Homeowner: Buying a Home

My partner and I got an unexpected inheritance of money (no, it was not from Nigeria) and bought a house. I thought I would share some of the experiences and decisions.

In order to find a house to buy, we first rented a place in the right area so that we could more easily identify likely houses, and also so that we could experience living there. In the end my husband Clyde lived in that house for I think maybe three months and I spent perhaps a month there, but it was inexpensive and we met local people and learned more about the area.

I should mention that one reason clyde spent so little time there was because the roof started leaking and it turned out there was a lot of mold; he had athsma attacks, and one of our cats had breathing problems and started having siezures! Dampness in a house can cause a lot of health problems, as well as structural problems.

We looked at dozens of houses. Our realty agent, Elizabeth Crombie (Libby), really did a lot of work for us, and was extremely helpful in pointing out good and bad points of places. You need to get local advice.

If you are thinking of getting a home built, remember that building quality here in Canada has dropped, so that older houses are often of much better construction. Consider also that local people may resent the vanishing countryside (although they will gladly take your money, and often charge two or three times the going rate for all building work for people from the city!)

You will also need to know the local building regulations and codes; you can download a copy of the International Residential Code (although I think not for free) which may help, but you will also need to make friends in the local permit office.

We chose to buy an old farmhouse house from the 1840s. Clyde needed a darkroom for photography, an art gallery and wanted somehere to keep a horse and somewhere to swim; I needed internet access, good roads for when I travel, and a large enough room for all my old books.

Even with an old house there will often be work to do, and you need to get house inspections before agreeing to buy or signing anything!

[these pages are in preparation and not yet public]

Next: house inspections