one little drop. (or your iphone!) or cracks a kid’s head open.  jeez.  I’m not paranoid.

Also, the light switches are a little higher than my shoulder.  How’s a preschooler supposed to reach that?

No dishwasher. No garbage disposal.  I’m a wimp, yes.

What do you like most about your home?

It feels like a sanctuary. The patio is essentially where we are going to live. I can envision really loving it here. I hope the neighbors are friendly.

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4 Responses to Parallelogram: Finding a House

  1. Jean Truesdale says:

    I like the contrast between the two homes. So appropriate for Lisa’s to have lots of big windows to let in the light as much as possible what with long winters in Canada. And, so appropriate for Laura’s house to feel a bit cavelike with small windows, but then be so open and shady to enjoy the out of doors. As Lisa’s family heads into winter, with snow to light up the landscape (hopefully), Laura’s family will find cooler temperatures and ocean breezes making winter drier, a bit cooler (hopefully), and more pleasant. Look for this shift to start in November.

  2. Lisa Bagchi says:

    This is so exciting. Look at different our homes are! So glad you found what you wanted (and it looks amazing, I’m already envisioning our visit.) and I hear about re: disposal.

  3. Dawn Gosseck says:

    I’m so happy for you! Thanks for sharing your pics and adventures with those of us who have not (yet!) figured out how to make our own dreams of living abroad happen. You’re awesome.

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