I'm Officially a Homeowner in Toronto

September 7, 2016

My Big Secret Revealed! I’m Officially a Homeowner

I’m Jessica and I’m a money expert, speaker, Accredited Financial Counsellor Canada®, host of the More Money Podcast, and am currently writing my first book with HarperCollins Canada (2025).
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If you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you may have seen me hinting at some big news. Some people thought it was the announcement of my Millennial Money Meetup (which sold out in only two weeks!), but that actually wasn’t it at all.

I’ve been holding out on you big-time guys…I bought a place! And I even made my first ever YouTube vlog to share how it all went down. Make sure to subscribe to my channel, I’ve got some great videos in-store all about personal finance and being a new homeowner!

My First Ever Vlog!

Just like I mentioned in the video, it all went down incredibly quickly. My husband and I started talking about house hunting again seriously in late June. We thought we’d start checking out some places casually in July just to see what was out there. Neither of us thought we’d actually find something we’d end up purchasing on our first outing with our realtor.

Then again, from our past house hunting experience, we knew that if we found a place that ticked off all of our boxes and was within our budget, we needed to act fast. Places like the one we got do not come around often, and I am seriously so thrilled we’re living in this place!

What Kind of Place Did We Buy?

An important thing I didn’t mention in my vlog was what type of place we bought. We ended up buying a two-story stacked townhouse in Toronto’s west end. It’s stacked because there is another unit above ours, but we’ve been here just over a week now and so far we haven’t really heard them. No crying babies or loud kids thank god!

What’s even better about this place is the location. When we went to some open houses in early July it seemed like all the available townhouses were either right downtown or further north of the city. We’ve been living in Toronto’s west end for over 3 years and we really wanted to stay in our neighbourhood. It’s home to us, plus it’s really close to the subway line.

I don’t know how we lucked out, but we found a townhouse that’s maybe a 15-minute walk from our old apartment. It’s also really close to the subway line, and because we no longer have to wait for the elevator to descend 16 floors, my commute to work hasn’t changed at all! Who knew I was wasting so much of my life waiting for that damn elevator?

So How Much Did It Cost?

I know, it’s nice and all that I bought a place, but you’re wondering what the numbers are, right? I’m not gonna reveal the exact number (just because I’m a bit paranoid someone will be able to use that info to find out where I live!), but we ended up putting 25% down on a place in the mid-450s.

That may sound like a lot of money to you depending on where you live and what the housing market is like there, but honestly, we got a deal. If you want to buy a condo or townhouse with 2-bedrooms in Toronto, you’ll be hard pressed to find something below $500,000. So when we saw this place, we almost couldn’t believe it. The building itself is only 12 years old, it’s in a great location…but I guess some people may consider this an “up and coming” neighbourhood.

To us, it’s no big deal since we’re familiar with the neighbourhood. But let’s just say, it’s not like some of the suburb-in-the-city townhouses we looked at north of the city. I like a lot of graffiti anyway. Adds some spice to the city.

How Could We Afford to Put 25% Down?

Now, this is a bit of a tricky subject. I understand most people can’t afford to put such a big chunk of change down on a place, and as much as I’d like to say that it’s because we’ve been diligently saving up for this…that’s not entirely true. We have definitely been living on a budget and saving up as much as we could these past few years, but we did get some help.

Several years ago, a close family member of my husband’s passed away and left him an inheritance. At the time, we were still dating and living in Vancouver, and we didn’t know what the next few years were going to look like. So, my husband put that money into some investments, some squared away for his retirement, and some for a possible down-payment fund. That money grew a bit over the years and helped us big time when it came to putting down a sizeable down payment.

Why Did We Want to Put So Much Money Down?

When we were arranging things with our financial advisor, he was almost angry that we decided to put so much down. He told us debt was cheap, so why wouldn’t we just put 10% down and invest the rest?

Well, it honestly comes to our personal comfort level. We didn’t want a big mortgage. We both hate debt, and we want to be able to pay off our mortgage as soon as we can. Also, we didn’t want to be tied down to huge mortgage payments. Because we put so much money down, our mortgage payments are the same amount as our rent payments. Since my husband is a freelancer with an income that fluctuates, this gives us both some much-needed peace of mind.

What’s Next?

This whole home-buying process has been incredibly stressful and crazy. But it’s also been super exciting, and man are we learning a ton! Because we’re learning so much already, I can’t wait to share my experience with you. Watch out for a ton of blog posts and vlogs full of tips and tricks that I’ll be learning along the way.

So make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel, leave me some comments, and let me know what you think!

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add a comment

  1. Matthew says:

    Congratulations Jessica on becoming a homeowner

  2. Congratulations! It’s a huge achievement and good on you both for putting down a big deposit. It definitely relieves the stress on the repayments. Home ownership is the best, enjoy your new place!

    • Jessica Moorhouse says:

      Thanks! I honestly is still sinking in, but we did go back to our old apartment (we have it still for September annoyingly), and I was like “Oh ya, I’m so glad to be outta here!”

