Thursday, March 10, 2011

A step closer to bank slavery :)

I seem to go through these jags where I blog a lot and then take a break (in other words, long periods where I can’t be arsed). This seems to be one of those stretches where I’m inclined to tap the keyboard.

So anyway, without further ado. Yesterday I heard back from the mortgage broker. I hope it doesn’t sound arrogant to say that I wasn’t really too concerned I’d be turned down flat; my real concern was, being a single guy who’s middle aged now, what would anyone be willing to lend me? Turns out, a lot more than I expected. Now, mind you, the sum is amortized over 35 years, and doesn’t take condo fees into account, but that said, it approaches 300K. I was just hoping the clear the 175K hurdle… that’s the range at which older places that have the room and amenities I could be happy with become possible. I don’t want to spend anything like what they’re ostensibly willing to lend me; I couldn’t pay that off if I lived to be 90. But it’s sure good to know I can make this happen. It’s just figuring out what and how now, I suppose.

There’s a fairly nice town home not far from where I live now that’s for sale. It’s around 200K, and I’m not sure I want to spend that much, but the condo fees are lower than most places in towers (partly because you’re on your own for heat and electricity… but oddly enough, cable and water are inclusive). A couple of things I don’t like about it are that it’s ground level and the parking is surface. Now that I’m taking the subway to work and seeing my car on roughly a weekly, rather than a daily, basis, I’m not sure I want to leave it sitting in the open for a week at a time… that just feels like I’m begging for the thing to be stolen. Besides, I don’t really want to leave it sitting exposed to the weather, either. So much as I love the location, if the place doesn’t make me fall in love with it, it’s already a dubious prospect.

Not too far away are some substantial two-bedroom units near the Scarborough border. They’re between 175K and 185K. They seem to be about the same size as the apartment I’m renting, and the condo fees include pretty much everything but the net and the phone. The bus is right out the front door, goes to Yonge line, from which it’s one stop to work. Alternately another bus takes you to the Sheppard line I’m taking to work now. Either way, a bit longer than the commute I have now, but not that much. Parking’s underground, and no more leaving the apartment do laundry. I’m very much in favour of that. You wouldn’t believe it, but I’ve had about half a dozen t-shirts ripped off over the years. Some people really have no shame at all. Enough of that crap. There’s a supermarket and a drug store literally across the street. These places are top of my list right now. They’re both in the same building. Let’s just say I’m pretty interested.

Anyway, the real estate guy I’m working with is talking about bombing through five places in two hours, probably tomorrow night. I wonder what it’ll be like. Will I see some place I really want and die a little knowing I realistically can’t afford it (no matter what some bank thinks)? Will I hate the places I probably could afford? Or will I maybe be lucky and find a place I can really imagine settling into and loving, and being able to afford at the same time? It’s kind of exciting. I wish I’d done this five or ten years ago, though. Probably couldn’t have ten years ago, but five? Possibly. Wish I hadn’t put it off. Well, I haven’t done it yet, either! And if I don’t see any place I like, I guess I still won’t. Much as I’d like to stop wasting money renting, I don’t want to just grab a place I hate and have to try to unload sometime, somehow.

So there it is. Another milestone. Even if I don’t buy anything, I’ve taken the steps. Someone’s shown me a place. I’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage. I’m actually flirting with home ownership and I’m getting winks and kisses blown back. Nice feeling. But aside from marriage, hard to imagine a more real, grown-up thing to do. That’s still a little scary… though not as scary an idea as it used to be, years ago.

Well, we’ll see.


jim said...

Look at it as no longer flushing your rent money away!

I think it's important to keep a balance between your rational and emotional minds. So when you find yourself reacting primarily emotionally to a property, ask yourself how your rational self is responding. And vice-versa.

Lone Primate said...

That's what I keep telling myself... and have for years. Yeah, it's a lot of money, but at the end, you own something. You can use it if you have to. Renting, you just didn't freeze to death outdoors for another four weeks... but that's it.

I expect this evening is when we'll do this grand tour the real estate guy has in mind. I don't know whether to hope something really strikes my fancy, or to think of this as a spring and summer project. If I don't like any of these five, with this market, it's kind of a waiting game.