The mortgage is gone, vanished, disappeared and you own your house but now you want something more. Do you stay put, sell or build your dream house?
This is the burning question at the back of our minds lately. Let me explain more.
When I bought my first home at 21 my dream house always included large rooms because space came and still does with a premium price-tag.
If you’re like me you enjoy having space BUT not everyone NEEDS a large space to get on with daily living.
Every day we read about people who live in a tiny house and find ways to make it work for them. This type of living is NOT for everyone.
Your dream house compared to someone else’s idea of a cool house will ALWAYS be different because our needs are not the same. We tend to focus on things in life that will help us to meet or exceed our needs especially if settling is NOT an option.
Dream house living for some people may simply be…living in any type of house rather than an apartment or vice-versa. You might be the person who is content with apartment living and that is your dream house because you have no responsibility other than everyday bills and paying rent.
Meet the neighbours
Now that the weather is starting to warm up our neighbours are starting to creep out of their den like a bear that’s just woke up from it’s winter hibernation.
While bringing in the groceries the other day our neighbour stopped to have a look at our son. Most neighbours haven’t even seen him since we’ve been indoors most of the winter.
While having a casual conversation with the neighbour 2 doors down she said to my wife, “I guess you are going to sell and build your dream house now that you are starting a family?” I’m pretty sure she was fishing for information since my wife and I once said that we’d like to have a pool during one of the hottest days last summer to her.
Sometimes it’s best to say nothing at all to those random neighbours that aren’t your friends but stroll by the house just to “chat”.
Every street has nosey neighbours and ours is no exception but when she asked us about our dream house Mrs. CBB and I went in and furthered that conversation.
We told her that building our dream house wasn’t in the cards for us right now so we were staying put. The good news is she didn’t deflate with a sadness which means she’s happy we are staying.
She is always a pleasant lady to chat with especially if you want to know what the rest of the neighbours are up to, lol. We’re hoping that will settle that conversation for a bit now with her and she can move on to someone else’s business.
Our living space
Currently we live in what one would call a modern 2-storey house on a small plot of land even though it’s over 20 years old. We got VERY lucky when we bought this because it was under-priced for various reasons all of which I have sorted out. We’ve easily made over $100k in profit if we were to sell today only after a short period of owning.
In our net worth update below you will notice that we don’t really change the worth of our home simply because we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves just in case the housing market changes direction. Rest assured that we would be close to the $400,000 selling point “as is” if we sold our house today.
That’s pretty good for our area considering the largest sell for close to million or more. If you plan to live right in Toronto… start saving when you are fresh out of high school.
Don’t believe me, go have a look at single detached house prices in Toronto, close to down-town where all the action is happening or in established neighbourhoods.
I’ve seen some pretty cool house plans while searching the web and to be honest there are days where the Mrs. and I both wish we had a bigger house or other features to our home.
Living in the Greater Toronto Area comes with a BIG price tag so it’s not always easy to find a home with everything on a first time buyers dream house wish list. It’s just not reality.
Most first time buyers go on at some point to sell that house and either buy a bigger house, move cities or build their dream house, but that may take many years. If you are paying off student loans, starting a family or have created lots of consumer debt than stretch that time frame.
If you are young and just starting out in your career as you advance and your pay starts to climb or you build equity into your home the dream house option starts to tinker about for some.
Is it such a good idea though to rush out and buy a bigger house or to build your dream house if you’ve already paid your dues and you are free and clear of the mortgage?
That is the situation we are faced with. Last month we talked with you about what we could do with $100,000 in our savings account. One idea was to buy a bigger house or we could build our dream house.
There is no million dollar mansion in our future but isn’t it funny how we can look at something more than what we have and consider it a mansion. A mansion doesn’t have to be the BIGGEST house it simply has to be more than what you already have.
Moving to the Toronto area from a small town where buying a big house cost under $300,000 means anything over that is mansion worthy even if it doesn’t come with all the space. Some people don’t care though because all they want to do is live in a big city even if it comes with a huge price tag.
In our neck of the woods typical houses that are bigger than ours by only a few hundred square feet and have a larger yard are selling just shy of the million mark. One would consider that a mansion BUT today spending a million dollars on a house is pocket change to some people.
My wife and I couldn’t possibly think of spending that much money on a house but maybe it’s because that price tag is not relative to our earnings. Maybe if we were earning double what we earn now that might seem like chump change to spend on our dream house but for now…that’s not going to happen.
Saying that we had a look around our city to see what we could buy if we sold our house and if we wanted to build our dream house how much that would cost us. First of all our city is big so that means there are sections of the city that are new, up and coming, old and very old.
