Housing dilemma

Housing dilemma

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.

Home

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.

Future considerations

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. 

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I've grown our portfolio to over $700,000 now - but there's more work to do! Our next big goal is to own a $1 million investment portfolio for an early retirement. Subscribe and join the journey!

61 Responses to "Housing dilemma"

  1. You got a very nice bungalow! 20km away from the city is not far at all. I would stay where you are right now. In my case, I live in a city, but I also work in a city. I can’t imagine being in traffic 2 hours per day. I use public transportation (metro) to get to work and it only takes 15 minutes. My daughter’s camp and school is on my way to work as well. Maybe later on, when I can work on my own terms, I might move away from the city and settle down. Life will show!

    Reply
    1. Thanks. It’s a nice home, we work hard to maintain it, but it’s a distance from amenities and activities we enjoy. We’ll see. There is no pressure to move so we are taking our time and making sure it’s the correct emotional, financial and lifestyle decision for us.

      As you say, time will show.

      Reply
          1. Ok, then valuation aside, I definitely think it would make sense for you guys.
            A compromise may be to get not as close as are thinking distance wise (5m), but move to an area that is next to an LRT stop?

            One Dad

      1. 20 km is nothing. It’s cheaper to keep a 2nd car than move, especially if real estate & property taxes are more expensive in the city. That will break the bank. I think you will regret moving closer to Ottawa. Think of the reasons why you bought 20 kms out of the city. Do those reasons no longer apply to your current situation? Moving is stressful, very very stressful as you get older. I would wait until kids are out of the house then you can downsize to rent a condo or apartment/duplex to be closer to the city. l would NOT be liquidating your non-registered account to pay for yet another home. That is a lose/lose. Maybe plan to stay overnight in Ottawa in a hotel if you don’t want to drive home after entertainment. That way you get to enjoy the city amnenities and not have to drive home, AND enjoy living out of the city. Shelve the idea for now.

        Reply
        1. “Moving is stressful, very very stressful as you get older.”

          Ya, I don’t like it Bonnie but I will do it if I need to.

          We have no kids but I know our cats would not like moving either so I would prefer not to do it for another year or so at least; this way we can defer the anxiety for the cats and me 🙂

          I agree – I absolutely DO NOT want to liquidate our non-registered account to pay for another home.

          I actually talked to my wife about the hotel idea, but it’s more about day-to-day amenities vs. big entertainment. We don’t have the money for the latter all the time anyhow since we’re focused on killing debt. Thanks for the blunt honest feedback – appreciated!

          Reply
  2. Isn’t the housing market overvalued in Canada? What if you sold the house you own, and just rented something that is close to the amenities you enjoy?

    DGI

    PS On a side note, I don’t believe that a person cancall themselves financially independent unless they own their home.

    Reply
    1. “What if you sold the house you own, and just rented something that is close to the amenities you enjoy?”
      Not alway that easy. For instance, the vacancy rate in my city is 0.01% — not a misprint. You may never find a reasonable rental which agrees with the majority of your checklist (price, locale, sq ft, view, walkability, noise, parking, etc.). If living 15km closer to “the amenities you enjoy” causes more headaches than living 20km away…

      “PS On a side note, I don’t believe that a person cancall themselves financially independent unless they own their home.”
      One can never truly be either financially independent (your money will always be tied to at least one source of valuation) nor own their house (your house will always be subject to taxation payments, one simply transitions from paying rent to the bank and the government to paying just the government).

      Reply
      1. Renting is not always an easy lifestyle option either. That’s part of the weekly discussion…..how much closer do we need to be for the price/lifestyle to be a good compromise? We don’t know the answer yet.

        Reply
      2. Very interesting. What city do you live in? We recently bought a house, and the amount of mortgage, insurance,taxes if 100% financed is very similar to the amount if it were to be rented. Of course, I am in a different location and the upkeep will be done/paid up for by moi.

        Also on independence – I agree it is relative within a spectrum. After dealing with landlords for over a decade, I came to conclusion that owning may offer some more independence and quality of life than renting.

        Reply
    2. It is to some degree, overvalued. That works for sellers and buyers in some cases though. All that to say, my wife and I have lots of thinking to do.

