A year ago, the excitement of having our own home again was very noticeable as soon as we went past the hump of all the paperwork and documents. Obviously, we can’t wait and are so keen to get the house keys from our realtor. Thus, we booked ourselves a ferry ride to the island.
Unfortunately, choosing to live on the island isn’t as straightforward as it seems. Our BC ferry booking have been cancelled that specific day due to unexpected strong winds and storms.
The Big Day
We have to reschedule our ferry ride three days later. This time it was a clear beautiful day and we were able to get onboard the ferry. Since, this happened during the pandemic only essential travels were allowed and BC ferries still traveling in a limited capacity. We were driving our 10 year old SUV and only got a few clothes and small luggage with us. Finally, we got our house keys which were tucked under the mat as our realtor was unable to meet us as she was dealing with other clients.
What’s the difference this time?
Our previous home buying experience has taught us so many lessons. Additionally, with no longer having kids with us, we bought a small house big enough for the two of us. Moreover, we didn’t have to use our hard earned money to use as down deposit to buy our home this time.
Prior to getting this house, we shortlisted about 10 houses but only managed to physically view about 4 houses due to restrictions put in place in some homes during this pandemic. When we saw this particular house, we already had such a good feeling about it. Never in doubt at the start, that this was the house we were looking for. In turn, we contacted our realtor and immediately made an offer close to the asking price so that the seller will acknowledge that we are committed with our offer. Thankfully, we were glad we did that as she accepted our offer and didn’t experience a bidding war like many homebuyers.
In fact, we were fortunate as it was the first day the house was listed in the market and there was not a for sale sign yet in front of the property. It was probably our lucky day. Not to mention, the property was very appealing on a flat land, in a very quiet, safe, mature, and desirable neighborhood. Moreover, it is conveniently located about a 5 minute walk to local shops, banks, coffee shops, grocery stores, doctors clinics, restaurants, and the beach.
Correspondingly, the seller who we believed was retired just bought this house as a single occupant a year ago. She furnished the property with brand new furniture and some of them are under a year old. Additionally, she also made several renovations and recent upgrades such as new hardwood floors, new kitchen appliances, newly installed water tank and newly connected natural gas Barbecue grill.
Less Is More
Notably, the house was in immaculate condition. She has decided to sell the property to move closer to her children and grandchildren. Also, we knew from our realtor that she was not planning on purchasing a house and will just rent for now to be closer to her family.
Armed with this specific information, once our offer was accepted we understood that she would try to get rid most of her furniture instead of taking it with her. During that time of our viewing, we had a great look at all those furnishings and we have found that everything is in a very tidy and excellent condition. In short, we decided to make an offer and buy all her furniture instead of buying new ones.
As both parties agreed on a possession date, without delay she wanted to clear, move out her belongings, and personal items. Since it was known to her that we were interested in her furnishings, she initially wanted to sell all of it except in one of the bedrooms for $3,000. We thought that it was already low and a decent price. However, there was nothing wrong in negotiating so we haggled and eventually got it further down to $2,200.
Hence, upon possession date, we already have a sofa set, dining table and chairs, chest freezer, king size bed in the master’s bedroom, and a single bed in one of the smaller bedrooms. Additionally, outdoor furnishings include – gazebo with patio cushion chairs, patio dining set, and a brand new BBQ grill, and electric lawn mower.
Knowing that all furnishings were in excellent condition, tidy, and professionally cleaned, also didn’t own a pet and non-smoker made our decision so much easier in buying it all. It would have cost us over $10,000 if we bought everything new.
In general, many new homeowners will most likely buy new furnishings in their home. We would probably do the same if we knew all these were in a terrible and awful state. Most likely, it was a one off and we were just lucky. By doing this, we have saved a lot of money and we moved into a fully furnished house.
One Year Later
A year into our own home, we still manage to keep our cost very low. To date, we only bought a brand new chest dresser and a small table for my desktop computer which costs $1000 in total. Meanwhile, we still have one bedroom that is empty and most likely we have no plans of putting any bedroom furniture anytime soon.
Living less is definitely more
Generally, the less stuff we have at home, the space feels so much bigger and less clutter. Also, with less clutter, means easier to clean. Additionally, with our efforts not buying new home furnishings – it meant we kept our budget and added it for our emergency fund. Furthermore, leaving metropolitan and moving to the countryside means my work commute is now only 7 minutes maxed each way as opposed to 45 minutes to over an hour. Full tank of gas will now last over a month if I don’t go out of town compared to filling up my gas tank every week. Finally, leaving the city and from overcrowding has given us more time to enjoy outdoor activities and explore the vast space of the countryside.
My Final Thoughts
On the whole, we were delighted with our decision of buying our home again. During this time, a much more rewarding experience having learned our mistakes in the past.
In short, we now embrace a minimalist lifestyle and only buy something that may add value to our home or things that are considered essential.
Similarly, we also aim to reduce some of our monthly recurring expenses , only use banks with no fees, and divert those funds to our retirement portfolio such as TFSA and RRSP. Furthermore, our goal is to try to save every paycheck and invest most of our income monthly as much as we can. Simultaneously, we are constantly looking for other sources of income.
Meanwhile, short breaks and vacations are still very important to us. This is where we splurge ourselves – staying at hotels and eating in restaurants. Spending quality time together and with our family.
Lastly, we are now making a conscious effort not to accumulate liabilities and material stuff. Instead, we are trying to steadily build and increase our nest egg. If we continue this course we will achieve financial independence the way we envision it without even relying on our defined benefit pension from work. Ultimately, this gives us options to still continue to work in our career as long as we enjoy it or reduce hours and pursue other interests such as traveling together.
DISCLAIMER: Everything I have shared in my blog is wholly related to my personal experience. It is for entertainment and educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice.
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