Get posts right in your inbox!

So, I Guess We Bought A House?

June 26, 2018
So, We Bought a House | Tiny Ambitions

As you’re reading this, I’m knee deep in boxes trying to remember where my blender is and which box my yoga mat is in.

I’m also trying to remember why I signed up to move for the second time in 10 months.

This time is different from all the other moves I’ve made over the course of my life. Today, I’m moving into my own house!

What, wait?

Yep, you read that right. Mr. TA and I officially closed on our very first home yesterday and today is moving day.

At this point, I’m sure you have so many questions. How did this happen? I thought you wanted a tiny house? Does this mean you aren’t a minimalist anymore?

Ok, calm down. Nothing THAT dramatic has changed. I just happen to be paying a bank now for the privilege of housing, as opposed to a landlord.

Let’s back up.

Let’s go back all the way to the middle of May (I know that was only a month and a half ago, but honestly it feels like a decade ago).

I had been browsing through Kijiji ads for apartment rentals for a new place to live. Our current spot is lovely and has a great view, but it’s pricey and WAY, WAY too big for us.

Everything I was finding had one of three problems.

  1. They were in a part of town I wouldn’t feel safe living in.
  2. The rent was too expensive (like double what we were already paying).
  3. The units didn’t allow pets (the fuzz wouldn’t have been too happy about that).

So, out of curiosity, coupled with my life-long obsession with HGTV shows, I decided to start looking at listings for houses for sale in our area.

I shouldn’t have been surprised but what I found were adorable, mostly small (sub 1000sqft) homes that were reasonably priced (sub 250k) that wouldn’t require any major renovations. In fact, many of them had already been updated to the modern and minimalist aesthetic that has become so trendy lately.

So, I Guess We Bought a House {Pin} | Tiny Ambitions
At this point, if you’re seething because everything in your city is a tear down selling for close to a million – I should clarify something. I don’t live in a high cost of living city. I live in Northern Ontario. Compared to houses in the GTA or Vancouver or New York or Chicago, the houses here are much cheaper (some would go as for as to say, dirt cheap). In fact, my city was just named the best city in Ontario in terms of home affordability.

(For the record, I’m not saying anyone should move to Northern Ontario just so they can buy a house. But, we could use the people up here and, if you’re thinking about it, I promise to be friends with you).

So, here we were, staring at some houses that we could actually see ourselves living in.

Are we really doing this? Is this something we want?

If we still lived in southern Ontario, there’s no way home ownership would have been on the table. For one, we would have had to spend way more than we did, to get the house we wanted.

For another, in a lot of cases, it makes more financial sense to rent in southern Ontario than to buy. The opposite is true in our situation. I’ve run the numbers a dozen times and all of our home-related expenses (mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, internet, etc), are going to be less expensive than our current rent. (I know that it might not always be that way, but that’s where we’re at now).

I know that’s not the case in most places in North America. But, that’s how the math shook out here.

So what made us even consider buying a home here?

Well, other than cost, size played a major factor in my comfort level of buying a home.

I had never seen so many small homes before moving to northern Ontario. It’s the norm here to have a small century home that hovers under 1000 square feet. (I actually fell in love in one that was 614 square feet. It sold in three days).

Our house is a palatial 743 square feet. For context, that’s less than half the size of our current apartment, and the perfect size for us at this stage. Every room will be utilized. Nothing will go to waste.

I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that I didn’t even consider looking at houses over 1000 square feet. I’m a small space lover, through and through. Any bigger than that and all I see is overwhelm, more to clean and more expensive utility bills.

Is the tiny dream dead?

To be honest, I was so excited about the whole home buying experience. We saw two houses, and absolutely loved one of them.

We put an offer in and it was accepted two hours later.

And then the panic set in.

I went full tilt regret, oh my god what have I done mode.

What did this mean for the tiny house dream?

To be even more honest, the first thing I thought was ‘how am I going to explain this to the blog family?”.

That’s when I knew I wasn’t actually upset about putting my tiny house fund toward the downpayment on our house. I was worried about being judged.

The tiny house dream is not dead. It’s just paused for right now. Frankly, we were never going to build one up here. I knew that was never going to be in the cards. Geography, weather and provincial policy towards tiny houses would have made it extremely difficult.

So, no. I’m not moving into The Tiny House. But, I’d still like to think I’m moving into A Tiny House.
I’m excited to share this news with you, the blog fam. Most of my extended family doesn’t even know (what can I say, you’re easier to talk to).

So, that’s the big news – we bought a house!

I’m going to share our house numbers in another post (so be ready, personal finance nerds).

In the meantime, I need to get back to unpacking.

Where did I put the cat again? I definitely brought her with us, right?