      I wouldn’t consider myself financially independent unless all assets and income can cover all liabilities and needs – I could pay off debt if I needed to. I think you can have debt/leverage and be considered financially free since income + assets far exceeds liabilities. No?

      Reply
      1. Well, as I wrote to you a couple of days ago I think that the standards for financial independence on the interwebz are really low.

        Plenty of people will call themselves FI if only they are FI, even if their spouse has to work for a living. The amount of self serving bias is troubling.

        I will be FI by 2018, but my family isn’t, which means that I should not call myself FI either 😉

        I think that owning your home provides for a “more guaranteed” rate of return ( minus tax, maintenance, insurance) than say owning a portfolio of stocks that is then used to pay for housing. Everyone needs a place to live in, so by buying that place, you have more control over renting. And you have bought a permanently reduced monthly housing costs (albeit with opportunity cost that these funds could have been invested elsewhere)

        If Price to rent is crazy of course, it may make sense to rent from a financial point of view ( though again, it is impossible to know in advance whether that would have been superior to buying high and watching stocks drop)

        Just writing down some random thoughts out there 😉

        Reply
        1. I don’t think I would ever get away of calling myself FI if my wife wasn’t working on her own terms as well!!!

          You’re right that everyone needs a place to live. So, buying has more control over renting but you also lose some liquidity and flexibility. There is a “renters dividend” to be had since I believe for the most part, people underestimate the actual cost of home ownership over many years. It’s not trivial: property taxes, home insurance, upkeep, renos, general operational costs, etc.

          Reply
  3. The trouble is that weighing the pros and cons can go on endlessly. It helps me to to identify what my heart (gut) wants, then go from there. You have a beautiful home by the way.

    Reply
  4. For what it’s worth here are my 2 cents on the subject. After my husband was killed in a motorcycle accident almost 4 years ago, I was forced to become a real estate maven. Four real estate deals in 3 years takes it toll, no question about it. This isn’t a pity party (thank God I had assets to sell) but here are some things to think about when deciding to sell and move. I racked up real estate commissions of $120,000 (commercial real estate fees are 10%) and the cost of staging and repairing 2 houses for the market came in close to another $10,000. Then there are moving costs and costs of hiring help to downsize all the stuff which had been accumulating over 40 years of life.
    I decided it was time for a condo which was old and had to be renovated. I feel lucky as I got a bargain deal at $185,000, renovated for a total price of $225,000. A unit identical to mine just sold for $339,000. Not a bad move financially right!
    Here’s the thing, I am quite miserable. It is an old condo so maintenance fees are high. I have had 2 special assessments already +++ downloading of water bills, and other repairs which were included but now are not. Looking back at my large 4 bedroom house, it was actually cheaper than this condo and I am not doing well in adjusting to the lack of privacy, storage and gossip that this place comes with.
    I listened to all the sound advice telling me this would be a good move (financially it was) but don’t think you will necessarily get cheaper living in the long run.
    I know you might not be returning to condo life but when contemplating a move there is so much more to it. Remember the old saying: you know the devil you got but you might not know the devil you’ll get! If I were in your situation, as I understand you are both still working, I would wait when your are closer to retirement age to make such a big move. You will be going through a lot of change in the next few years and your ideas might change a lot too and you may regret the move in the long run. You have no clue what your life will be like then. Trust me, I was not prepared for a forced retirement, the thought never even crossed my mind. It is an eye opener!
    So unless you are ready to cash out of your current home to make some money that you need, I would stay put a little longer so there are no regrets. Money is nice, but it isn’t everything!
    Good luck,
    Mary Lynn

    Reply
    1. I’m very sorry to hear of your loss Mary Lynn. No doubt that was a very trying time for you….

      No doubt RE transactions, many of them, can take their toll.

      We both worry about privacy, other, with a condo. We’ve been there. We also worry about condo fees and the long-term value of such an asset. Home prices (detached) tend to rise more in value over time. That said, this far beyond a money decision although money is a very important factor i.e., can we afford it.

      We are prepared to stay here for a few years for sure, but I suspect we’ll be moving in a few years. We are both still working. You’re right about the future. This is why we’re not convinced we should sell our house and move, maybe a rental unit is good. I dunno. Lots on our mind. I know I don’t want to cash in any TFSAs or RRSPs for this move. That would be very foolish – and I can’t imagine we would. The non-reg. is an option but there are capital gains if we sell. I prefer not to deal with that…

      Decisions, decisions… Thanks for your detailed comment.

