Thursday, April 21, 2011

Condo Price #2

Now I'm confused!!!

My second loft expert came to view my place on Tuesday evening.  He came well prepared (PowerPoint presentation and all) and he's well versed in my building.  His company had originally sold the lofts from the developers to the original buyers.  He's also sold my unit before.

I'd have loved for him to have seen the condo before I purchased it.  I was trying to explain that it showed horribly -- a makeshift platform bed, no place to eat, dirty, bad use of space, etc. 

His first words were "you'll definitely lose money on this".  However, the more questions I'd asked, such as "are there any other lofts listed for under $200,000 in Toronto?" and "how many first time single buyers come to you looking for a loft in this price range" the more he changed his tune price-wise. 

So, we went from a potential list price of $175,000 (what I'd paid for it) to the idea that we could try and put it on the market at $199,000 since I'd have no competition. 

Like I'd mentioned after the first visit, even if I did sell for $194,000 I'd be making just less than $5, my mind, not worth it.  The only reason I'd sell is to be able to get into a larger place and renovate it. 

That got me thinking: what if I sold it on my own and saved the realtor fees.....

Comfree/formerly By The Owner offers packages for sellers to go at it without a realtor.  For $299+tax I would get:
- a listing on their site for 6 months
- email alerts to potential buyers
- listing on (an extra $179)
- 7 day display on the featured listings page
- 10 professional photos taken
- access to real estate lawyers to answer questions
- directional signs/lawn signs - nice, but according to my condo regulations I can't use this anyways!

Saving even 2.5% (sellers commission) would be helpful to the bottom line - that's potentially $5,000 extra in my pocket.  My parents sold our childhood home without a realtor, so I know that it is possible.

Do you have any experience selling a home without the use of a realtor??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Til Debt Do Us Part: Home Edition

Let me just say that I'm loving HGTV's new Til Debt Do Us Part Home Edition!  I'd loved the original show and Princess, so I was thrilled when the show premiered a few weeks ago.

Thank gosh though that this show wasn't on before I purchased my condo.  Despite having $17,500 for a downpayment and approximately another $10,000 for closing costs, a few repairs, renos, and furniture I don't think that I could have pulled the trigger if this show was around then.

It has for me though stressed the importance of having an emergency fund, so before next month I'm going to sit down and see if I can contribute more than the standard $400/month I've been doing to get it up to my ideal amount of $10,000.

Have you watched Gail's new show?  If so, what do you think so far?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Condo Price #1

Last night I had the first realtor/"loft specialist" visit the condo to give me an idea of it's updated value.  This particular realtor had visited the condo with one of his buyers before I purchased it.  He was surprised at the small amount of money I'd invested to make the transformation possible. 

The listing price he'd have it listed at is $199,000. 

To refresh your memory I paid $175,000 for it back in February. 

Don't get me wrong, it's great to hear that I could list it $25,000 more than what I paid for it just a short 2 months ago.  HOWEVER, I am not rushing out to make a sale.  Listing at $199,000 doesn't mean it would sell for that much.  Plus, I was just looking to have a better idea of it's value to calculate my own net worth, but it's tempting to make a bit of cash.

Hypothetical Selling Scenario:
Listing price - $199,000
Sale price - $195,000
Real estate commission (5% plus HST) - $11,017
Legal fees - $1,400
Mortgage discharge- $930
Mortgage - $159,595
Remaining: $22,000

When I purchased the condo I paid a $4,000 deposit and brought an additional $13,500 to closing to cover the remainder of the downpayment.
Profit: $4,500 
** This figure is actually less - I paid approx. $1,000 in lawyer fees and $200 for an inspection

Not too shabby for 2 months worth of ownership!  Alas, I am not in a rush to sell, so I will update my net worth on the home asset line to $180,000 to reflect the new value.

How much money would you have to make to consider selling your home?

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Weekend: Cooking, Cleaning, and Green Living!

My weekend was busy, busy, busy.  In anticipation of my realtor visits today and tomorrow night I got started on some spring cleaning.  I'd been meaning to shuffle around my kitchen cabinets since the day I moved in, but put it off for quite some time.  It's nice now to have things I access more that once a day on the bottom shelf instead of pulling out the step ladder whenever I make tea.  I did everything from scrub the bathroom floors and shower to polish the new wood floors. 

