Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Open houses

Yesterday I left the office a few minutes early to check out two open houses I saw signs for on my ride out to work. I know it’s premature to even think about buying anything, but it’s nice to get a feel for what an open house is like, and how much my money will buy me.

The first house was a cute townhouse for $310,000. It was built in 2005, has 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bath, a garage, and a really nice kitchen. Granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. It was the townhouse closest to the street though, but it had a cute enclosed backyard to make up for it. I really liked it, but clearly it’s out of my price range for the time being.

The second house was just across the street, and it was a condo for $217,000. This is in my price range. It was built in 2004 (or 2005, I forget), has 1 bedroom, 1 bath, and an “office nook” which is attached to the main living area. A nice kitchen, too. The place was okay, but not spectacular. In my opinion, it’s overpriced for only 700 sq. ft., but it’s in a nice area. The strata fees were almost $250/month.

It’s kinda depressing that $220,000 will only buy a tiny condo in this city. If I bought with my BF, we would definitely have more money to work with (combined, we make over $110k annually), but I really want to buy by myself, and build up my own equity. Plus, if we ever broke up, neither of us could afford to pay for the mortgage of a more expensive property. I guess big decisions and changes lay ahead of me in the next year or so!

I’m really wanting to buy in a year, but I’m also thinking about renting in order to save up more money. If I rent for a year or so, I would be able to save up at least $1,000 a month if I find a job that pays me what I’m making now. It would be great to be able to put down the entire 25% down payment required in order not to pay that stupid mortgage insurance, but I doubt I could save up that much, that fast. But I guess it depends on what the market is like, my job situation, and other variables.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


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