      Reply
  5. I have been renting in a house in centre west ottawa for over 5yrs – housing prices in this area have risen 50% in 6-7yrs… and so have the Taxes on these homes – meanwhile my rent has increased an average 1-1.5% a year – it seems i have the better handle on increases to live in a great part of ottawa, while saving and investing my money. conundrum is – while saving enough for a good 50% downpayment on a home in the next year or two – do i still buy or continue to rent – unless yearly house price increases take a break, i cannot see owning a home any time soon – i am shocked that taxes on an average $575,000-$600,000 home is now over $6000 a year!

    Reply
    1. That’s an option John. Certainly prices can’t keep going higher in Ottawa can they??? Although “experts” said that 2-3 years ago as well. I dunno…lots of thinking to do.

      For a comparable, our taxes are $4,200 per year. In the city, for a house half our size in some cases (<900 sq. ft) I’ve seen > $6,000 as you mention. Nuts. That’s just one factor to deal with.

      Reply
      1. Ouch, yes property taxes in Ontario are high. When we left our small city there in 2001, our taxes were well over $4000. Now on our beautiful home in BC (quite different, but somewhat equivalent) we have paid around $2400 to $2500 every year since 2002, value probably around $700K, prices up a lot in the past year, finally back to 2008 level.

        When we evaluated the costs of moving provinces, taxation rates were a factor we looked at because salaries are much lower in BC.

        I am never going to move out of my house. Five moves (with 3 kids) in 6 years did it for me.

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        1. Not in Metro Vancouver I assume? House price is still going up this year. Completely understand moving with kids. I was so scared to do that and now regret not having done it early

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        2. Very high. Painful. Only $2,500 per year? Geez. That’s very good given the value of the property.

          Five moves in 6 years? With kids. Ouch. Good on you to survive. I couldn’t do it myself!

          Reply
          1. Yes, and the moves were overseas and back and across the country 2 times. I was very good at packing, lol. It would only have been 4 times, but we lost out on the first house we wanted here, because we still had trouble selling the one in Ontario, so had to rent for part of a year till we found another one. I made sure I loved it totally.
            Our taxes are lower because there are so many high value homes here. Great services from the city, too. I am not complaining!

  6. Ever thought about selling your house, renting in-city and using some of the proceeds to buy a rental/future retirement unit in one of the vacation spots you frequent (e.g. Costa Rica)? Takes a lot of footwork and vetting, yes, but with an eye on the future, might be something worth considering.

    Reply
    1. Yup. On the table 🙂 We have thought about selling house and renting in a few years. That’s not out of the question. I think I’m stuck on home ownership more than my wife. It might be something I need to get past to help make the best decision. Certainly selling a home, say worth $500K, and investing all that money could go a very long ways in terms of passive income / debt-free income to live from.

      Reply
      1. Depending on many factors. Return on $500K does not necessarily cover the renting cost, considering you need to pay tax in your highest tax bracket for your investment return?

        I did a simple calculation with my own case. With 1.2M to invest on income-focused equities, I should get 4% yield in dividends and distributions. It’s roughly $50K an year. 40% tax, only $30 left. I save probably $8K in property tax, house insurance and maintenance though. So I have $38 to spend on rent. If I rent at $3K a month, saves me $2K per year. Breaking even here.

        Reply
        1. I took a further look on how dividend being taxed, turned out given the precondition that all income is eligible dividend and fall into the 43.7% tax bracket in BC, the actual rate on dividend will be 1.38 * (0.437 – 0.2502) = 0.26. In this case, renting will definitely win. After tax invest income is $37K, plus $8K saving on house cost. $36K spent on rent, $9K left for a nice vacation. With the capital not being touched, income increase should beat rent increase, more money left each year.

          Now I am seriously thinking about renting instead of buying. Of course, if the house continue to increase in value like past ten years, I still lose. But what will be the chance for that? While the actual return on house equity is only 2%?