Feel free to leave any questions about our home-buying decision in the comments below! I’ll answer them in this week’s episode of Tiny Bites.

Listen to last week’s episode of Tiny Bites – 31: Shopping Q & A.

Image Credit: Tiny Ambitions

  • snarkingtofreedom July 8, 2018 at 4:38 am

    Congrats! Just because it doesn’t have wheels or is officially built as a ‘tiny house’ doesn’t mean you aren’t approaching your goal of living a smaller, simpler lifestyle.❤️

    Also, can I move to Northern Ontario? Because 250k in Tokyo might get you about 2 square meters of land, and I want a cute as hell Canadian house😝

    • Britt July 8, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Thanks! And yes, you can absolutely move to Northern Ontario. The more the merrier!

  • experimentingaswegrow July 4, 2018 at 10:18 am

    My sister, Tara, from TBay just sent me over to your site. What fun! We’ve lived in a variety of homes/living conditions. One was a 650-foot, 100-year old cabin in the middle of Winnipeg. Let me tell you, with winter and 2 children it sure felt like a tiny home! I think the adjective “tiny” is flexible and should reflect many different factors. 🙂 All the best with your new home.

    • Britt July 4, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Welcome!! I can’t even imagine the level of stir crazy you had to deal with in that cabin in the dead of winter. I agree, tiny means different things to different people – as it should! Thanks for the well-wishes.

  • Jennifer T. Chan July 3, 2018 at 11:47 am

    Congrats!!! It sounds like a great size for you too. I can’t wait to read more about it. 🙂

    • Britt July 3, 2018 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer!

  • Jan June 29, 2018 at 10:17 am

    What exciting news! I hope you plan to post pictures, too.

    • Britt June 29, 2018 at 10:49 am

      Thanks, Jan! I may do a home tour post in the future. (We’re still living out of boxes at this point).

      • Aud July 1, 2018 at 9:09 am

        I hope you do a home tour. I would love to see how two people live in a space that small. I.E. how you keep organized or multipurpose items. We downsized recently and I’ve donated or thrown away so much already.

        • Britt July 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

          It’s so interesting because this isn’t even the smallest space we’ve ever lived in! It feels large to us. I’m considering doing a home tour of sorts so stay tuned. Congrats on your downsizing and decluttering! It’s such a great feeling isn’t it?

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life June 28, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Congratulations!! It doesn’t have to be The One all the time, you can get there when you get there. Meantime, good luck with the unpacking! I bet the cat’s in the box over there.

    • Britt June 28, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Thanks, Revanche! I love your perspective. And you’re right, the cat is ALWAYS in a box. I don’t know why I bother buying her real toys anymore.

  • Mrs. Farmhouse Finance June 27, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Congratulations!!! You don’t need to explain anything to anyone. It sounds like you guys made the right decision for you for right now. Why pay a landlord when you can build equity?!

    • Britt June 27, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks so much, Mrs. FF! And you’re absolutely right – I don’t need to explain our decision. That’s a part of my mindset that I need to work on!

  • Little Green Revelation June 27, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Congrats! After living in a ~1200 sq ft house for the last 7 years – it is definitely good for encouraging a minimalist lifestyle. Our new house isn’t huge, but will have a garage and better storage, which is something we really wanted.

    • Britt June 27, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks! Even after one day in our smaller house from the bigger apartment, I can say it will be great for our minimalist lifestyle. Congrats to you too on your new house!

  • Joe June 27, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Congratulations! I think the size is good. A tiny home is really too small, for us anyway.
    Where are the pictures? 🙂

    • Britt June 27, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks, Joe! If I shared pictures right now, it would just be photos of boxes – stay tuned.

  • jennifer June 27, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Britt, congratulations! I’m so excited for you. It’s not THE tiny house but it sounds like it’s the perfect match for you guys. Minimalism can live anywhere, from a tiny house to even a large house.

    • Britt June 27, 2018 at 8:39 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! And I completely agree – the size of your house doesn’t define you as a minimalist. But there are lots of purists out there who would disagree with us!

  • Heather Groce June 27, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Congrats! No judgement on the dream thing.Our youngest kiddo was 8 and we were looking at all kinds of dreams for the future,since our kids were getting to the “portable” age,and we were nearing our 40’s.Well,surprise! You’re going to have another baby! LOL So,some dreams changed or paused.But you know what? My Katherine brought new dreams with her! Our older kids adore their baby sister and I cannot imagine my life without her now! So,don’t look at it as not getting your original dream,instead look at it as a new one coming true. 🙂 That’s the beautiful thing about this life! Change is just new opportunity. Best of luck and enjoy your new chapter!

