Why We Rent

A few have asked whether we finally broke down and bought this house, or are we renting. We are still renting. After moving back to Canada in 2008, we moved in such a hurry that we wanted time to figure out where we wanted to live. We liked the high school in this area, but didn't want to commit in buying. In 2009, the market had dropped a bit and we were seriously looking. We found a few, but then we thought, the next house will be the "one".

Then the market shot up, we decided to wait. My husband's work restructured and he was given a generous severance and a nice long paid holiday, which he enjoyed fully. With a possibility of moving towns/provinces for work, purchasing a home wasn't something we were financially comfortable with. Work was found in our area and we started looking again. Again, overwhelmed at the cost of home ownership and comparing what we could of bought back in Virginia, it was a hard pill to swallow. I remember being at the bank and when the banker told us what mortgage she could approve us for, I started having a panic attack. Felt like a noose around my neck was being tightened. So we decided to put it off until kids graduated. 

I am ok with renting because it makes economic sense for our family. It means we can live in an over-valued neighbourhood and live in a house for cheaper than owning it. We did the math and if we bought this house, our savings would be depleted for a down payment and with our mortgage payments/property taxes and repair costs it would be AT least $1200 more a month than renting. Sure everyone says we are paying down someone else's mortgage. We have investments elsewhere but we don't believe it putting ALL your eggs in one basket. If the market falls (which it did when we lived in Virginia and this area is not immune to that, contrary to what the belief is here), we won't lose it all. We have been there once before, purchasing a leaky condo and losing everything and starting from scratch. Hard to do with 3 little kids and one income. So we are wary in putting everything we have into a house in a market where no one bats an eyelash in taking on a $500,000 + mortgage. Combine that with the fact that in 2 years our youngest graduates from high school, which then means we aren't tied down to this school catchment area. It opens the door to moving elsewhere! So we are renting.

(Our old family room)

 I feel like we hit the jackpot with this house. It was only 2 streets over from our last place, and ironically next door to our real estate agent, who I am sure is tired of our indecisiveness! We are in the same neighbourhood and my son has a 2 minute longer walk to high school, going from 10 min to 12 min. Also, this house was given a cosmetic renovation before we moved in, so it feels fresh and "new". We also negotiated a lower rent (cheaper than our other place) to take care of the landscaping, which is overgrown. I love gardening, so it was a win-win for us and them! The kitchen looks pretty but in reality the cabinets need replacing. Which might be something the landlords are interested in doing next year. They had a bad, bad experience with the previous tenant, so they are hesitant as to how much they will renovate. Fair enough. I think I can cure them of that!

So in a nutshell, here we are. I am in a house with good bones and my creative juices are flowing!

XO Barbara


  1. I can't tell you how happy I am for you B! Every time you post pics it looks better and better and better. Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

  2. We own our house, and I wish we'd just rented all these years! Toronto & Vancouver housing markets are crazy!

  3. That's great you are so close to your old house! That would be cool too if your new landlords let you loose - did you tell them about your blog?? I bet if they had just a little peek here they would let you go for it.

  4. Heck, if you can find a great rental for that much less than buying, you're doing the right thing! The market here in Oakville/Burlington outside of Toronto is nuts. I can't help but wonder what a simpler, less expensive life would bring if we decided to change our path completely and move out of the city and corporate world. Sometimes simpler is just better.

  5. I am loving your transparency Barb! I am in the same boat. Although I could make it work and I know the bank would support me, I just can't stomach being house poor. I have enough stress in my life - don't need housing costs on top of that for now. Good for you! Lots of great points and maybe will help someone who isn't sure

  6. Hi, Just came across your blog and it's really excellent. It's an interesting perspective on renting versus owning. We are located in Toronto so I wonder if things are different on the West Coast versus in Ontario? Either way - it looks like you've got great place and fabulous taste.



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