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DANIEL SUCAR
The 1019 REPORT

Local Journalism Initiative

A house for sale without a backyard or septic tank might seem like the last place you’d expect to find a frantic bidding war – and yet, that’s exactly what happened in St. Lazare

Twice.

After just six days of visits earlier this month, the two city-owned houses on Charbonneau Street in the Chaline Valley area gathered a combined total of 22 offers, despite the fact they are both currently unlivable.

“The people who made offers on the homes are well aware of the challenges they can expect when it comes to renovating them,” said St. Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo. “We made sure they knew exactly what they were getting into.”

The properties – specifically, 728 and 736 Charbonneau St. – were purchased by the city two years ago, prior to the landslide stabilization work carried out by the municipality in the area. To fix the hillside, engineers had to cut out a massive chunk of both backyards, taking the septic tanks with them.

With the work now completed, the city put the houses up for sale.

Since the properties are being sold as is, it will be up to the new owners to redirect the sewer pipes away from the backyards and install new septic systems in the front or side yards of the houses.

If that sounds like a lot of work, it’s because it is. And pricey, too.

“It will probably cost around $30,000 and take a few months, if not a year,” said Patrick Fuentes, the real estate agent charged with selling the homes. “But it can be done.”

Even with the required added costs, the properties are still a steal, Fuentes said. The asking price for 728 Charbonneau St. – with its three bedrooms, granite kitchen countertops, and double garage – was $399,000, while its even-more-spacious neighbour started at $429,000.

The homes were sold at the same price as when they were bought by the city two years ago.

“There are no houses like this on the market today, and definitely not at that price,” Fuentes said. “Houses this size in St. Lazare usually go for at least $600,000 these days.”

Grimaudo agreed: “It’s no surprise there was such a frenzy, given how hot the real estate market is these days, and how more and more people want to get out of the city.”

According to the mayor, an offer for each home has been retained. St. Lazare council is expected to approve the pending sales Oct. 5.

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