Space is at a premium and as you already know most houses are built so close together these days they might as well be attached at the roof.
Builders waste no space when they want to line their pockets although not all builders are this way. If they can get away with you just fitting down the crack on the side of your house, they’ll build it.
It’s a cut throat industry though and that’s why you see cookie-cutter homes go up so fast. There are some neighbourhoods where all you can see is rows and rows of the same town-houses. It’s sickening sometimes BUT people are buying them.
Our dream house
Honestly it seems what we would like in our dream house changes year after year depending on what how living in this house has made us feel. Have you ever said… I’m never getting a house with a non-finished basement or I’m never buying a house with fill in the blank _____ again?
Most people do, so thinking you are any different would be wrong because it’s a case of getting used to a space and wanting something different or more. It’s likely why so many people move house often, they get bored or want more.
Unless you are making a ridiculous amount of profit every time you sell another house it is likely costing you more to move than what you are actually making on the house. The only way you would make any money is if the housing market is strong.
When the housing market is stagnant it becomes increasingly hard to make any money from a house sale unless you are down-sizing or coming out of the market completely.
The wife and I made a list of what our dream house must have and sketched a house drawing of what we would like our house to look like. I know it sounds premature but planning for our future is what we have always done as a couple.
What features would you like in your dream house?
Here are ours…
- A big open-concept custom-built kitchen is a must (that’s for me to cook in of course ha although I wouldn’t be opposed to traditional kitchen spaces!)
- Large walk-in pantry (I’d need this for all the ingredients we stock for homemade cooking)
- Built-in appliances, Counter depth-refrigerator, instant hot water dispenser, wine chiller
- An in-ground pool indoors or out
- A large finished walkout basement (properly finished)
- Private fenced large yard preferably outside of the city a bit (see ya later neighbours)
- Gardening space
- Triple garage
- Playground area for our son
- Bungalow (we’re just not into the upstairs levels any longer)
- Old feel to the house
- Finished top to bottom (no more renovations please)
- Custom fittings around the house (no cheap builders crap)
- Screened skylights with remote
- Bathrooms with large windows and no neighbours
- Lots of windows in the house. The bigger the better.
- Finally….this list is always on-going
As you can see our dream house will cost us a fortune to build which means only one thing. If we plan to continue living in the GTA and want to build our dream house we better be prepared for the price tag that will come along with it.
If we were to simply sell our house to buy another house that is 500-1000 sq ft bigger than what we currently have approx 2500+ sq ft. (if we finish basement) with a bit more yard that would be looking at the million dollar listing.
It simply makes no sense for us to sell and buy or build our dream house with SOME or ALL of the features we want just to pay another $100,000 plus, plus, plus where we currently live. It’s not worth it, especially if we have to take our another mortgage.
Living debt free is VERY nice and I highly recommend if you can do it.
IF we were to move to a small neighbouring town building our dream house might become a reality but for now we are planning on staying put.
That means that we will utilize the space we have now to full capacity. We do have a very large basement and once I get that finished I’m sure the space crunch we feel now will disappear even though our house is 4 times bigger than my UK house.
It just goes to show that we can get used to living in a certain space and it’s typically our “wants” or “needs” that drive us to sell and buy bigger.
Although if we can make what we have work until we can save up enough cash to build our dream house somewhere else than we would rather do that for the time being.
Would you consider building your dream home if you were mortgage free which means possibly another mortgage
Our net worth 2015
RESP Contribution 2015: $208.33 a month.
Yet another great month for us made possible by working lots of hours and gains in our investments. It’s not always as easy as it sounds though. Having a second job or career uses up a lot of spare time and energy.
The lucrative contract that I was on has been replaced with a lesser contract due to less work which is ok with me. I can always utilize more spare time and energy and turn it into something else.
Filing our taxes is the first thing that springs to mind in the next week. Again, I plan on doing our own taxes this year and the time will come in very useful to complete that assignment.
Let’s not forget that I have 2 bathrooms that are waiting for me to finish renovating. There’s nothing worse than starting a home renovation project and having to stop.
I will also start taking my son to a local pool to get him into the water as we’d like to make sure he knows how to swim. For now I will show him and likely hire an instructor to teach him to swim.
Spring is also only around the corner and the annual outdoor Spring clean up will start so having some extra time at my disposal will come in handy. All I can say is when the going is good, take advantage of the opportunity.
