May 17, 2006

Squirrels in wigs and a quarter million dollars

It's been a busy, busy week at work. The warm weather and lighter evenings are upon us - and with them it seems, comes a dramatic increase in our work load. Last night was no exception and I am soooo grateful that I now have a few days off to recharge my batteries.

My plans for the next few days will undoubtedly include a pile of housework, a little WoW time, and if the weather co-operates, a little gardening. The yellow "caution" tape is up around my front garden. Thankfully (for once) it is not an indication of a police "crime line", but more of a "keep off the grass" as I try to coax the new grass seed to take root. My battles with the squirrels will no doubt resume in full force once I get all the bedding plants in. I tried using human hair last year as a deterrant (old wives tale) - needless to say it didn't work. I am sure there is a little squirrel running around out there with a gorgeous red wig on it's scrawny tree-climbing-rodent-head. This year I may be tempted to try a more modern application and check out my local garden centre for some pesticides/repellents - yeah gimme those chemicals.

My first tentative steps - more like tiny fairy steps - into home ownership so far has been to check out a few websites to calculate how much I could qualify for. I was surprised as to how widely those amounts can vary. I used the mortgage calculators with 3 lending/banking institutions and found the amounts varied by over $50,000 from bank to bank! Mind boggling as to how they get their numbers.

Considering I live on the outskirts of Toronto, the real estate market is crazy. Armed with the numbers from the banks I searched the MLS listings for homes in my area in my price range - and basically I can't get anything for under $200,ooo. Hello people! We are talking about almost a quarter of a million dollars here!! And I can't even find a nice little "two up-two down"? I am already a 40 minute commute from work, I don't want to move even further out of the city limits. Even at $200K the houses available are described as "needing TLC" and "handy man specials" and "investment opportunities". Yes, I can get in with only 5% down...but the rate is higher to cover insurance and I don't have $10,000 sitting around doing nothing. Grrrr!

So I qualify for the mortgage - and can carry the expenses - but I don't have that blasted downpayment. I haven't given up yet, but I will have to think long and hard about all this. There has got to be a way around this. I don't want to be house poor - no point in having a roof over your head - and nothing to put inside it!


gemmak said...

I'm sure you know already but here you could get a 100% mortgage, is that not an option there?


JustSue said...

Yes, 100% mortgages were the norm back home, so it was quite a surprise for us when we emigrated here to learn that a downpayment of 25% was required to purchase property over here. Since the 80's however, downpayment minimums have been lowered to 5% of the purchase price - but with that comes a need for what they call "mortgage defualt insurance" - which translates to an additional 2.75% to the normal rate. There are some mortgage lenders out there that will offer 100% - the major banks and lending facilities are not amongst them (which in my mind makes it all seem a little seedy and "backstreet dealerish" if you see what I mean) the rates are horrendous and are only available on "selected" [hard to sell] properties.

Josh Houghtelin said...

It'd be nice if they made house shopping a bit easier. I have a hard time spending money I don't have. I wanted to fall into a 'rent-to-own' gig but realized what a sham those were. There is just no even remotely convenient method of attaining a house short of winning the lottery.

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