    • Britt June 27, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Hi Heather, thanks for sharing! I love your perspective – dreams aren’t static. They change with your life situation! I’m glad your new daughter has brought new dreams into your life. Thank you so much for your well wishes!

  • Lisa June 27, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Oh my gosh, Britt, so excited for you guys!! Congratulations! That’s wonderful news! How awesome that you found something that you love and that was reasonably priced. And seriously, no judgement passed on your tiny house dream. I really know the feeling of having to put dreams on pause because circumstances just don’t allow for them at the time. Good luck with the packing and unpacking – it’s these kind of moments when you think to yourself, thank goodness we’re minimalists!!! Can’t wait to hear more about your new place soon!!

    • Britt June 27, 2018 at 7:37 am

      Thanks, Lisa! I really appreciate your kind words. And being a minimalist is always the best around moving time! Moving is still a pain in the butt, but we managed to load and unload everything in a couple of hours. Minimalism for the win!

      • Lisa June 27, 2018 at 5:53 pm

        Awesome!! A couple of hours sounds like a breeze (relatively speaking)! 🙂

  • Sarah June 26, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Oh my gosh Britt congrats!! Home ownership is wonderful, scary, stressful, fun and every other thing. You will love it.

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      Haha thanks, Sarah! I’m looking forward to the good, the bad and the ugly!

  • steveark June 26, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    It is so funny how it all depends on location. You are saying that 250k for a 1000 sq ft house is low priced for up there while down here in sweltering Arkansas you can get a nearly 3000 sq ft house for about $200k, at least that is what mine is worth approximately, on two acres with an eight minute commute to any local job and no crime or traffic whatsoever. Plus deer, beaver, foxes, wild pigs and perhaps once in awhile a bear in your backyard, which can be good or bad depending on how tough your pets think they are. Yours sounds like a great plan, any time you can beat the price of rent and build equity it is hard to lose. Even with our super low housing costs I don’t think I have to worry about a rush of Northern Ontarians coming to Arkansas, the heat would kill any Canadian!

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 6:08 pm

      Actually, you can find much bigger houses for 250k here, that’s just not what I was looking for. I also have an 8 minute commute to work, and lots of wildlife to keep me company.

      I could have purchased a much bigger house then I did, but I wouldn’t have wanted to deal with the cost to heat/cool it, tax increases and maintenance costs. To each his own!

      I don’t like the sweltering hot or the frigid cold. I’ll take a perfectly middle of the road temperature, thank you very much!

  • Linda Sand June 26, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Congratulations! At age 70 my husband and I have graduated to a one bedroom apartment and it still feels almost too big. So, well done you.

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks, Linda!

  • Erin | Reaching for FI June 26, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Ahhhhh congrats, Britt, this is so exciting! I’m happy you’re in a place that’s better and cheaper for you in the interim before you can make your tiny house dream a reality.

    I mean I’d totally move up to Northern Ontario so we could be IRL friends but ugh the winter 😩

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks, Erin! And the winter here really isn’t that bad. I mean, it’s cold but it’s nowhere near the amount of snow I’m used to getting from growing up in the snowbelt! (Did I convince you to move?? 😉)

      • Erin | Reaching for FI June 26, 2018 at 4:17 pm

        Hahaha maybe the opposite. I love snow, hate the cold, so cold without snow is useless!

  • Leigh June 26, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Congrats! I know it isn’t the type of tiny house you wanted, but it’s still a pretty small house and it sounds like a good size for you. I’m glad it was easy for you guys to find a house of that size! I’ll miss the view from your old apartment on Instagram! Our condo now is 1200 sqft and I really don’t want any more space than that to clean.

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Thanks, Leigh! I’m going to miss that daily view too. But, it’s just a quick walk down the road to a park with the same view! So, it will still be on my IG. And I’m with you, bigger means more to clean – no thank you!

  • theluxestrategist June 26, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Such exciting news, Britt! And for those prices, I’ll def move where you are and we can be friends!

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Thanks, Luxe! Northern Ontario could use some cool people like you!

  • Deanna June 26, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Congratulations! Moving into a new place is always so exciting. (I just moved into a new apartment, myself!) And I’m with you on small houses–I have no interest in having a lot of extra space to clean, either, haha.

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Thanks, Deanna! Congrats on your new apartment. Cheers to small spaces!

  • Penny (@picksuppennies) June 26, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I’m so excited for you! I cannot wait to hear more about this journey. And I completely know the feeling of how will I explain this to my blog family. It’s so funny how that happens, isn’t it? It sounds like a great step for you. Cheers!

    • Britt June 26, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Thanks so much, Penny! I knew fellow bloggers would understand the struggle.

    Hey! I'm Britt. I write about living a tiny, simple, intentional life. Because life doesn't need to be lived big.