October 5, 2016

[Ep. 63] What It’s Really Like to Be a New Homeowner

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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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This episode is sponsored by DUCA. Learn more about DUCA’s Community Hero mortgage, the first social purpose mortgage in Canada.

In my first episode (and first solo episode) for season 3 of the More Money Podcast, I shared with you the big news that my husband and I bought our very first place.

After one failed house hunt two years ago, we restarted our search in July and ended up buying a townhouse in Toronto. Not only that, we were able to put in 25% for our down-payment so we could keep our monthly payments as low as possible.

Well, since I recorded that episode at the beginning of September, a lot has happened. We’ve owned our home for 1 1/2 months, and we’ve already experienced quite a few ups and downs as new homeowners.

Some of the Not So Fun Things About New Homeownership

Overall, we are still super happy with our decision, but it has hands down been the most stressful period in our lives (save for maybe planning our wedding 3 years ago).

You know when people warn you that things are gonna go wrong and break when you buy a place so be prepared? Well, they did, and we are seriously so glad we were prepared!

At the end of the episode, I offer some tips I believe everyone thinking of buying a place should consider. One of those tips was to have a special emergency fund for housing repairs and replacements that you’ll need to do right away.

For us, we had to replace our washer/dryer and stove within the first week of moving in. How much did that cost? About $3,000! But we need clean our clothes and cook our food so we had to replace them both ASAP.

Luckily, we had the cash stashed away so we could afford it. If we didn’t, we may have had to dip into our other emergency funds (for real emergencies or job losses), or had to put them on credit. Since I am 100% anti-debt (though now I guess I’m not totally debt-free with my mortgage), that just wasn’t an option for me.

How You Can Easily Get Swept Up into a Never-ending Spending Cycle

Besides having to drop some major cash after getting the keys, our place has pretty much been total chaos since we moved all of our stuff in. We’ve been here almost 2 months and we still have boxes everywhere. Why? Because it takes a lot of time to unpack a house, and my husband and I work pretty much around the clock.

I’m hoping that this weekend, which is Canada’s Thanksgiving long weekend, I’ll be able to get a few major things down around the house, but the list keeps getting longer and longer.

For instance, our place is considered a 2-bedroom with a den. However, the den is really just this awkward alcove waste of space. Ideally, we’d like to convert it into something more useful by expanding the second bedroom and adding a linen closet. But again, in order to even find out if this is a possibility with our housing corporation, we have to hire a contractor to draft up the plans for us.

We also have to replace the backsplash in our kitchen. The previous owners had this ugly wallpaper as a backsplash, and one night I just couldn’t stand looking at it anymore so I ripped it all off. So now the wallpaper is gone, but I still need to put up a new backsplash. Then again, the countertops are also pretty ugly. And I don’t really like the cupboards either. Maybe we should look into redoing the whole kitchen?

Do you see how being a new homeowner can be chaotic, stressful, overwhelming, and expensive all at the same time?

Just So You Know, New Homeownership Isn’t All Smiles & High-fives

But I’m not sharing all this with you to scare you! I’m just letting you know that buying your first place does not look like any of these stock photos.

Sure, there are some smiles and high-fives. But there’s also a lot of hair pulling, teeth grinding, bickering, and sleepless nights.

But Overall, I’m Still So Happy to Be a Homeowner

Even with all that said, I’m still super happy and proud to be a homeowner. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, and I hope in the future we’ll be able to buy more properties to rent out too. And I know it won’t always be this chaotic. Things are slowly starting to settle down. For instance, as I type this right now I’m in my very own office, which I haven’t had for over 3 years. Even since we moved to Toronto, the living room has been my husband and I’s shared office. Now, we finally have some space and privacy.

I’ll most likely do another update podcast episode at either the 6-month or 1-year mark. Until then, make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel as I’ll be posting some new videos soon all about life as a new homeowner!

For more podcast episodes, check out the podcast page.

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