Some people might think we live in our dream home right now, and we almost do. I’d say we are now one home away from our dream home. I really do love my home and so much about it. We live on a quiet street, our backyard backs on to a field so we have tons of privacy, we have an amazing back yard, great neighbours, a layout that works for us, and lots of space. However, it’s not my dream home. My ultimate goal is to move just 5 minutes south from here to a beautiful neighbourhood that I have fallen in love with. I know we won’t be moving anytime soon and I’m okay with that. It will take time to reach this goal, but knowing where we were just 5 short years ago, and where we are now, I know our goal is attainable.
Just five years ago, my husband and I were living in a one bedroom condo. We decided we wanted to be in a single-family home, so we traded in condo fees and bought a home with a basement suite, that needed work, just outside of our desired area. The benefit of this, was that we could put the money we were paying in strata fees towards our mortgage. We also bought a home with a suite, and while it wasn’t our first choice to rent the suite, we did and we used that income to also help pay our mortgage. While we lived there, we built equity in the home by making improvements to it (i.e., paint, updated kitchen, new carpet, etc.). We also chose a home that was just outside our desired neighbourhood. It was still in a location we really liked, but had the benefit of more affordable homes.
In summary, it was the following 4 key things that helped us move from a condo to a single-family home:
- Putting the money we were paying in strata fees towards a mortgage.
- Renting out a basement suite and using the money to help pay down our mortgage.
- Updating the home to build equity.
- Living 10 minutes outside our desired neighbourhood.
After building equity for a couple years, we made another move. This was also an upwards move as we moved into a bigger home, on a bigger lot, in a better location; this was a home with a lot of potential. However, that’s about all it had, was potential. I second guessed myself a lot during this process and it was very hard to leave our new kitchen and renovated home. Now, we’ve been in this home for two years and I love our home. To get this home to where we wanted it, we had to:
- Do a lot of projects and renovations.
- Be creative in design.
- Be patient while waiting and saving to do various projects.
- Be wise in the renovation projects we chose to do and the order in which we did them.
I know we will make more sacrifices and work hard to get to our dream home. It likely won’t be the design style we want, in fact, to afford it, it will probably be the worst house on the street. The ugly house. But that’s the house we actually want. That’s the house we will work hard on, make it our own, and build equity in the process. That’s how we will make it our dream home.
One of my favourite things about my personal real estate journey has been seeing the transition of the homes we’ve owned and working hard to make them our own. I know that in this real estate market, sometimes a dream can seem so far-fetched or unattainable, but please know that it’s not. I love sharing my experiences with others and one of the reasons I got into this profession was so I could help others reach their real estate goals too.
Fiona White – REALTOR® with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty