Friday, September 12, 2008

House, Home, Abode, Casa

Melissa's wanting to buy a house. Bad. Really bad. Bad to the point of prowling MLS for hours every week, calling the family real estate agent to get a referral to someone who knows the market we're looking in, and getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Here's the deal. We didn't think that we could really afford to buy anything, but it looks like we can. We've got a fair little down payment, and the kind of house that we want (a condo townhouse) is totally affordable, even in Toronto. I mean, it's not "wow, that's so cheap!" affordable, or "I can get three bedrooms for what?" affordable, but it's doable. And really, if we're spending money on rent, we might as well spend a little more on a mortagage and have it be going into an investment, rather than into someone else's pocket.

My one main concern is commuting. The townhouses that we've seen that we can afford and that we think we'd like are primarily in the King West neighbourhood. There are tons of pluses: great vibe to the neighbourhood, close to the hubby's office, tons of amenities, great bars and restaurants, close to Trinity Bellwoods and the entertainment district. However, not particularly close either to York or to my office, which is in the far north-east corner of Toronto. What's a girl to do? Suck it up? Get a new job? We can't afford to stay in the area we are, unless we buy a really little high rise condo, which isn't a remotely attractive idea, so that's a bit of a dilemma. And I don't know how easy it would be to get a new job downtown, especially as I love where I am right now. If I get a serious grant next year, I don't know if I'll be able to work (you can't work more than 10 hours a week for at least one of the grants that I'm applying for, and my TAship takes that up right away), so that might make a difference.

One nice thing about having my blog is that it lets me work these things out on paper. Reading what I've just written, I think I need to put the brakes on and wait to seriously start looking until I know whether or not I get a grant next year, and what that will mean. If I only have to have a long commute to one place, rather than two, I can handle that. So my casa will have to wait for a little while, but that's okay. It'll happen when the time is right!


Purple Mangos said...

I talked to JPMC about that very thing at lunch the other day, and my advice at the time was (and still is) that while you're looking, waiting and saving, you should put yourself in touch with a licensed financial planner. Given your recent marriage, merging of finances and multiple long-term goals that the two of you have, now is a good time to sit down with someone to discuss your overall financial picture (savings, tax planning, investments, debt repayment, insurance) and to put a plan in place to meet your goals for next year.

Just my opinion, but it's something to think about.

Melissa said...

Thanks, Mangos! Very wise piece of advice. We'll look into that.