Heartbreak and happiness – the trials and tribulations of house-buying


Wow, ok, so it’s been awhile since my last post but WOW have I ever had an extremely exciting action-packed month off! “Be careful what you wish for!” the old adage goes — and that is certainly the case here.

As I mentioned in a few previous posts there, now that I have graduated from university and have a “real job” with a “real paycheque” my biggest goal for the New Year (along with losing some pounds, yawn) was to get my financial house in order, not just budgeting but making a real effort to edumacate myself in financial matters…. RRSPs, investing, savings, home buying, mortgages, wha? WELL…. less than two months elapsed, and, we almost bought a house!! I know, ‘almost’ buying a house is nowhere near as exciting as ‘actually’ buying a house, but what an education it’s been.

So, we’ve (my boyfriend of five years and I) have been house-scouting online on a casual level now for over a year…. bombarding my parents with links, asking ‘what do you think of this one??’ etc. I found one gem on MLS a few weeks ago, and even though it was strikingly strange looking (picture to follow) I found it somewhat captivating. So I emailed the agent for more info. Being a good agent, he immediately emailed me back and asked if we wanted to do a walk-through of the house. Whoa! That is a big leap from passively online browsing… but why not right? It’s like trying on those $1500 Armani jeans — you can always pretend you don’t like them. So anyways, we went to see the house. It is a 1984 contemporary diamond in the rough, but both of us have terrific imaginations and were immediately picturing it without the horrid lace curtains and 90’s wallpaper and MDF kitchen cabinets, with slate floors instead of yukky linoleum…. and basically we left the appointment glowing. Behind all that horrible decor, there were high ceilings, hardwood floors, an awesome yard, deck, and view…..  After mulling it over for a few days, we went to see a mortgage broker, and were shocked, amazed, and incredibly excited to find that it would be well within our reasonable house budget — WOW! Armed with this new, empowering knowledge, we jumped off the cliff and made an offer. A verrrrry low offer (the house had been for sale for almost a year already!). Just in case you have never bought a house, as we certainly hadn’t, it is probably the most fun and exciting heartbreaking game of cat and mouse I have ever played. We offered, they countered, we counter-countered, and they counter-counter-countered, but the deal eventually broke down when they made their “final final lowest of low” offers that was still 25G’s above what we felt was a good deal. I was initially devastated — but after all, I got what I wanted — a top-notch education in buying a house. The first part, anyways! And the story is not over, oh no, I think when we get back from sea, we will probably make another offer, only slightly above what our last offer was. Of course, we run the risk of it selling in the meantime, but I have a pretty good feeling that that is NOT going to happen. Not everyone is as ambitious as we are, and willing to take the sledgehammer to the ugly stuff. I still want it — and if you saw it, you’d want it too!

AND – we also discovered (not on our own….. our mortgage guy pointed this out to us) this unbelievable loophole in Canadian taxes. We already had one meeting with the bank, and are going back to finalize it on Monday, where we’re each taking a loan out for RRSP’s. This amount that we put in an RRSP, even though it’s not “our” money, per se, is deducted from our incomes for income tax. So we will get a fat wad of money back from the Tax Man when we file next month. AND — here’s the best part — as long as that money stays in the RRSP for at least 90 days, we can cash it out, tax-free, and use it as a downpayment on a house, since we are both first-time homebuyers. Head spinning? Yeah, mine was too. But believe it or not, it’s totally legal, and will save us a pile of dough and the shame of having to knock on the Parental Bank for a downpayment. Awesome!

So yeah, as of now, we are kind of in limbo. Going back to sea for a month, starting next week, so this freight train has been brought to a grinding, screeching, halt. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to contain myself! As is, I am dreaming of hammering, building, painting, fixing, and decorating…. I have always dreamt of owning my own space, and to be so close, but so far, is exhilarating and agitating!

Here is our "diamond in the rough".... I know it looks a bit horrible right now, but picture it with a splash of new paint (not red!), some new windows.... oh yeah and that stupid wishing well is a goner, just incase anybody wants it...


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