Friday, February 15, 2013

dreaming through the mls

Given all the time we've spent over the past month or so discussing finances and money and how that relates to our current and future living situation, it was time Bunny and I started seriously thinking about places to live when we leave my mother's basement. With the savings I've managed to come up with in the past couple of months and the fact that freelance money seems like it's going to be flowing pretty steadily for Bunny in the forseeable future we're starting to lean back towards waiting and buying a home; the nice fact of all this indecision is it gives us time to sit put and save while we make up our minds, and either way buying a home is a ways out.

We've both been looking at local listings lately, browsing the MLS on the web together and separately, feeling out more realistically what's available in the area. We've arrived at two really clear conclusions.

First, homes that are pretty dreamy (as in perfect kitchens, nicely designed, and with the more open concept feel that we've become fond of) are outside of our price range - but that's not a surprise. What's surprising is that they're not as far out of reach as we thought: the dream home sweet spot in our area tends to run between $250-300,000. We can't really see ourselves being comfortable spending more than $225,000 max (and that's pushing it) when we are ready to buy. Unless one of us doubles our income, but that just doesn't look realistic right now. So we're not going to get in a dream home with our first house, but that's no surprise to either of us. While I'm not a fan of house hopping and selling every five years, it's not unreasonable to think that in 10-15 we might be ready to sell and move up a little and the houses we love aren't too far from our starting point.

What is surprising is realizing that decent, liveably homes in the area are sometimes listed as low as $150-175,000. Below what we were hoping to spend, eventually. Listings at this price are available in a lot of areas including the same neighbourhood our parents live in. The idea of being a 10 minute walk away from our moms is inticing, though so is the idea of being clear across town. There are even homes just down the street from my office which is also a pretty accessible part of town in this range. The layouts aren't as open as we'd like and most of the houses we've been seeing online would need a few coats of paint and eventually I'd want to replace the cabinet doors in the kitchen, but they look liveable and they all live up to the standard set by the old townhouse we loved.

All said and done, I think we're leaving more towards waiting and buying. It's still an ongoing discussion and it probably will be right up until we close on a house. Then I'm sure they'll be negotiations about what we want to upgrade first and years down the line we'll be debating about how long to stay. It's feeling hopeful though and we're feeling pretty bright about the whole concept.

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