  3. Congratulations, Jessica! Fantastic news. I think you made the right move with a 25% down payment. I can certainly understand your advisor’s concern. However, if you can’t sleep at night over an investment decision (especially a huge mortgage) it’s clearly not the right choice. Personal finance is all about making the right decisions for you, even if that sometimes goes against popular opinion.

    • Jessica Moorhouse says:

      Exactly, and honestly, I didn’t give a crap what our advisor said. He’s pretty much a used car salesmen that we haven’t broken up with yet. Another video on that, that’s for sure!

  4. Casey says:

    Congrats on the new house!!! and for the record, I put down 30%. LOL. you gotta do what you are comfortable with sometimes 🙂

  5. Andrew says:

    Congrats on the new place Jessica! That is great you were able to find what you were looking for after all this time. Well done putting that much down on the house. Can’t wait for the upcoming tips and tricks.

  6. Rob says:

    Congratulation Jessica, your home (and decision) sounds great! Very happy for you!

  7. Jordann says:

    Congrats Jessica! Can’t wait to read about your experiences with homeownership. Also, if possible, you come across even better in video than you do on the podcast. Seriously, you are hilarious, keep it up.

    • Jessica Moorhouse says:

      Haha thanks for saying that Jordann. I was no joke sweating like crazy I was so nervous. Before I published it, I sent it to my younger sister to look at and she’s all up in what’s cool with YouTube and she said I needed to do more research and my background was ugly! Hahah. Oh sisters. They sure never sugarcoat things lol.

  8. Rob says:

    Congrats from me too, Jess! It’s a big step when buying that first house (just like it was for us when we were your ages and bought our first fully detached house back in Montreal – for the, to us back then, big sum of $23,900! – talk about inflation, eh?) 🙂

    You guys did the right thing in putting down that big 25% down payment. Like you, we hate debt as well. Since transferring to Toronto (and thus buying a more expensive house), we continued to eat away at our mortgage every chance we could. After 10 years we were mortgage free, in our late 40’s. I highly recommend that, in addition to investing and putting $ into your retirement savings, that you do the same thing. Why? Simply because the sooner you become debt free then the sooner you will become financially independent. Make sacrifices. It will be worth it. No telling what the economy will be like in the future.

  9. Carlos Henao says:

    That’s pretty awesome. Honestly, I would definitely suggest 20% or more if that’s possible. It’s not the interest rate, but rather the CMHC premium (charge) that I want to avoid.

    Let’s say you put down 20%. There is no CMHC charge, so you’re good.

    But if you put down only 10%, then there is a 2.4% CMHC charge you are paying. That’s 2.4% of the entire mortgage amount.

    Using your numbers, for a 450k home, 20% down is a 360k mortgage.

    10% down is a 405k mortgage. That’s an extra 45k mortgage.

    The CMHC charge is $9,720.

    In other words, the cost of borrowing an extra 45k is $9,720. That’s a 21.6% charge up front! Plus the interest rate.

    That’s painful! If this were charged by anyone other than a crown corporation (CMHC), I would wonder if this goes up against some loan shark law.

    In reality, IF the Toronto market keeps going up as quickly as it is nowadays, you would make that $9,720 back in increased value of the home pretty quickly. But you can’t count on that.

    If you don’t have 20% down, go ahead, put down what you can. Then set a plan to pay the mortgage off ahead of schedule.

    But if you can pay down 20%, DO IT! It’s expensive not to do so otherwise.

  10. Kate says:

    Congratulations Jessica! Good for you and your husband for being able to put that much down! I’ve heard so many horror stories of inheritances being blown by young people, and this is a great example of the benefits of being responsible with a sudden lump sum like that.

    • Jessica Moorhouse says:

      Thanks Kate! Oh, believe me, when it all happened, because there is a lot of emotion involved, my husband wanted to spend it on some crazy things. But in the end we settled for a vacation to Mexico at a resort for a week, then didn’t touch the rest. Maybe I’ll write about inheritances actually. That would be a good post.

  11. Congrats Jessica! Every time we catch ourselves looking at houses I have to stop because we want to be out of debt with a big down payment for the same reasons. Thanks for the motivation!

    • Jessica Moorhouse says:

      You can do it! Believe me, I really wanted to get out of our tiny one-bedroom apartment years ago, but we wanted to be smart and not be “house poor.” And I’m so glad we waited. We’ve got a great townhouse that’s ours and it’s not costing us all our money.

  12. Peter says:

    Congrats on the purchase .

  13. Congrats Jessica! That sounds like a hell of a deal! Being a homeowner is one of the more awesome things that I have done. I’m happy that it worked out for you. Keep with the updates; looking forward to hearing more.

  14. Jasmeen says:

    Hi Jessica,

    This is really a great news. Congrats on your new house. Try to get the debt off as quickly as possible. And then may be buy another one. 🙂

    Cheers to your success!


  15. Michelle says:

    Congratulations! Your financial advisor doesn’t have to pay your mortgage. I’m glad that you decided to do what was best for you.

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