          Reply
          1. Hey May, thanks for your comments. Historically, i.e., over many, many years of investing – real estate has not kept up with stocks. Certainly over the last 10 years or so in Toronto or Vancouver, nothing could be further from the truth!

            We’re not ruling renting out. We’ve got a LOT to think about 🙂

          2. There is a lot of uncertainty with renting, you cannot count on any stability. I have a rental property and have seen vacancy rates close to zero in various years. People are kicked out of their rentals when the owners sell and beg me to rent my place to them. We currently have that situation in my city, the rental cost is too low for the price of the property, so why rent it out?
            Plus, I pay full income tax on my rental revenue.

          3. True, there are also a number of rental deductions you have with an investment property. Pros and cons to everything…my head is spinning on what to do!

  7. I’ve enjoyed these comments very much. $6,000 a year property taxes = Ouch! I also like the reminder of condo special levies. I’ve owned condos/lofts and I’ll never do it again for the reasons covered above.
    I’ve always owned homes and was forced out of my last home by the extreme stress of my neighbor’s barking dogs combined with weak animal enforcement. I desperately needed peace and some kind of strong control mechanism. I wanted a landlord who would control things rather than ineffectual, arguing, condo boards.
    Fortunately I landed in a older spacious 2-bdrm apartment building on Beach Drive in Victoria. That’s right, Oak Bay, Beach Drive, water and park views, walk to the village, hardwood floors, etc. My rent is 1400 inclusive. Other’s complain about the management company for various reasons, but not me. I am ever so grateful and am sleeping better than ever in my life.
    -I’ll add that having always been a home owner, my one surprise is how much money I have left over. There are no surprises!
    -Also, one my largest stock holdings is Canadian Apartment Reit because I’ve become a believer.
    V.

    Reply
    1. “Fortunately I landed in a older spacious 2-bdrm apartment building on Beach Drive in Victoria. That’s right, Oak Bay, Beach Drive…”

      Hey, neighbour!

      Reply
    2. I also own CAR.UN for the same reasons 🙂

      That sounds very nice….water and park views, walk to the village, hardwood floors, etc. Crazy your rent is $1,400 inclusive. In downtown Ottawa, that would cost closer to $2,000 per month. We haven’t ruled out leaving the city all-together actually.

      Reply
  8. Mark, you have an interesting but not surprising dilemma. Sailors (often in similar situations) call it “two footitis” – if only my boat was two feet longer, etc. There is no doubt that homes – regardless of size – are single-use “money pits”. The money itself has multiple uses. You know the list. When we bought our house the deal was signed on the peak minute of the peak week of the peak month. My wife and I spent (seemingly) hours looking at each other wonder “what have we done”. Now our paid for home has a market value over four times that which we paid for it. We don’t have a cottage and don’t drive the latest and greatest. But, our retirement (whatever that means) looks secure. Sure, we love the adventure of sports and cultural activities in Toronto. Sometimes, we even stay overnight in a hotel. And, we get to leave the noise, hustle and bustle of the City to our quiet and friendly home in the “burbs”.

    We are looking forward to exploring Canada, and other friendly and safe parts of the world. Our bucket list is not extensive but achievable because we stayed put and paid the piper.

    Good luck with your deliberations.

    Reply
    1. We have similar looks: “what have we done”, was it the right decision to begin with? Of course it was. We like it here. But things change as do people and I understand that.

      “We love the adventure of sports and cultural activities in Toronto. Sometimes, we even stay overnight in a hotel. And, we get to leave the noise, hustle and bustle of the City to our quiet and friendly home in the “burbs”.” Interesting play. I’ve considered that but I also feel I don’t want to Uber everywhere either.

      I appreciate your decision. Staying put definitely has benefits…we’re exploring all options. More than the post eluded to! Cheers.

      Reply
  9. I am looking to buy a larger house as my current house is not big enough for my growing family. Meanwhile, I also take a look at the renting market. To my surprise, a 1.2M house in the area I want to buy is renting for only $3000 a month, and it’s managed by a property company. So the actual return for the landlord is only 2% a year. Now I am thinking maybe I should just rent instead of buy. With 1.2M to invest, the return should be able to cover the rent easily before tax. But with tax, maybe buying still win financially. Difficult decision to make.

