Okay, so this is the biggest reason why we left England (god, I do miss it though) and came to Canada.
Here’s what you can buy for roughly the same amount of money:
- A semi-detached 4 bedroom house (though one bedroom was the size of a closet) in north west London, UK, 12 minutes’ walk to a tube station. House is between 1200-1500 square feet, needs renovation, and partial re-roofing – has mould issues in upstairs second bedroom, but good size garden (for London) that backs onto conservation area. Single car garage. Took me 1 hr 15 minutes to get to my desk at work.
- A walk-out bungalow (meaning the basement isn’t underground totally, it has doors to the garden for those who are unfamiliar) north of Toronto, Canada, 2 minutes’ drive to a commuter train (GO) station. House is 2700 square feet, which doesn’t include the basement which is like another 3500 square feet of living and storage space (it’s excavated below the garage). Needs redecoration but no major issues. Sits on a plot of over 2 acres with it’s own pond. Three car garage. Should take me no more than an hour to get to my desk at work.
Okay, it’s not quite the same amount of money. Option one was actually way more than option two, when sold in 2005, before we moved out to Buckinghamshire and rented. So option two, we bought last week and we’re moving in March 10th, it’s less money and leaves us with some to make it more what we want on the inside, and outside (e.g. landscaping and putting a fence out there before Oliver drowns). And that little NO MORTGAGE issue is kind of important. My own priorities are to sort out the ensuite bathroom for our bedroom, replace the floors throughout the main floor, and to replace the countertop and cooktop in what is otherwise a pretty nice kitchen. Whether or not Mark agrees is a different story!!
It’s exciting as we are meeting a lot of our criteria despite our intial reservations on purchasing a bungalow. And it’s actually my first house, as Mark owned the London house before I met him. It’s not perfect, but in the search for a house we learned that we had to compromise on some things to be able to afford the most important things (enough land for Mark, commutable to Toronto or Mississauga, not having to take out a huge mortgage, etc.). For a great interior, it would have cost a lot more. So instead, we can finish it to our own specifications, and raise a family in a nice family home. I really can’t wait to move and it make it our own.
Today we started it by ordering some furniture. We have a few things that we’ll need to get right away as we brought so little, but other than that, it’ll be a big work in progress to set it up. And it’s giving me something really positive to look forward to when I am rather preoccupied and stressed out otherwise.