I did a BIG (for me!) grocery store run this weekend and cooked/froze up a storm for meals to cover me the next 2 weeks.  No Frills had a great sale on chicken breasts - I managed to snag 15 for just over $16.  My best meal of the weekend was a dish with roasted chicken breast, green beans, and sweet potatoes. 

Yesterday I attended the Green Living Show.  Along with April's Metropass in the mail came a free ticket to the show (regular price: $12).  I brought along $20 from my entertainment budget for spending money.  I walked away with 2 boxes of organic tea and 1 bottle of dressing/marinade that I'll pair with a quinoa salad first.  The tea will be part of my Mother's Day gift to my Mom.  There were so many food/beverage samples at the show that I ate my lunch there as well - at a cost of $0!! 

All in all, it was one great weekend.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Net Worth Goals

I reported yesterday that my current net worth is approximately $22,428.  Being that I'm now 28, I wondered what a "good" net worth would be by the time I'm 30.

So, I did some digging on the internet.

Based on a Survey of Financial Security undertaken in mid-2005 by Statistics Canada leading into retirement the median net worth by the age of major income recipient of the household was:
     Under 35 – $15,000
     35 to 44 – $140,000
     45 to 54 – $230,000
     55 to 64 – $407,000

Fast forward to 2009, when Money Sense looks into median net worths based on data from Stats Canada:
     Under 35 - $25,000
     35 to 44 – $145,000
     45 to 54 – $245,000
     55 to 64 – $420,000

Presently I am single with no children.  Since this may not always be the case, I've come up with a net worth goal for the next 5 years at age 30 and 33 considering the same scenario:
     Age 30 (August, 2012) - $33,000
     Age 33 (August 2015) - $55,000

I don't know if these figures are too low/too high/realistic, but writing a number down makes me accountable!

Have you set a personal net worth goal?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Calculating the Net Worth

Now that my net worth calculation includes + and - values, I want to get a clear picture of where I stand financially.

My line items include:
RRSP - 840.00
TFSA - 690.00
Various Savings - 915.00
Home - 180,000 (?)
Mortgage - 160,017

* I operate on a zero-based budget, so any money in my chequing account is already accounted for towards bills or savings.

Total: $22,428

Since purchasing my condo I've done a number of renovations and improvements.  I guessed that those improvements in addition to the fact that the condo showed very poorly when I purchased it has increased its value by $5,000.  According to the Toronto Real Estate Board the average resale condo price for the month of March was up 8% from the same time last year, so perhaps a small increase there.

Instead of making a guess as to what the value of my condo is, I'm having an expert come check it out.  One real estate company in Toronto handles exclusively lofts, so next week I'll have a realtor come and give me his opinion.  His company has sold many of the units in my building, so I'm confident that I'll have a realistic figure. 

Tomorrow's post: Net Worth Goals

Monday, April 11, 2011

My No Spend Weekend

This weekend was the first in a long time where I found myself spending absolutely no money.

Why?  I was laid up in bed with a respiratory virus that seems to be spreading around.  I'm still on the mend and likely will be for another couple of days, so my appologies for the short posts.

A few positives did happen over the weekend though:
- Friday I recieved in the mail my property tax over-payment ($175.34)
- The seller of my condo dropped off the money owed for having the plumbing/dishwasher issue fixed ($395.50)
- I had earmarked $35 towards going out on Friday night with former colleagues, but since that didn't happen, I'll move that money into my travel fund.

How was your weekend?

Thanks to everyone who has voted for me! I'm slowly catching up to the other entries.  If you haven't voted yet please do!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Readers: I Need Your Help!

One of my daily website visits, outside of the personal finance blogging world to Apartment Therapy.  I love getting a glimpse into other people's homes for design ideas and inspiration.

Each year Apartment Therapy runs a contest called Small Cool Spaces.  Since I've really made my new condo to my taste, I thought 'why not enter'?  I recieved an email this morning from the editors saying that I made it into the contest!!

I need your votes!!!

Voting runs until May 1st and once logged into the site you can vote until the 1st.  Since my condo just got posted today I'm a bit behind my competitors in voting, so your help is appreciated!

