When does the need for a stressfree lifestyle trump common financial sense?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
When does the need for a stressfree lifestyle trump common financial sense?
11
Wed, 09-19-2012 - 9:56am

Let me explain :

I own a house in a very high priced city. We are ranked in the top 3 best places to live in Canada and the median home price here is around $300K  (to give you an idea, there is not one home/condo/apartment for sale in this city less than $130K).

I bought my home for $328 and invested probably $20k into it rennovating and doing the furnace. I still need to do a bathroom, recarpet a room and paint. I had it valued and they think I could get somewhere around $380-$390 for it since I am in a perfect pricepoint (starter home with great property).

The problem is this: I can't keep up with the house. I am single, work 70-80 hours a week with two large dogs and I am having huge issues trying to keep up with basic maintenance and gardening. I have resorted to hiring someone to do it fore me (it doesnt' help that I am allergic to grass and when I cut it I swell up like a balloon, even with my anthihistamine). The layout of the home isnt' very workable for me either, but I can deal with it for a while.

So here is the issue:

There is a new build happening in my city down by the waterfront. There are only 50 townhomes available and they will be previewing in the next few weeks. They start from the mid 300's and I have no idea how long the build would take (I would guess at least a year). I am seriously considering buying one. Here is my pro and con list:

- Pros: Brand new home in great location (less than 5 minutes to the lake and the shops in the city)

- Towhhome with no maintenance (there is a small maintenance fee of about $70 a month for landscaping, snow removal etc)

-Assuming I increase my mortgage to $350K (just to be on the high side) the weekly payment is the same as what it was in the beginning of the year so I know I can carry it

- Likely lower property taxes because its a townhome (TBD)

- Better chance for increasing value due to location (not banking on it)

- Have about a year to save/ pay down debt/ move (possibly more)

- Spoke with some agents and if I wanted to rent out the place, the townhome woudl be easier then the house.

Cons:

- Have to move

-Bigger mortgage

- Will need to invest about $5k to get this house ready for sale

- No guarentee what I will walk away with

- Will lost ~ $20K immediately due to real estate/ lawyers fees

- Will need extra $ to pay for things like central air/ blinds that do not normally come with new builds.

- Will increase the length of my mortgage slightly.

I can see from this list there are more cons than pros, but I'm going to be honest, I'm really considering this. The idea of living in this location is amazing (I drive down there on average 2 times a week to walk the dogs along the lake) and the fact that it will be so much more suited to my life is really making me wonder . . .

Okay folks . . . give me opinions, good bad or otherwise!


Bex -

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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2009

Hi Bex,

Sorry I'm late to the party here! I'm sure you have received a lot of input, but I thought I'd add my own, for what it's worth ...

Honestly - a lot of what you posted, while good for background, really has little to do with you. Based on current rankings, I live in the #1 city in Canada; the average home price is 346K. But not much of this has anything to do with my current situation. I bought a place that worked for me (long ago!) and never changed because it never stopped filling my needs. Did I ever get tempted? Sure! Are my wants different now? Kinda ... but not enough to go through the whole effort of getting the house ready to sell, selling it, buying a new one, moving, etc ... To be honest, the financial aspect of it is almost the last thing I'd consider.

I really think you need to take some more time to make this decision. How long have you been in the current place - less than 5 years, right? I know you had a different place before you moved, maybe for about that long as well? If you are looking for a forever place, think a lot longer ... but if you're just looking for a place for 3-5 years - maybe this will work out (the new place). Also - look at home much you have made or lost with these two homes you've owned. Consider what you have paid in the mortgage (including interest), upgrades, renovations, etc ... Will you get this money back at this rate? Probably not ... do you want to keep having to start again, building up equity?

Please don't think that townhome taxes will be cheaper - if the location is so good, the rate may be higher. And are your taxes not based on the price/value of the house? I don't see how this would save any money.

In the end, all our decisions have to be balanced between what will bring us the most happiness with what we can afford. If you can afford it but are unhappy - not good. If you can't afford it but it makes you happy - not good.

Well - I guess that didn't help much, did it? Sorry! Hope you give your decision a lot of thought. I just think it's a shame that you've put a lot into the place you have now and you haven't really reaped much benefit.

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