Monday, 14 October 2013

We bought a house..... in Canada!

Wow! We didn't really see this one coming, but after about 15 months of renting our condo (townhouse equivalent I think to the Aussies) the unit next door came up for sale. O'Hara and I had talked about buying on and off. We'd think about buying, then something would happen that would make us think we'd be home sooner rather than later. Then that would sort itself out and we'd start thinking again. Being an expat is like being on a roller-coaster of emotions. I'm slowly getting used to it!
Excuse the scrubbiness, but us drinking champas in our new house. I promptly smashed the bottom of the light.
The housing market in Canada (in Kamloops at least) is cheaper than it is in Australia. Vancouver is ranked one of the most unaffordable cities in the world, but I think part of that is to do with wages and I'm sure Sydney is up there as well. There is also often talk here about a housing bubble bursting because the interest rates are so low, but that seems to be a risk here and at home. The deciding factor for us was when we worked out we were paying about $200 a month more in rent than what a mortgage + property taxes + strata fees would be for exactly the same place.

So we did it! The whole process was fairly simple. We don't have Permanent Residency (or the application submitted) so we had to have a 20% deposit. We were able to use our contributed NRSPs. These are kinda the equivalent to super except we don't get a tax break because they aren't "registered". We may end up getting registered "RRSPs" now, because we shouldn't need to draw on the cash before we leave (famous last words no doubt...).

With a 20% deposit it meant we didn't have to pay mortgage insurance BUT we did end up having to pay Property Transfer Tax. If we had PR we wouldn't have had to pay this as we are first time home buyers. That was a fun little surprise as O'Hara was signing the paperwork 2 days before possession. Please, we actually need another $3,600... Luckily we had a good lawyer that told us we needed to pay it (after everyone else told us we didn't), otherwise we would have been pinged come tax time. Thank you Fulton & Company.

We went with a variable interest rate which may have been a bit risky, but we're only paying 2.6% at the moment so there's no complaining here. Now we just need to get a couch so we don't have to sit on dining chairs when we're at home! Unfortunately we just booked a trip to the UK, and I bought the new iPhone so it may take a while. I clearly have the right priorities.
The best way to move! To an empty lounge room with a view (now full of sh*t)
We have three things that were super exciting. 1) Our bed faces the other way so we have a much nicer view. 2) The condo was literally one across from our rental, so we just passed everything across the balcony. In Canada appliances come with the house even if you're buying, so Teresa we did not move the fridge this way! 3) The old Man Cave (they left the sign of rules - they're gone) is now a Sophisticave. It's the game room where we can hang out and drink scotch from the bar that's now there. Much better.
It's not creepy guys!
Visitors are welcome! You can stay in our shrine room for the non-existant child! You're welcome!

1 comment:

  1. When buying a house, it's smart and practical to think of your options first before jumping into the whole house buying bandwagon. And it's great to hear that you seek professional assistance when going through with your purchase, especially in your case as you are not permanent residents of Canada. You two did a great job here. Here's for the great times you're gonna enjoy in your new home!
    Denise @ Vancouver Canada Homes