Sep. 3, 2009

What are you scouting for? A house or Condo (second part)

In our first text of this series, we have focused on the profile of a typical condo purchaser. The features of a typical house owner will be the concern of our today's article.

Susie likes living in a house.

Having a personal space is one of the things Susie likes the most. She left communal housing behind in college and hasn’t looked back – who wants to be separated from their neighbours by just a single wall? Susie just wants to have her privacy and enough space, and she doesn't mind having to spend some more time for commuting to work. Also shopping has to be done weekly, but it is no problem for her to take her SUV to the supermarket and fill it up. Her two kids are what Susie values the most, and she wishes to have a safe yard for them to be able to run and play around, just the way she did during her own childhood. Susie and her family also live in a neighbourhood where they know the other families nearby which is really useful, because there is always someone at hand to give advice about the best babysitters, school sports or the new off-leash park. And also Susie's family may still grow in the future (although they still haven't really planned it yet with her husband Stuart), they might decide to have another baby or maybe Stuart's mom may need help and move in with them. Therefore they definitely need enough space for the family to expand. Also the family members have different hobbies - Stuart works on his vintage car in the garage and their daughter Jenny plays the drums, which would be impossible to do in an apartment - it is loud enough in the basement, so Susie is thinking about getting it soundproofed and putting in a bathroom, then they would have a great teen retreat. On weekends, Susie loves to tool around in her garden, which is really her pride and joy – there’s nothing like picking fresh vegetables for a salad while Stuart fires up the grill. Susie and Stuart also consider very important the fact that they legally own the land they live on. Well, if the roof leaks (as it did last year after all those storms), it's still their own roof and they had some money for such emergencies saved aside. Occasional house reparations just come with the territory. Susie and Stuart don’t mind staying on top of the maintenance work, because they each have their own tasks and responsibilities (Susie cuts the grass and Stuart takes the recycling to the curb). As far as safety is concerned, Susie believes that their new system will keep the burglars out of their house. And also there is a residents' association that keeps an eye on what's going on in the neighbourhood. She is just happy in their secure neighborhood and wants to stay there long-time and put down roots.

So now which one of our two profiles felt closer to you - Hari or Susie? None of them? Well, in that case you might like to consider living in a condo town house, which has some benefits of both a condo and a house.

Final advice If you decide to purchase a house, then we recommend that your mortgage combined with all property taxes shouldn't eat up more than 25 per cent of your monthly income, just to make sure you have enough money left for any necessary up keeping. First try to estimate the necessary up keeping expenses and also to what extent you are able to keep up with the repairs needed, as all the responsibility (from a leaky faucet to a flooded basement) will be just upon you. And how much will be your expenses for transportation? Don't forget about these, as it is important to be considered, mainly when moving to a suburb. Always ask for a new home inspection and examine it in detail, so that you won't come across any ugly surprises that would ruin your carefully planned budget. For example, a fixer-upper with an ancient furnace, old wiring and insufficient insulation will demand a more or less immediate cash infusion just to make the house livable.

Photo Source: sssteve.o

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