I was pre-approved for a purchase price of between $200,000 - $210,000 if I went with a less than 5-year fixed rate, or $240,000 - $250,000 pricetag if I chose a 5-year fixed mortgage. Since any figure begining with a 2 scared me, considering my new lower income in addition to the added expense of a car, my realtor and I went on the hunt for a home between $175,000 and $190,000.
Through my online home search before the househunt began I knew exactly what type of place we'd be looking at....an building outside of downtown with 1 or 2 bed condos with 1 parking spot or a 2+1 semi-detatched or townhouse either in Ottawa or surrounding areas (read: Orleans, Kanata) with parking for about 2 vehicles.
My realtor sent me about 10 listings we were going to see on "house hunting day". They were exactly the type of home I'd expected.....except one. Let's start with the nine other listings. Only 2 had air conditioning....and not the central air I'm used to, but a large built-in window unit. All had baseboard heating.
Two of the listings I liked and could see myself in. The first was a recently renovated 1 bedroom listed for $168,500 (yey, under budget!). Condo fees were $269 and taxes were $1,507. Hydro extra. The building was older (as I'd expected), but it had a pool and an gym, although the machines were really old. The vibe I got of the building was less than stellar....it screamed RENTERS. I don't have anything against renters, but in this condo it didn't feel as though the owners were doing everything they could to make the building presentable. Monthly cost of this condo: approximately $1,065 incl. insurance (10% down, 30 year amortization @ 2.6%).
The second listing I liked was a 2+1 townhouse located in Bell's Corners near Kanata. The condo was very clean, recently updated, and located in a good complex. List price for this unit was $189,900. Condo fees were $230 and taxes were $1,800. Hydro extra. Hydro bills for this 3-level home were estimated at $165/month. Monthly cost of this condo/townhouse: approximately $1,250 incl. insurance (10% down, 30 year amortization @ 2.6%).
The condo I fell in love with was our last visit of the day. All I could think about all day was this condo. It is a new construction boutique style complex with 16 units. My unit is a 593 sq. ft. 1 bedroom including the balcony. Finishing standards of the condo were hardwood floors throughout, 6 appliances, and granite counters in both the kitchen and bathroom. The condo is about 11km from work and about 400m from what will be the largest Ikea in North America, and my favourite store, Chapters! I paid an additional $1,500 to upgrade to stainless steel appliances, bringing the final price of the condo to $191,400. Condo fees are $75/month, and taxes will likely fall between $1,700 - $2,100 (I'll have to wait until MPAC assesses the condos and it's determined by the City of Ottawa. My only issue with the condo is that it doesn't come with parking, so I'll have to get a permit from the city. Coming from Toronto though, where so many 1 bedroom condos built now don't have parking, it's something I can live with.
My monthly costs including mortgage, estimated taxes, insurance, gas/hydro/water will be approximately $1,083 -- an amount I can definitely live with!