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Home Sweet Home

Posted by on November 16, 2010

So its been quite a while since I have posted anything on here and since I may have all of 2 readers I figured my street cred would hold.

My blog posts are like James Cameron movies, you know, except this blog doesnt make any money and nobody is paying me to write anything.   But whatever…

Since the new temptress in my life wanted me to write a new post I suggested she come up wtih a couple topics.  She chose, ‘the home buying experience’ or ‘things I think are awesome’.  As you can tell by the title, I’ve just recently moved.

Its been a couple weeks in my new condo and so far so good.  I dont think many things can beat the serenity of living alone. Its like I went to India and rented my own meditation temple.   No more mother asking me if I ate the dinner she pre-prepared for everyone (yes I did), or my father asking me if I planned to fold my laundry tonight (no, I don’t).

Living at home was an experience.  After living on my own for 4 years at University,  2 years in Toronto, 4 months in the UK, and then another 5 months in Barcelona I never really got used to living at home again.  Ever since I moved back in February of 2008 I felt like a visitor.  Not because they made me feel unwelcome, not at all, but because once you feel you’re self-sufficient, its hard to return to an environment where its easier to be lazy than domesticated.   But I digress;

Now this probably won’t sound like you’re typical house hunting story line. I am not an infatuated first-time home buyer. In fact, I think calling myself a home buyer is ridiculous.  I mean, lets be serious here, HSBC owns my house, and the city of Hamilton owns my land.    Both of which they can repossess at a whim.   The last time I checked, Guess Jeans and Nike couldn’t do that with my shoes or jeans. Those I own.

I also do not subscribe to the baby boomer delusion that your home is your biggest asset.  Between property taxes, hydro, mortgage fees, utilities, possible repairs, upgrades, maintenance etc., and the additional cost of adding a stripper pole, a house you live in is hardly an asset.

‘But Mike, homes always appreciate in value’   Even if they did, which they don’t (just ask Florida, Michigan, and Arizona) between legal fees, and realtor commissions, thats a solid chunk out of  whatever profit you may have realized.  And oh ya, dont forget how much interest you’ve paid on your mortgage during that time.

Now lets talk realtors for a quick moment. Waste. Of. Money.  It is now my very strong opinion that if you are buying a home, there is absolutely ZERO reason to use a real estate agent unless you really just don’t enjoy having money and are dying to give it to someone else.   With the MLS system (not sure if this is available in the states), it makes searching for residences easier than googling celebrities in bikinis.

Sure realtors offer a lot of great insight and have years of knowledge on making a purchase, but you know who also has that information… Google.  Seriously.  When someone is helping you buy something and working 100% on commission its hard for them to be totally impartial throughout the entire process.  PLUS, if you find a private sale on your own and you have signed papers with a realtor you are obligated to pay them their commission anyways.   Yes, that IS stupid.

So if youre considering buying a place in the near future, dont be lazy, hit the papers and MLS system and do your own research. Because realistically only you will know the kind of home you would love to live in.  And a realtor’s opinion would only cloud your judgement.

I could go further into the benfits of renting vs. borrowing but I will stop there.  Yet with all of that melancholy aside, I couldnt be more thrilled to have a place to call my own.  Not because I think its a huge accomplishment or anything, I just really enjoy having a sanctuary now.  A place to really make my own and to be my shrine to my own living standards and lifestyle.  Because i think its safe to say if I ever get married, my shrine is gone and it would become a 1500 square foot top to bottom compromise.

As for looking for the place, even with some realtor assistance (I eventually found a private sale on my own and cut the realtor out of the deal, ummm… awkward) the hunt itself took longer than I had expected, but after over 6 months of looking, I really did find a place that had absolutely everything I was looking for.

Originally I was going to buy something in July but I realized I was eligible for the Canadian RSP(retirement savings plan) First Time Buyers program.  This is where you can withdraw up to 25 thousand from your RSP towards the downpayment of your first home, and since I’ve been investing in my business the last few years my RSP contribution room was pretty high.  So who wouldnt want to write-off 25k from their income with their downpaymentar? I did.

But putting the money into the RSP in July I had to wait 90 days till I was eligible to make the withdraw for the downpayment, so my house hunting went on hold.

After  60 days I started looking for a place again and found it within a couple weeks. Perfect.

Now here I sit in my brand new office (Cecchin HQ), procrastinating from a project I should be working on and writing this post. I hope some of my insight was helpful, or at the very least entertaining.

And as much as I delayed making a purchase and moving out of the family home, I guess I can now safely say…

Its good to be home.

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