    Reply
    1. The math isn’t making sense in Ottawa as well. I mean, you can rent a great place for about $2,500. If that is an income property, the landlord is likely barely breaking even. Very difficult decision and I certainly will struggle with it if we decide to move sooner than later. Takes time to think things through.

      Reply
  10. From reading your blog and frequently hearing you comment on lifestyle referencing city festivals, sports events & other activities, some disinterest in commuting, and the fact you’ve previously lived in the downtown core I’m not surprised to read about a potential move.

    I think you’re wise to very carefully consider this with a long term view. ie if you “retire” in 7-10 years what may also work for you now and into the future, or give you a good option for another transition. However as you acknowledged things and people do change over time. I expect the pull of increased investment capital and your passion for passive income available from house funds plus the flexibility of renting will win out over tapping un-registered capital for a home compromise and/or delaying retirement, unless you can find something acceptable for less. I could also see you with a foreign home and/or a less expensive area in Canada to keep housing costs lower and maybe stretch the dollars further.

    I’m sure we’ll read some more about your “housing dilemma” (nice one to have!) and you’ll thoughtfully research and consider all your ideas.

    Interestingly my next door neighbours are from your city and have their home for sale now and are looking to move back due to family.

    G/L

    Reply
    1. Thanks for your comments. Always good to get other perspectives from others – who can read between the lines per se.

      I’m certainly struggling with the move idea but I understand longer term it might be best for us. Given our all available registered accounts should be maxed out within the year x2 TFSAs and x2 RRSPs – something I’m very proud of – we also have non-reg. income that I wish to keep intact. I don’t think it makes sense to sell non-reg. assets, incur capital gains, to move that money into a house with an uncertain housing market let alone long-term future.

      So, that might start narrowing options. 1) selling existing house in spring of 2018 and renting. 2) buy an affordable investment property, with the intention of moving into it in a few years 3) moving out of Ottawa altogether.

      The passive income available from house funds will certainly increase financial flexibility. I’m not sure I want to delay “retirement” another 5 years because we managed to buy an overvalued semi-detached home in the city. While nice, I’m not sure I’d be happy – instead, stressed out.

      This is where option 3) foreign home and/or a less expensive area in Canada to keep housing costs lower is an option. Geez. Again, my head is spinning with options…

      We’ll figure it out. All in good time.

      Reply
      1. Yes, your topped up accounts are a notable achievement. I agree 100% with your statement on not selling non registered and the issue of an “uncertain” housing market. Been there done that and we “survived” but with much less……Don’t delay. Compromise on something else….if you indeed even have to.

        I looked seriously at buying a condo in our core city area as an investment with the idea this would be our move to place later in retirement. Trouble was the numbers make absolutely no sense here and it would have to be well subsidized above rental income. A person can rent for WAY LESS than the overal cost of ownership. Will that be true in another decade or two. Who knows? Condos kind of scare me too with too many ownership/cost issues.

        I could see #1 leading into #3 as you’re ready to stop working F/T. I would be up for that kind of choice here too but my wife (CEO) is much less flexible. LOL

        Like you said- take your time to think it all through. You’re really in the drivers seat as far as options.

        Reply
        1. We are earning cash flow from our non-reg. investments and should we lose our jobs, become ill, etc. it’s income we don’t have to work for – so I want to keep it intact let alone grow it significantly in the coming years now that all reg. accounts (4/4) should be maxed out in early 2018.

          Condos are quite nice but you do need to be mindful of the fees. So, option #1) renting after selling might be a good idea. We are looking at places in the coming weeks to get a better idea of space, lifestyle, other. No immediate rush.

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      2. Dear Mark,

        We live 20 minutes from Ogdensburg (in Ontario) and are currently selling our home. We will be renting in Canada for the foreseeable future (forever if I get my wish). I am so excited to not have the stress of having my money tied up in a property. I’ll take the stress of the stock market over real estate any day.

        Let me know if your “foreign home” might be in Mexico. I have lived there on and off since 2005.

        All the best with whatever you choose to do. It sounds like you will make the best decision possible based on all the knowledge that you have at the time.

        Besos Sarah.

