A condominium townhouse, more specifically. Two weeks ago I went to the bank, got my credit rating checked, and was pre-approved for a mortgage at one percent below prime (having no student loans, no balance on my credit card, no line of credit, no outstanding bills, no debt whatsoever, comes in handy). I also have a sizeable sum of money, left to me by my grandparents through an inherinance, which I’m putting towards a down payment. The good thing is that the down payment is more than 25% of the mortgage, so I won’t have to spend a couple of grand on mortgage insurance alone. Within a few days, I had a real estate agent keeping an eye out for properties for me. One morning, she sent me the profile of a place a little east of downtown, complete with a series of eight pictures or so. The place looked great, so I got a viewing booked that same day.
The house has two floors. The main floor has an eat-in kitchen, powder room, dining area, and living room. The lower floor has the master and second bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a storage closet. Out back is a little patio with enough room for a barbecue, and a lawn that can fit enough patio furniture for a small gathering. The profile listed six appliances included with the house; stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, washer, and dryer. There was only one previous owner, and he was a non-smoker. Everything was clean, solid, new, and, most importantly, comfortable. It was a place I could see myself living at for the next few years, and I had a feeling that this was the right one. Even though it was the first place I actually went to go see, I made a bid that evening. At the end of the night, after a bit of negotiation on the purchase price, my bid was accepted, and a closing date was set for the middle of March.
In order to protect me, my agent drew up the offer with four conditions; finance, insurance, inspection, and approval of status certificate. I waived the first three conditions within four days. My finances were already approved with the bank, although I did a little bit of extra negotiating on the rates and saved myself a considerable amount of money (based on a 20 year period of todays rates). I also already had a blanket insurance policy through the condo management, and I was satisfied with the house inspection, which found no major problems.
The approval of status certificate took a little longer, because I had to review the status certificate with my lawyer, and there were a few complications. The main complication was an on going lawsuit between the building company and the government. It turns out that the patios and balconies need to be rebuilt because of a mistake in the materials used. If the building company is found at fault, they will be footing the bill for the repairs. If they are not at fault, all condo owners in the area will have to pay a considerable sum, most likely as an increase in monthly condo fees. I got my lawyer to do a holdback in trust, for an amount slightly higher than the estimated repair cost, with the seller getting the residual. My agent got the seller to agree to this (as an amendment to the offer of purchase), so I won’t have to pay for these repairs no matter what the outcome of the lawsuit. The beauty of this is that property values in the area are expected to increase more than three times the cost of repairs, once the repairs are all done. I waived the final condition, two days ago, which made the deal firm and binding.
It’s a buyers market right now (no one wants to move in the middle of all this snow), so I got the house at an amazing price. While all of this was happening, my bank did an appraisal, and estimated the value to be considerably higher than what I paid for it. On paper, I’ve already covered the cost of land transfer tax, lawyers fees, and made enough money to buy car.
I will be able to walk to work. Across the street is a series of plazas, including a Timmies, a 24-hour Loeb, an M&M Meat Shop, a Wendy’s, a McDonalds, and a Pizza Hut. Right outside my door, not more than a ten second walk, is the bus stop for the #2, which can be taken downtown all the way to the west end where I am now. I’ll also have a parking spot, which I’ll try to rent out to someone in the area with two cars. My monthly condo fees cover maintenance, so I’ll never have to shovel snow or mow the grass.
Trolley will be renting a room from me to help cover my mortgage. I decided to amortize over 20 years, although it actually comes out to 18 years and 11 months because I’ll be making bi-weekly payments. I chose 20 years to be a little conservative (even though I’m on a fixed rate), because there are a few things I can do to pay down my mortgage quicker once I’m more comfortable with all the bills. My goal is to pay it off by the time I’m 40, and only move to a larger place when I can afford it or when this condo appreciates enough to keep my mortgage payable within the next 15 years.
Can’t wait to move in.