You never know when the money will disappear but don’t go overboard exhausting yourself every single day if you can’t handle it. I have good days and bad days but I know in the end this will all be worth it.
That’s our net worth update for February. Check out more financial charts pertaining to the month below.
Understanding net worth
What Does Individual Net Worth Mean?
Net Worth is a snap shot of your financial health sort of like a picture or debt to net assets. In simple terms it’s a total of the value of your assets minus your liabilities.
We credit the growth of our net worth due to patience, perseverance, using a monthly budget and not giving up. Your numbers may go up and down but don’t let the numbers scare you rather understand why and move on.
If you would like to use our budget I offer a FREE downloadable budget which I created and that you can use at home just like we do. I don’t charge for it because I want you to save money not spend more!
There are tonnes of other free printable lists offered at Canadian Budget Binder to help you achieve some of those financial goals and build your net worth.
Now… what you need to do is determine just how much net worth you actually have and go from there….
Determining net worth
Figuring out net worth is fairly easy as long as you know your personal numbers or monthly finances which means you need to do your homework. Net Worth is simply adding up all your assets (what you own) then taking away your liabilities (what you owe) which will give you a net worth number.
Understanding your net worth will help you determine if you are on track to meeting or beating your personal financial goals. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
Calculate net worth
Do you know how to calculate your own Net Worth?
Now you can stop asking yourself the question, how do you find out your net worth? Why? It’s easy to determine. We like to calculate our net worth every month so we know if we are still on track. Some people calculate it yearly or quarterly. It’s really up to you and how informed you want to stay when it comes to your financial health.
Net Worth is essentially an estimate and not everyone uses the same type of figures. Some people don’t include vehicles like we do or they may leave out the assets inside the home like we have. It depends on what you want to calculate or what you can sell today and make money on.
Why not go ahead and calculate your own using our Free Money saving Tool Net worth Calculator (Canadian Budget Binder 2012)
Why you should set goals
Setting goals are the only way we work towards achieving what we want to get done as a couple around the house and in our financial life. I know that without them we would be flying by the seat of our pants which wouldn’t work for us.
I find it’s much easier to be held accountable when I share what we need to do with all of you. Yes, my wife refers to the list when she asks what I plan to do next. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for me or not.
In the graphical representation below, I have used excel to provide a prediction based on the past years monthly net worth figures.
Using figures from our actual net worth gains over the past 12 months (the red line) it has suggested that come this time next year we should be at approximately $700,000.00.
This is nice to know but anything can happen over the next year. Hopefully with some careful planning we can achieve this goal and go beyond it.
Do you set goals for the year?
Our financial numbers
When budgeting anything is possible, we are proof of that although we still have a long way to go in our journey. These are our numbers and our goals, not a means of comparison towards your own goals to others target goals.
We don’t care how much money others make or if they have a high net worth or if it is lower than ours as it’s not a competition. I hope our experiences perhaps will help guide you along your financial path working towards debt freedom.
We all have different financial paths
Not everyone has the same path in life. Some of you may have had to start over like I did or go to school a second time and now have OSAP loans to pay back.
Others may have divorced, lost money in the stock market or other investments, suffered job loss, fell ill or was injured on the job etc. but you can’t let that stop you from achieving your financial goals.
Some of you may have been given trust funds, paid-for homes, paid educations or perks in life that give you a financial kick-start and that’s OK too. Remember what I said, “It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it”.
Focus on you and don’t let the evil eye of money jealousy or keeping up with the Joneses cloud your vision. No one cares about your money as much as you do so don’t waste your energy trying.
The only reason people accumulate wealth is because they know how to save or invest it wisely even if they did inherit money or win the lottery. The smallest improvements should mean big strides in working towards reaching your goals.
Sometimes we have to fail in order to learn and we’ve all been there. Money can be an evil force for some people especially those who have a negative attitude towards their own financial situation.
I urge you to be optimistic and little by little with determination you too should see improvements, if you want that to happen.
Net worth updates 2015
Below you can click the links to read past 2015 net worth updates to see if we were on target or if we struggled with some of our numbers.
Since we are just starting off the 2015 year this is the first net worth update for the year I will start below with the end report for 2014 for those of you that missed it.
In the last year since January 2014 our net worth according to our figures has grown $85,803.61
February 2015 $658,197.00 – February 2014 $572,393.39 = +$85,803.61
That’s all for this month’s net worth update but please check in at the beginning of April 2015 to see how we made out in March 2015 and what has happened to our finances since.
Do you track your net worth? Share your net worth updates with CBB! You don’t have to give your name just a bit about yourself and what you are worth.