January 2020 has only a few days left. That was a little bit fast, right? There are things in our life that are moving fast as well. Who would have thought we will be dealing with homeownership during the first quarter of the year?
In November 2019, we started looking for our own place. This time, not just a house to lease but a home to be our own property. House hunting was exciting. House viewing was tiring, especially when you’re doing it from 7pm onwards to check out 3-4 houses that are listed on the market.
It’s not like we are getting kicked out from my in-law’s place, we just wanted our growing family to have our own space. With one kid, we couldn’t get all of our stuff inside my husband’s bedroom. Now that another baby is coming, it would be best to really move out of that bedroom.
But things did not go smoothly. We bid for a house that we liked. We were even given a second chance to compete with the other prospective client by raising our bid, but we failed to grab that property. Maybe, it’s just not really meant for us.
Then we revisited our finances. Could a single-income household really get into the housing market? Will we be able to cover every fixed bill and varying expenses that comes with homeownership? We already checked our status before meeting the real estate agent we were working with at that time, but we decided to step back and look more closely for another time.
With the recent house prices that we have seen, our estimate household expenses would go over the red line. This could lead to slowly piling up debts and drowning from its depth. No, We don’t want that to happen.
So, my husband and I searched over the internet and read A LOT of articles about the housing market and ways to finance your first home. We also looked into what are the benefits that we can take advantage of as a first time home buyer.
As we searched along, we stumbled upon Habitat for Humanity. My husband reached out to the team in the Durham region, but since we are not eligible based on their criteria, we were referred to their team in the Greater Toronto Area.
Habitat for Humanity is a non-government organization that supports families to acquire affordable homes. They partner with developers and other well-known companies to fund housing projects and screen families who can occupy each unit.
To cut the long story short, (yes, there is a need for a separate blog entry specifically for our experience with Habitat GTA!) we were recently offered a condominium unit located in downtown Toronto. “The call” happened a day before my husband’s birthday. It’s like a birthday gift sent from above.
One of the families had to back out from taking one of the unit. Now that there’s an available one, we were lucky that the people behind this project thought about us and filled us in before they announce to other families that ‘hey, we have an available unit that you may want to see and you’ll get it very soon’.
Very soon – to give you an idea of how soon it will be, well, my husband’s birthday is January 21st, while the tentative occupancy date is February 24th. Everything has to be done quite fast, from completion of paperwork in Habitat GTA and at our lawyer’s to mortgage approval. Also, did I mention that there are Habitat GTA homeownership workshops that we need to attend to as well?
More of this homeownership story next month! I will definitely update this blog when we get to finalize the deal. Isn’t this exciting?