A Fun, Personal (Remote Work) Announcement

Who doesn't love the East Coast?

A little while back, I wrote who wants to work from Nova Scotia? - an analysis of their remote worker attraction program. 

WELL. 

As it turns out, I want to work from Nova Scotia. So my partner and I bought a house and moved to Nova Scotia.

But it wasn’t a split decision. It’s actually been in the works since October 2020. 

It started as a bit of fun in August 2020. My partner and I like looking at real estate listings around the world, and we decided to try Canada. We’d heard Nova Scotia is filled with beautiful old homes, and we started to really like what we saw. 

Then we found out Nova Scotia has been investing in fiber internet lines throughout the province, so suddenly it became possible to work remotely with guaranteed good internet. That’s when things started to get a bit serious: could we move out east and leave Toronto behind?

We stumbled upon the house that we ultimately bought in September 2020. We did everything remotely and finalized the purchase in October 2020, for a June 2021 closing date. From October 2020, we’ve been waiting, sitting, and planning. 

Fast forward to June 2021: we moved! We’re officially Attempting Victorian.

Attempting Victorian on Instagram

Some facts about the house

  • Built in 1898

  • 7 bedrooms

  • 7 bathrooms

  • 5 fireplaces

  • 3 floors

The house was first built as a grand captain’s mansion. Windsor, Nova Scotia was the third largest shipbuilding town in Canada in the mid-1800’s, and Canada itself was the fifth largest shipbuilding economy in the world at the time, so the captains and business owners in Windsor had immense wealth. And with their wealth, they built big homes. Our house isn’t even the largest on our block, let alone in the town, but we fell in love with the grand staircase and the rest is history.

After the original owners sold up, it had a few uses and custodians over the years. It ended up becoming a B&B in the 1980s, a tradition that was kept up by the previous owners (the people we purchased from).

Attempting Victorian on Instagram

Ontarians ruin everything

For the Canadian readers of this newsletter, you have probably heard the refrain from (some) Nova Scotians talked about in the CBC: That Ontarians are ruining the real estate economy in the province. We come in, pay stupidly high amounts over asking price, and push renters out of their homes. 

This is concerning to me on a couple levels: 

  • According to the Landlord Tenant Act in Nova Scotia, a renter cannot be evicted solely because the owner is selling the property. You must receive an affidavit in writing from the buyers that they plan to live in the home personally (or immediate family members will). Even then, your landlord must give you two months notice minimum. This doesn’t mean a tenant can stay forever -- but the problem is landlords taking advantage of tenants who may not know their rights and thus get evicted with only a few weeks notice (which happened to a friend of mine). 

  • There is currently no rent control in Nova Scotia, so some scummy local landlords are jacking up the rent by 47% - prompting a state of emergency rent control in the province.

Even though the same market rules apply regardless of who the buyer is, it’s Ontarians that are willing to pay a lot over asking. Since the average price of a home in Nova Scotia is less than half that of Ontario, even paying over asking is considered an Ontario bargain.

Now, I want to stress that 99.9% of people have been kind and welcoming to us. That, after all, is the hallmark of Nova Scotians. 

We’ve interacted with a few really rude people (got told to “Go home!” by one), but that was 1) On the internet, never in person and 2) Invariably someone who was impacted by a scummy Nova Scotia landlord kicking people out to sell their house for a huge profit in a red-hot market, so I understand why they are angry at the situation.

Plans for the future

The town of Windsor is incredibly cute: wineries and breweries within walking distance of the house, restaurants and pubs, museums, parks, and more. 

Attempting Victorian on Instagram

We love that this home has been welcoming people - either as a private residence or as a B&B - since 1898 when the grand wood doors were swung open for the first time. Our plan is to continue that tradition, but with a twist. Now that we have fiber internet, we can operate not just as a small town B&B but as a destination for remote workers, freelancers, and digital nomads. Stay tuned for updates on that side of things as we progress on the renovation side of things. 

Follow the journey

We’re cataloging our reno journey on both Instagram and TikTok!

Thanks for reading! 

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