A few months ago I wrote about how I bought a condo. Despite how much I prepared, there was no way for sure to tell what would happen after I closed. Well, some things went according to plan, but some other things came up that were a bit annoying.
As a money guy, it was easy for me to make sure we had budgeted enough for closing costs and furniture. We even had some extra money available just in case something came up (something did). But what I quickly found is that everyone seems to have an opinion about real estate. I’m not talking about real estate bulls or bears, I mean, literally everyone will say something about your purchasing decision and it won’t always be positive.
Prepare to be judged
From my personal experience, I found that I was judged about my decision to buy a home. I’ve already stated that it would have been cheaper if I remained a renter so I can’t help but laugh whenever someone tells me I got a deal since I paid less than $500K for a 2-bedroom condo. What? You think I got a deal? I don’t think I got a deal. I bought a box in the sky that was over $400,000!
On the flip side of things, I also had people judging me because I purchased a condo. How can you live without green space they ask? It’s too small, you have no locker, you have to pay maintenance fees. Some of those people also thought I paid too much for my condo or were concerned about how it won’t appreciate as much as a house.
I got news for you; I don’t care what you think. My wife and I purchased what fit our lifestyle, and we did it within budget. Nevermind the fact that My wife and I had a 50% down payment, and we have no serious money worries or debt.
Costs start to add up
Once we moved in, costs began to add up. We anticipated painting and new furniture so we put aside some money for it, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed spending all the cash. Here’s a look at some of the expenses we had to pay for when we moved in.
- $1,000 – painter
- $500 – dining table
- $350 – dining table chairs
- $2,600 – couch
- $1,500 – new blinds
- $300 – side table
- $100 – new light bulbs
- $500 – miscellaneous kitchen / bathroom stuff
- $200 – supplies for minor repairs
- $100 – cleaning supplies
All in, I spent about $6,250 to date which isn’t too bad, but I also still need to get a few more things that could cost me another $1,000. The good thing about living in a condo is that I’m not tempted to buy things for my home just for the sake of buying them. If I had a house, I imagine I would be want to furnish rooms I don’t even use. I’m not a minimalist, but I’m already seeing the advantages of having less stuff.
The above list doesn’t even include property tax ($1,500 for the remainder of the year) or my maintenance fees ($500 per month). Again these expenses were expected, but you can see how things can add up fast if you’re not prepared
What you can’t prepare for
Immediately after I moved in, I started to notice a few small things that annoyed me or needed repairs. My standup shower was leaking, the light bulbs were dim, and one of my door handles only opened when turned upwards.
I figured out that the shower just needed some new caulking. At first, I was hesitant to admit this because I was a bit intimidated by that kind of repair job. I quickly realized it was a simple job and easy to do on my own.
With the door handle, I thought it was installed wrong so I just took it apart but I then noticed it actually wasn’t working properly. Installing a new one was pretty painless.
The light bulbs annoyed me the most since they were dim and I prefer white light bulbs. I went out and bought new bulbs, but when I went to install them, I noticed that the fixtures were too big for standard size bulbs which is why there was dimmer bulbs in them to begin with. These seemed like a design flaw so I had to search multiple stores to find bulbs that were bright enough, the right temperature, and fit my fixtures.
Again, all of the above things were pretty minor, but you can see how it can be pretty time consuming. It required multiple trips to various stores, and I had to research and do the repairs on my own.
How my budget is looking
Fortunately, because I had such a large down payment, my monthly budget hasn’t changed much. My monthy living costs have gone up a touch so I did reduce my long-term savings a bit. I’ve always believed in experiences which is why I decided not to reduce any of my spending categories. Travel will still continue to be a big part of my life and for now, I want to keep my travel budget where it’s at.
Since my mortgage rate is just 2.39% fixed for 5 years, I’m also not putting much effort to paying down my mortgage fast. I did elect for advanced bi-weekly payments, and I’m making 15% extra payments every month, but I’ll probably avoid any yearly lump sum payments. I’m fairly confident that I can get a better return than 2.39% in the markets. More importantly, I much prefer to diversify my portfolio.
Moving forward, I’ll max out my TFSA (and my wife’s) every year like I normally do. If I have extra money saved, then I’ll consider making additional mortgage prepayments.
Someone will always have an opinion
No matter what you do with your home, someone will have an opinion. This is a major struggle for me because I’m the type of person to call things as they are. If someone is saying something to me that I know is wrong, then I’m going to call them out on it.
I find it difficult to bite my tongue when people criticize the decisions I make. I try not to judge people and expect the same back, but I know that’s not realistic.
To be honest, I’m not sure I even want to have a house condo warming party because the last thing I want is more people judging me. Then again, after reading this post, maybe people won’t want to come over. I’m okay with that too.