Homeownership has always been important to me, even at a young age. I spent my teens thinking about my future home and I spent my early 20s working towards it. I rationalized that I had to live somewhere. Why not pay myself rather than pay a landlord?
The details of the property didn't matter as much as having my name on the deed. For me this was the ultimate prize. I read books and magazines on the topic of mortgage rates and I followed the newest trends in design.
My plan was to live with my parents, work two jobs and save for a down-payment. In my free time I walked through open houses and combed MLS listings.
My future vision included hosting dinner parties, choosing paint colours and imagining a master ensuite. I was ready to be an adult. After years of extra shifts, non-existent weekends and few vacations, I found my dream home when I was 25-- a small townhouse in a community well east of Toronto.
I had that fabulous dinner party and chose designer colours but didn't bank on the major roof repair and increasing property taxes. My dream quickly met reality.
In between watching my savings dwindle and researching night courses in plumbing, sometimes I would ask myself, what was I thinking? I could free up this money to travel the world, get another degree or rent in the big city. After all, most of my friends were world travelers living interesting lives, was my decision the right one?
I spent five years in that house, and in a way, I grew into my adult self there. I learned slowly how to manage my finances, how to be accountable and self-sufficient. Every now and again I would complain about the sacrifices I had to make, such as living further away from my friends and commuting longer hours to work, but I never really regretted my decision.
About a year ago I decided to sell my townhouse and move to the city. I had built up some equity and could start my search for the elusive Toronto condo. I would return home on weekends discouraged by my real estate options. Condos were so small and so much money!
After multiple failed bids I took a step back to re-evaluate. Eventually, I landed in the Toronto real estate market with a condo that fit my needs. Despite a bidding war, I managed to go just above my budget.
In order to maximize the profit on my townhouse, I decided to sell privately. Even though I had a good friend who is a realtor (sorry Mike). With a "For Sale" sign from Staples and a balloon bouquet, Mom and I held an open house. Within four days I had an offer on the table and a good lawyer to hold my hand through the close. The real estate savings added to the affordability of my downtown purchase.
All I can say at this point is no regrets and the dream continues...