Should we stay or should we go? If we go, when?
It’s a tough question to answer. One that my wife and are talking about now – frequently.
December 2010 – present
We’ve been here for almost seven years. We have thoroughly enjoyed it ever since.
However, in recent months, we’ve had an urge to be in the city more, closer to amenities; closer to other activities in our city of Ottawa. Maybe summertime has pushed us in that direction…
We currently live ~20 km from the city core. Not far mind you but far enough whereby we need to drive everywhere if we don’t want to be around the house. That necessitates two cars – one that we recently paid for here. That necessitates driving (vs. walking or taking public transit frequently) to sporting events and festivals in the city we enjoy, as individuals or as a couple.
Our house is a home and we like it here. But it might be time for a change in a few years. Convenience will probably come at a cost. There are many considerations on the table.
1. Will it be in the downtown core?
Not sure yet. We did the downtown core “condo thing” for 3+ years and while we enjoyed it we longed for more space. An aging condo building was another major incentive (30+ years old) to move back then. Those incentives put us in our second home in the ‘burbs – a semi-detached home – for what we were willing to spend at the time in 2008. I suspect the next place will be in the city but not necessarily downtown. Never say never.
2. Will it be a single-family home?
Not sure yet but unlikely. We own one now (a bungalow) but detached homes in Ottawa are very expensive. Most detached, updated homes in the areas we are interested in approach $1 million and the best in the city are far north of that. Home prices in the city of Ottawa have risen drastically over the last decade, and they continue to go up, although they haven’t yet approached the stratosphere like Toronto or Vancouver. While I’m convinced we could afford a fixer-upper detached home I’m not sure this would be a good move – read on.
3. Will it cost us more money?
Not sure yet, maybe, probably, we really don’t know yet. Herein lies the biggest challenge – probably more than any lifestyle move. How much are we willing to pay?
We’ve been working hard to get out of mortgage debt in recent years, to open up more financial possibilities for us. Those possibilities could vapourize if we take on more significant debt. It will force us to work longer, and possibility much harder (i.e., introduce more side jobs) to kill the debt off. That doesn’t sound overly appealing.
Depending upon the price of the house we may need to liquidate all non-registered assets to buy the place. We may also need additional cash on hand to fix it up after we move in. (There are very few turn-key homes.) Third, there are other operational costs to consider – higher property taxes in the city is at the top of the list. And the list of costs goes on and on…
As mentioned above we live (and are very fortunate to live) in a nice single-family home today just outside the city. A big reason why we live here is because the home was affordable (and remains so) and the location was quite nice – albeit a short drive or bike to groceries and other amenities. The price point of this house, for the space we wanted at the time, brought us here in 2010.
4. Do we buy a place and rent it out until we decide move in?
Possibly. However, we’ve also done the “rental thing” before and it didn’t work out as planned. Our priorities changed. Maybe this time is different. We need to talk that through.
5. Will it (moving) be stressful?
Yes, at least for me it will be. My wife handles these things better than I do but it will be an emotional toll – moving. I’m certainly not ready to move this year.
We’re currently thinking about all these considerations and then some. Moving is not a trivial decision to make. It consistently ranks right up there with other top-5 stressful events in an individuals’ life, along with death of a family member, divorce, major illness and job loss.
So now what???
This moving decision is going to take us some time. Nothing wrong with that. We’re not ready to move right now anyhow. I’m sure I’ll write about it if/when things change. I’ll keep you posted…
What considerations did you or have you had when it comes to moving? Was it stressful? If so, how did you manage it? Let me know your thoughts.