House Hunting: How Much We Spent

Just under two years ago, we moved into our first home.

We moved on a rainy December day just after Christmas. We have loved home ownership ever since, even the hard work (yard and property maintenance, re-shingling the roof, and painting not exempt).

We got a great deal on our house as the market was in a funny place when we bought. That being said, we definitely gave our bank account a good run for it’s money when we were going through the motions of home buying.

average closing costs

Here are the costs that we bore from the purchase of our first home:


We had a home inspection ($504), an insulation test for asbestos ($300) and an inspection for an oil tank on the property ($100). We also had a WETT test for our wood burning fireplace ($100) and had the chimney cleaned while we were at it ($100).

The total for all of these various tests and inspections was:


Down Payment

The down payment was a pretty big chunk of change, and hands down the biggest withdrawal from our bank accounts to date. Because we bank with Tangerine (back then it was ING Direct), it was difficult to get the bank draft in time, but by the skin of our teeth we made it by transferring the money into my husbands RBC account.

The total down payment was:


Land Transfer Tax

Typically for first time home buyers, Land Transfer Tax is waived. We still had to pay a portion of land transfer tax, though, as we were $5,000 above the maximum, bringing the tax down to:


Home Insurance

We, of course, had to go buy home insurance to .. well, insure our new home! Tenants insurance is only $300/year, and we let ours expire a few months prior to moving in, so this was a whole new expense.

We opted for earthquake insurance and the whole shebang (seriously, we’ll have an earthquake sooner rather than later and I’d rather be well insured then screwed over).

The company for which I work gives us a 20% discount on home insurance through an affiliate company, which is very helpful. With earthquake insurance and home insurance, we had to pay:



This is worth mentioning, because it did add up to quite a lot of money. We saw dozens of houses before landing on the perfect home, and we had to drive for hours to see them. Then, we’ll have to spend a lot of money on gas to drive back and forth upon moving.

On extra gas, we spend around:


Life Insurance

Life insurance isn’t something we had prior to buying our home simply because we didn’t really need it.

When we bought our house, we got life insurance for the boy because if anything happened to him (God forbid), I would really struggle.

I am already covered through work, so we didn’t bother covering myself.

In total, a yearly premium for life insurance was:



The total amount that we ended up shelling out during the home buying process was:


In out-of-pocket, extra cash. Some of these we have to pay for every month (insurance) and some were one-time expenses.

This might give you a good example of how much you’ll have to pay in down payment, closing, and home hunting costs when you go to buy your next house.

5 Easy but Foolproof Tips to Get Your Home Ready for a Quick Sale

Even though my husband and I are years away from moving, I find myself playing around with local real estate websites all the time. I need to stop since it’s a total time-waster in more than one way. One thing I have learned from both playing on these websites and going through the process myself of buying a home (and partaking in the whole house-hunting process) is that I am amazed at how many people don’t bother to make their home appeal to the buyer or do anything to get their home ready for selling it.

I honestly think some people go out of their way to make their home as unappealing as possible, as if they don’t actually want to see their house which is sort of insane.

tips to sell your home

Through my diligent house hunting process and internet stalking browsing, I have noticed a few common trends among the homes that are unappealing to me. If you plan on selling a home, please remember these basics:


I seriously cannot stress this enough. There is nothing more revolting than walking through a home and have it be dirty. I would rather trip over crap everywhere than feel grime literally sticking to the bottom of my feet. If you can’t clean or don’t know how to do it well, pay someone. You’re trying to sell your home after all. Prospective home buyers notice everything. Clean every tiny nook and cranny because someone will notice.

Curb Appeal

This doesn’t have to be major bucks but people do want to be proud of the house they plan on turning into a home. Mow the lawn, clean the yard in general keep everything neat and tidy. If you can afford to do a little sprucing up, great, but at the very least maintain tidiness.

Get Rid of Your Crap

While I personally don’t think it’s necessary to put away every single personal detail, picture or memory when showing your home, I do think you need to scale back the clutter in a major way. If your house is on the market you’ll likely have to pack anyway so start with the nic-naks. People want to envision their stuff in the space, not yours.

If you don’t have much stuff, but it still looks like it’s everywhere, make sure it’s well organized.


Freshen the spaces up. Choose neutral colors and speak to a professional for guidance. It’s 2014 and home buyers have finally figured out there are neutrals beyond beige. Neutralize everything but don’t be super boring.

I have walked through homes and have been left with a positive impression because of the nice paint job. I don’t know many people who actually enjoy painting so buying a home that had it recently done will be a positive.

Don’t Smoke in Your House

I could find my dream home, but if it was a home someone had smoked in there is a 99% chance I wouldn’t buy it. We’re talking about ripping up flooring, hiring professional cleaners, painting every square inch and praying it would be gone. Not worth it.  I will find another house.

The house hunting process is something people put a lot of effort into, you as a seller have the ability to make it easier by following these very simple points.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen when looking for a new home?

How Having a Kid Changed My View Of ”Dream” Home

My husband and I were desperate to get into a home as soon as possible after marriage. We had been living in a small one bedroom apartment and were quickly running out of space. As it was, we were taking up real estate in my in-laws basement with all of our camping supplies and seasonal stuff.

We were desperate for more space and wanted to establish something of our own. We also had quite a bit of pressure from the world to ”buy now”. We were young, and really had no idea what exactly we were getting into. Long story short, we knew the house we bought wouldn’t be our ‘‘forever home”. We didn’t live in the house long before we quickly started a list of things we must have in our next home.

I grew up in a very non-traditional bungalow. It was an old farm cottage that my optimistic father tried to renovate himself but had many oversights against my mothers wishes, like no closets outside of the bedrooms and no outlet in the bathroom. It was charming but incredibly annoying to store towels in my sisters bedroom closet because she had the biggest one. When my husband and I started house hunting my naive must-have list wasn’t much beyond closet space, and a bathroom with an outlet. I didn’t think much about layout of bedrooms, yard maintenance, or general layout.

house with kids

Our current home is a pretty standard split entry layout. There are a lot of things I really hate about this house, like the lack of entryway. Seriously only one person can comfortably get in the door and coat/shoes off, also we have no entry-way storage. All the things I dislike about the house very quickly turned into a list that my dream home must have. Then kids happened and rocked my world again.

Before we had our daughter, I didn’t understand the need for an ensuite bathroom. Neither my husband or I grew up with an ensuite in our homes and we’ve always managed just fine. Now, with company constantly popping over and a tub full of bath toys, I get it. We only have one full bathroom in the house (half bath downstairs) so having an ensuite is very appealing. I don’t need a fancy jacuzzi bathtub or anything but I do like the idea of my husband and I having our own private bathroom space.

Like many people, I love the kitchen. We have an updated kitchen in our house now, but again there are many things I would do differently if we could re-do it. I thought for sure, come house number two I must  have a beautiful updated kitchen. Now I really just want clean and functional, not necessarily the perfect higher end cabinetry I once swooned over.

Before we had a kid, I thought for sure our next home was going to be a custom-built home on land that we would buy. Building a home was, I thought, the only way we would get everything we wanted and needed in a home. Since having a kid, my understanding of needs has changed drastically. A good school zone (assuming she goes to public school), safe neighborhood, good layout. Everything else can be changed if needed. Our family needs functionality, not fancy.

Has having children changed your mind about home requirements?