        Reply
        1. Seems smart Sarah to rent. I would have no problem with it as long as we found a “nice” spot that met our needs. Not always easy to find…

          As for the foreign home, I think we’ll rent. We hope to have enough cash flow to afford 1-2 months away every year. We figure that will cost about $10k per winter to do that, after initial flights down and back are accounted for (another $1,500 or so).

          We’ve got a lot of thinking to do but certainly thanks – we’ll try and make the best decision possible.

          Reply
  11. I’m not sure if you have many duplexes or 4-plexes in Ottawa but they are popular out West. They can allow you to stay close to the amenities and still have privacy (albeit less) and often offer the more sizeable space that you’re after. Once the single family homes were beyond reach here, the next most popular product, in my opinion, were duplexes/townhomes. The numbers may not crunch that way but it’s a nice alternative and seems to allow you to achieve some of the things that you were mentioning. First comment!! Going through all your blogs slowly but surely! : )

    Reply
    1. We’re not ruling out a rental or a semi or related spot AJ. Thanks for the detailed comment.

      Feel free to go through all bloposts – happy for you to do so! Cheers.

      Reply
  12. Buying has choices. House buyers can shop for a place.
    With renting you are lucky to find a nice place in the location you want. If you do, you hang on to it for dear life. Some people just get into a building then wait for a more desirable unit to become available.
    I was lucky.

    Reply
  13. Very nice house Mark. If I can get something like that in Toronto or surrounding the GTA (hopefully soon in the near future), I would be very happy! Anyways, definitely do whatever that makes you guys happy and go from there. Cheers.

    Reply
    1. We like our house Peter, however, the key is closer to amenities – if we could pick up the house and move it 10 km closer to the city we would 🙂 Thanks for the kind words. Good luck with your search.

      Reply
  14. Nice house Mark! I am sure it has taken a lot of hard work and perseverance to get at this point. As someone who is new to the personal finance community and have just begun to start his “real” life, I appreciate what you’ve done with this website.

    Question though. How do you view the Canadian markets? I know the Ottawa market is not as hot as Vancouver and or the GTA, however I have an eerie feeling about this whole thing. With the minimum wages rising soon in Ontario, interest rate rise on the horizon every 4-6 months now, I see a lot of dark clouds gathering around. Not to forget, everyone seems to have found a way to become wealthy and believe Real Estate is a sure way (I mean is this not a sure tell sign of a bubble…). Your thoughts?

    Reply
    1. Canadian markets can really vary. For instance, where I live in BC housing prices are just now back to the level of 2008. Very hot right now, but it is always hard to predict the next year. Sales can fall off really quickly, I have been through it all.

      Reply
    2. Thanks for the kind words. Our journey has been up and down like most lives but my wife and I are feeling like we’re getting to a decent place…more comfortable financially, more comfortable in our own skin, and more. Life is not without living through ups and downs.

      Anyhow…. my take is for housing in particular I could see prices falling if rates go up again this September. That’s a great thing I think since I suspect (although don’t know for sure) some 30- and 40-something homeowners are far in over their heads.

      If the entire herd is doing something it doesn’t mean it is right – re: everyone is focused on real estate. This is why my wife and I really need to think through this decision – it needs to be risk-based meaning what could go wrong.

      Reply
  15. Is there something in-between the downtown core and where you are now? We live about 9.5 km outside of downtown London and we find that distance easily bikeable (but if it was much further it wouldn’t be quite as easy). My bike ride to work is about 22-25 minutes and if we have the kids trailer in tow then its about 35-40 min (they’re getting big, hard to pull!) The other benefit is that we have a nice, small bungalow that was inexpensive to purchase and way less on taxes, maintenance, utilities.

    Moving is a pain but it’s doable. And if you’re going to stay in the new house for 10+ years then I think its entirely worth it. We spent over a year looking for our current house. We had a very specific area in mind (walking distance to school, grocery, shops, library, drug store, etc) with very specific requirements (small house, brick, bungalow, detached garage etc).

    Start looking now. Take your time determining what you want. Since there’s no pressure to move you have the luxury of time.

    Reply
    1. There is Owen….but we want to be close to downtown I think, well, I know. Moving is absolutely a PITA (pain in the a$$). I stress about it.

      Like you I suspect we’ll take some time to find what we are looking for; something to “tick” most of the boxes. If it happens sooner than later so be it.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Reply

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