in which we become homeowners?!

We are buying a house!

The list of things we said we'd never do is really beginning to pile up! An SUV, a third dog, and now this.

All our lives -- until now -- renting was the only thing that made sense. The price of real estate in NYC and the Toronto area is nuts. Purchasing a home would have meant tripling (or more) our monthly housing costs, or having a two-hour (each way) commute, or buying a condo. None of those options were appealing. We also didn't want the responsibility of home ownership. We simply didn't care about owning.

But the landscape has changed. We live in a place where homes are affordable, and where the tenancy laws for families with animals make renting very insecure. We have moved too many times in the last 10 years, and as we plan for our older age, this gives us more security.

We originally thought we'd purchase the house we're renting, thinking the selling price would be low enough that we could renovate. Fortunately the owner wasn't interested, which led us to the real estate market, which led us to a beautiful house at an amazing price. We live in the last bit of affordable real estate on the west coast.

There weren't many houses to see in our price range. There are lots of fixer-uppers and a few townhouses -- not for us. And there are extremely expensive vacation/retirement properties -- also not for us. In the middle in our town? Four houses. Two we ruled out right away. And the other two, we disagreed on.

One house had my dream kitchen, with a large, loft-style living area looking out on an unbelievable view of bay and mountains, directly across the street. The yard would need fencing and work, but I was willing. The downside: a 30-minute drive each way, not just to work but to any town at all. No grocery store, drugstore, nothing. I work in town, so I volunteered to do all the shopping.

The other house was in town, walking distance to work (as we are now), with a nice kitchen, an amazing covered deck and a landscaped, fully fenced yard, plus everything else we were looking for.

But I couldn't let go of that dream kitchen and view. View and kitchen vs. deck and yard. We could not agree.

I slept on it.

I woke up realizing that driving 30 minutes each way, day in and day out, week after month after year, in all weather, would get very tiring and very expensive. At current prices, it would cost us about $350 per month in gas. And there would never be an option of just popping out to get something or go out for dinner -- everything is at least 30 minutes away.

I reluctantly said goodbye to dream kitchen and dream view. Allan was in love with the deck and yard house and was thrilled that I changed my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I knew it was the right choice.

We made an offer with a few conditions. The sellers accepted. And yesterday we were approved for a mortgage.

Here we go!

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