This week I turn 40 years old. Last week I became a house owner.
I am sore, grumpy, and slightly overwhelmed, but I am also proud and ecstatic.
I had two goals to reach by my 40th birthday:
1) to get married;
2) to buy a house.
I reached goal # 2 with a week to spare.
I have modified goal # 1 to read:
1) to find a suitable life partner in my 40s;
2) or not.
So, Partner (ex) informed me that he found another place to live about a week into September.
I realized quickly that I had three choices:
1) Keep our rental house and sublet one of the bedrooms (Rent = $1250 + $320 utilities + $57 internet);
2) Move into another rental, hopefully in the same neighbourhood;
3) Cash in $8500 RRSP account and buy a house of our own.
First I went to Kijiji and searched the "room wanted" ads. There were a few single women who had teaching contracts who were looking for a room. I thought this would be ideal; but since Partner (ex) dropped the bomb a week into September, these women had already found their room. I struck up a correspondence with one potential roommate, whom after ten or so days of emailing each other, decided to stay at her parents' house.
I was being picky, since this person would have to share living room, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry with Bean and I.
In the meantime, I looked at a townhouse down the street that seemed to fit my budget (it was $775 to rent, but had electric baseboards, which would cost $100s to run in the winter). It was a bit rundown and it smelled like marijuana, so I didn't fax in the rental application.
I also emailed a former co-worker of Partner (ex)'s, who is now a real estate agent. We looked at about a dozen houses and I learned that we would have to leave our neighbourhood to find a house I could afford. I didn't want a fixer-upper. Luckily, we found a tiny bungalow (800 square feet) down the hill, in our school zone, so Bean would not have to change schools.
I got the mortgage at 2.94% and decided on bi-weekly payments (even though I still get paid only once a month). Mortgage + property taxes will cost me less than $900 a month. Hopefully bills will be around $250 or less per month. I chose a cheap cable internet package that is $45 a month.
Since I have finally learned to become a saver, I was able to cover the closing costs out of my TFSA, which is still in a healthy state. Next I will replenish the funds and continue adding them, in order to have a house fund to cover replacement expenses. The roof will need to be re-shingled in 7 to 8 years, and the furnace is 10 years old. I would also like to add a bathroom and kitchenette to the basement for Bean to use when he is older.
I have met all the surrounding neighbours, and they are all really friendly. I don't feel out of my element anymore, being the renter on the street of upper-middle-class house owners. I am now one of the (possibly, lower) middle-class house owners, and it feels really good.