Remember how militant I was when I did my numbers on condo-buying versus renting?
I am thinking of a condo!
Now that we’re casually looking for something in Montreal to stay in and retire with for the rest of our lives, I’ve come up with a mini wish list.
A few rules:
We are buying for life.
No “starter” condos or homes here.
If we end up having 19 children like the Duggars, we will HAVE TO MAKE DO and stack them up like sardines.
ONE. HOUSE. FOREVER. until retirement anyway.
Nothing over our budget.
I mean it.
I’m looking at $500,000 maximum but my partner is edging up to $550,000 as his max.
We’ll see who wins because if the home’s selling price is more than 30% over the city’s estimation of value, I am putting my foot down and saying NO.
The maximum I can go up is $50,000 more but it better be for something ABSOLUTELY incredible and to get two parking spots, otherwise I want to be UNDER BUDGET for this particular big-ticket purchase, all the better if I can also have the option of paying cash in full for the house to get a discount / leg-up in the offers.
I will also be shopping when there’s snow on the ground, so that I weed out competition and know that the sellers are effin’ desperate to sell for some reason (bought another home, need to move, need the money, etc).
Did I also mention I plan on paying my half in cash?
As an even greater incentive to make sure we don’t blow the budget, I am aiming to pay for my half in cash.
Of course, this will mean that I need to work and save, so that I ALSO have a generous amounts in cash reserves after paying for my half.
I really hate debt. I just don’t want to pay interest if I can help it, unless it’s ridiculously low and I can make more even if I just invest in bonds.
I really don’t want my net worth to be 100% house though, so this is a concern.
Nothing with a condo fee that is above what I’d normally save in a maintenance fund
We did the math and it’s about $700 a month or $350 each.
My condo fees can’t be higher than that, and whatever is leftover from paying the condo fees, goes into my own personal condo fund.
Nothing where the value of the land is significantly lower than the current listed price.
I’ve seen homes that have the value of the land listed at $100,000 selling for $600,000. That to me, is ridiculous and a sign that the prices are way out of line.
- IN A QUIET AREA — Non-negotiable.
- No homes of any kind — I don’t want to take care of any lawns, driveways, be right up against neighbours, etc.
- Construction in thick concrete — I hate noise, and I do not want to hear neighbours, nor be in shoddy construction.
- Safe location — Safe neighborhood.
- A place with at least 2 parking spots — this one will be hard but I’m flexible on this, might have to pay more just for a second spot, to which I will justify a price increase.
- 2 bedrooms as a minimum — one for us, one for the kids (yes, for all of them!! ); guests can sleep in the kids’ rooms and the kids can sleep in the living room or on our floor if need be for the interim when people visit (if ever).
- 1 bathroom — It’s the minimum, no outhouses for me.
- A medium-sized kitchen — I don’t need it to be a massive designer monstrosity, but I want it bigger than a closet so I can comfortably move around in it without feeling claustrophobic.
- A comfortable, open, pleasing layout — I prefer a loft style but that depends on how the house is laid out
- 900 square feet minimum — this is a good size for bedrooms and enough space without being ridiculous; any bigger would be a bonus but not expected
- Public transportation within 15 – 20 minutes of walking (family will use public transit, because the kids will definitely be learning how to take a bus because I’m not a chauffeur).
Nice to haves:
- Nothing with a pool or a gym if possible — frankly, I hate these things and never use them.
- Within 15 minutes to a highway without being on it (we travel a lot and our client locations will change)
- Near a school if possible (elementary and secondary)
- Near a park or a major green space — so I can go walking around the neighbourhood or park if I feel like it
- A good view that doesn’t gross me out or make me sick (e.g. not facing a busy highway or a garbage dump)
- Extra half a bathroom — like an extra powder room with just a toilet and sink for when people take showers and someone else in the family needs to use the bathroom too
Everything else is cosmetic, like how sexy the kitchen is, hardwood floors, colour of the walls and it can all be changed if we truly hate it.
I think I can obtain all of that, except getting 2 parking spots might be a problem if I am buying a condo.
Most places come with only one parking spot, but perhaps we can make do somehow.
That doesn’t sound too unreasonable or picky, does it?