Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kitchen Reno Budget

My soon-to-be new home has some amazing elements to it - high ceilings, exposed ductwork, floor to ceiling windows - but it definitely has some downsides as well. 

My top 4 dislikes about the condo are:
1) Floors - very light, cheap looking laminate
2) Backsplash - or lackthereof
3) Kitchen Counter - old looking, blue colour
4) Shower - it's not a tub!

The floors will be redone the day after I close.  Thanks to my Mom for purchasing the floors and my Dad for installing them.

The kitchen will be next on my to-do list.  According to Rona, the cost of a kitchen renovation should be calculated as a ratio of the value of your house. Generally, between 6% and 10% of your house's declared value represents a reasonable cost for the purchase and installation of new kitchen cabinets.  In my case the kitchen reno budget will be significantly less.  I'm budgeting for $800, with an extra $200 as a just in case.

I don't have much work to do, but I am looking to replace the countertop and add a backsplash.  The countertop looks straightforward - it will run along only one wall, so no corners.  The backsplash will run along 2 walls.  My plan is to take measurements of both the counter and the backsplash area before closing and visit the Toronto Home Show around the same time to shop around suppliers. 

Have you been able to stick to home renovation budgets?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weekly Spending: Jan. 31 - Feb. 6, 2011

Jan. 31: No Spend

Feb. 1: No Spend

Feb. 2:
$57.42 - No Frills

Feb. 3:
$12.57 - Shoppers (sniffles and a cough)

Feb. 4: No Spend

Feb. 5:
+ $50.00 - Dresser sale
$21.41 - Milk/Juice Pitcher
$20.34 - Jewlery hanger
$10.17 - South Street Burger
$26.11 - 2 sports bras (Nike sale was 70% off)
$46.76 - Decorative silver airplane
$14.86 - Book

Feb. 6:
+ $70.00 - Coffee Table sale
+ $15.00 - Shoe Rack Sale
$19.92 - Pizza Pizza

Overall: $94.56 spent.  This week there were some definite non-essentials purchased.  My "decor" budget for the new condo is $500 and I'm sure that I will stay within that amount.  I sat down this weekend and came up with a budget for the kitchen as well, so this week I'll be doing my research locating a new counter and backsplash.  My flooring budget was $500, but my Mom will be generously purchasing the flooring for me, and the install will be done by my Dad with me assisting.

(photo of the jewelry hanger)

Friday, February 4, 2011

All Conditions Met

Yesterday afternoon I signed off on the last condition on my offer to purchase.  My lawyer reviewed the status certificate and attachments on the condo and gave me the green light.  The condo's expenses and budget balance, and they're growing the reserve fund to meet expected costs over the next 10 years or so.  In order to do this my condo fee will increase each year by less than $5 -- yey!

So, the house is officially sold to me!  We close on February 23rd, so the packing now begins.

Since I'm moving into a roughly 370 sq ft space I've really had to be creative with my furniture.  My Dad and I did an Ikea run this week and I purchased about $900 worth of new pieces.  The photo below is one of their entertainment centres, which I will double as a dresser.  Once the insert doors are placed inside the boxes, voila, a dresser.

This weekend's agenda: couch/sleeper shopping!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

2 Conditions Down.....1 To Go

After signing off yesterday on the condition that I was able to get a mortgage, the final condition needs to be met by 5:00pm tonight.  Once my real estate lawyer has reviewed the condo's Status Certificate and Attachments look good in his eyes, I can sign off, making all conditions fulfilled.

What is a Status Certificate you ask?
The status certificate is a document, as per the Ontario Condo Act, that provides a stack of information on rules, declaration, by-laws, budget, reserve fund, insurance, management contract, minutes of the last annual general meeting, mention of any lawsuit involving the corporation, and any arrears or lien that a particular suite might have.  (source)

It'll be another nerve wracking day before I get the go ahead to sign off!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Decision Time: Fixed or Variable?

My mortgage papers came through yesterday - I have to decide before I sign off on them whether I am going with a fixed or variable rate.

Here are the numbers:
Fixed: 3.99%
Variable: 2.3%

Paying 3.99% monthly on a mortgage of $160,957 (principal, CMHC insurance, HST on said insurance) = $845.79.  Paying 2.3% on the same mortgage = $705.10.

Once the paperwork is back with the accurate downpayment amount what I'm planning on selecting is the variable rate mortgage, but make my payments as if I had signed up for the fixed rate.  If the variable rate hovers around 2.3% for even just a year I will have paid down an "extra" $1,688.28 on my principle.  If I continue this throughout the mortgage I'll reduce the amortization period by about 6 years.  I'll also be selecting bi-weekly payments, reducing the length of the mortgage by another 2-3 years.

Looking at the numbers, would you have done the same?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ignoring Today's Horoscope

I am an avid daily reader of my horoscope in the Globe and Mail.  I can sometimes relate what the horoscope says to real life, other days not to much.

Today's horoscope read:
    Check the small print before putting pen to paper today because someone could be trying to trick you into believing that you are getting a really good deal when, in fact, you will end up losing out. You don’t have to sign.

If I had a truly vested interest in my horoscope I might have been a bit freaked out.  Why?  Today was inspection day on the new condo.

My dad was great enough to make the drive up for the inspection - which lasted all of 30 minutes in a 400sq ft condo.  The inspector recommended replacing the hot and cold hoses leading into the washer, and a part of the piping below the kitchen sink.  Very easy fixes according to my dad (who has a lot of experience in the renovation worls - we were even in a reno magazine once).  So, my inspection clause is now gone.

The only hurdles left are: lawyer signing off on the status certificate and the mortgage confirmation.  I have a phone call planned with my mortgage broker to schedule an appointment to sign the papers - it looks like my provider will be First National Mortgage.

I have a feeling I'll be addressing that for Wednesday's post!