Thanks for your vote!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Saved by the Offer to Purchase

Since the day I moved into the condo my dishwasher hasn't worked properly.  After each load the bottom of the dishwasher would be full of yucky water.  After a few calls to Whirlpool and following their recommendations the issue still wasn't resolved.

So, I took a look back at my offer to purchase the condo.  Appliances like my dishwasher were included specifically in the agreement to purchase and the fact that they needed to be "in good working order".  My dishwasher....was....not.  So, I had my real estate lawyer send a letter to the seller making them aware of the issue (they had a renter living here before I purchased), and advising them that they needed to take care of the problem.

An appliance repairman came by last night (he was highly recommended on HomeStars) and found the problem immediately.  It wasn't actually the dishwasher.  Before closing the buyer had a plumber (or his brother, who knows) come in and repair a crack in the drain that the dishwasher hose empties into.  The plumber, instead of replacing the part tried to fix the crack with glue.  He used so much glue though that it went into the drain and is now blocking flow from the dishwasher.

Fast forward to today where I'm sitting in my living room waiting for a Mr. Rooter plumber to come and replace the part, all at the expense of the former owner.  Goes to show you that even after closing on a home the fine print in the Offer to Purchase can protect you, the buyer. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yet another budget re-jig

I've had to re-jig my monthly budget again.  I've been contemplating for more than a year whether or not to get a cell phone.  The One of a Kind show this weekend (I was running late, but had no way of letting my friends know) pushed me over the edge, I called Rogers and signed up for a wireless plan.

I currently have a home phone which costs each month just over $35 including taxes.  With the new discount I'm recieving with the Rogers wireless plan my phone will cost just over $55 including taxes each month.  I will be moving my home phone number over to the new phone when it arrives.

For $67/month + tax - discounts here's what I get:
- Blackberry Curve 9300 in violet ($9.99 on 3 year contract)
- 200 minutes
- unlimited social networking -- facebook, twitter, flickr
- caller ID, messaging, texting (video and photo)
- unlimited my 10 Canada-wide **most of my calls are long-distance, so this is what sold me
- unlimited evenings and weekends after 6pm
- 1GB data

To find the extra $20 (or so) per month for the new plan I'll likely take it out of my entertainment budget.  Over the weekend I'm going to investigate free financial apps out there!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My No-Excuse Fridge!

A few weeks ago I bought my lunch each of the 5 days of the week I worked. Why?  It was "easier" to buy than to think about what to make for lunch.  I'm kicking myself thinking of what I could have done with that $50.

This weekend I got organized, planned each lunch and dinner to last me the next 10 days, and did a big grocery shop.  I like variety in my lunches.  I'm not a sandwich 5-days-a-week kinda girl.  Next week here's a couple of ideas of what I'll be packing:
- Veggie quesadilla (Mon)
- Pasta Fagioli soup (Tue)
- Butternut squash with seared scallops (Wed)
- Spinach salad with chicken (Thu)
- TBD (Fri - likely leftovers from Thursday's dinner)

By planning in advance I'm aiming for the month of April not to eat out at all.  Think of all that money I'll be saving!!

This is one well-stocked fridge!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend Roundup

This weekend was one filled with friends, family, and fun....on the cheap of course!

Friday: Blue Jays game with my Aunt - $10.75 spent on a beer (Aunt bought ticket)
Saturday: Dinner out with family - $0.00 (Mom paid for dinner!)
Sunday: One of a Kind Craft Show with high school friends from back home - $9 ticket, $13 food/gelato

Weekend costs: $32.75 - money well spent on what I did buy, and I was grateful to my Aunt and Mom for covering the other costs.

What's up for this week: Former colleague coming to visit, volunteering, part-time job interview (will post about after the interview). 

How was your weekend?

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Goals

It's hard to believe that April is already here.  The year thus far has just flown by.

I've put together my goals for the month:
- Attend 2 free events in the city
- Make $150 extra for my travel fund
- See friends from home (at least) once
- Go to the gym 16 times
- Spend money on a lunch out a maximum of 2 times (spend $20 max for both)
- Design tutoring service signs/web posting.