Moving Woes

The forest was uncommonly busy this morning during our usual 6 am time slot. We passed no less than five dogs in the span of half an hour. Our hidden gem is no longer quite so hidden. I am taking this as another sign it’s time to move on.

There are just over three weeks before we need to be out of our house. To-do lists are constantly streaming through my head. We haven’t done any packing yet and we haven’t  looked at the cost of renting a van. What’s more, we haven’t even found a new place to live.

Nothin’ like leaving it to the last minute, eh?

It’s not for lack of effort. Since April we have been on the rental trail. This week alone I have set up a dozen different appointments for viewings. There are plenty of places out there, that isn’t the problem. The hard part is finding one that meets all of our needs. I don’t want to move just for the sake of moving. There is no point in going through all the hassle if we’re just going to end up with what we already have. Unfortunately, that may be the direction we end up taking.

The dream of a fenced yard is proving much more elusive than I ever expected.

With all this difficulty, I start to wonder if renting should continue to be our housing strategy. Maybe it is better to start looking into buying a home instead. I have been hesitant about that route for a great many reasons, the largest being commitment. The job market isn’t fantastic. In the last year we have tossed around casual ideas about relocating to another city, potentially even another province. This idea doesn’t thrill me as I love Nova Scotia dearly, but it may become the smart thing to do. Buying a home would remove this course of action from our options list.

That being said, if we do take that terrifying step, we will be able to get all the things we are looking for in a house. We won’t have to worry about strict pet policies or relying on landlords to fix things. That dang fenced yard will finally be ours (all ours, mwahahahaha!).

But is the gain worth all the risk?

Do you own your own home? How did you make the decision? Any regrets? If you are still renting, do you ever feel the pressure to buy?

22 thoughts on “Moving Woes

  1. We own our home. For us there really wasn’t any other option. We live next to my mother-in-law in a duplex. It seemed like the right move at the time.

    I think buying vs renting all depends on the situation, if you are able to buy I really think that this is the best way to go, but only if the house is what you want! It’s a huge commitment! There are things about our house that I never took into consideration when we purchased it, like the steps. Way to many steps for big dogs when they get old. We live on a busy street, wish we lived in a neighborhood-for the sake of the kids.
    Good luck to you!


  2. I just bought my place a year ago (June 17th is the official date…hmm, might need to have a celebratory party!) and I do enjoy it. Though, I have had the same thought of moving to find work, and have put it off for just this reason. But keep in mind if you buy a place, you can always rent it (and if you allow pets, you are guaranteed to fill it). I chose my place based on proximity to work and to the dog park, and I’ve got no complaints about that. And there’s nothing like not worrying about landlords, or loosing your damage deposit. And frankly, now is the time to buy (in your means!).
    The other thing to think about is, if you move out of Nova Scotia, it will be waaaaay harder to buy since our housing costs are so low. I’m paying less to own than I was to rent, the only hard part was the initial costs (down payment, closing fees, etc), but there are programs that allow you to use your mortgage to cover that stuff.


  3. I’m going to weigh in as a renter.

    I would love nothing more than to own my own home, but it’s not a financially viable option for us right now… or for the foreseeable future, as the current economy has GREATLY reduced my number of clients. (Spring is usually the busiest time for a freelance designer, and I’ve heard nothing but crickets since early March!)

    Renting is a pain. None of the “nice, but affordable” places allow pets – at least, not here in Ontario. Rent prices are insane, and I feel like I might as well just burn my money every month. At least if we owned the place, we’d have something to show for our monthly payments! I say, if you can swing a house, go for it!! If you decide to move out of province, you can always sell… Or like Jenn says above me, you can rent it out to someone!


  4. Hi Kristine, we own our home but we’re looking at moving back into Vancouver from an adjoining municipality. Well those stories that you’ve heard about real estate prices within the City of Vancouver are true. They are astronomical. Million dollar homes are not of any note out here. They are as common as the rainfall we get. The problem is, not many people are flush with that kind of cash so people load up on debt or rent out a one-bedroom basement suite (mortgage helper) for $1200, or do both. As for your decision, it will always be frightening if you buy. And jobs will never be secure. If you get laid off, there is unemployment benefits, not much but it’s better that nothing. And if you had to, you could do retail or something else until you found a job more suited to you. So first figure out what would be the best for everyone and “move” in that direction (no pun intended).


  5. I own two homes (talk about scary)! We truly didn’t need to buy a second house, but the pros of privacy, outdoor space and being in the forest won out over all my worries. Yes, we still often sya, “We were crazyto buy this house”, but live with no regrets. You only live once, and shouldn’t you love the place where you live?

    I think waiting for the “right time” to buy a house is kind of like waiting for the right time to have children. One day, you simply have to bite the bullet and go for it, otherwise, you’ll end up waiting until its too late.


  6. oh, kristine, i remember this dilemma well, as we are just about to come up on our 2nd anniversary of homeownership, also on the 17th like jenn (how random!).

    we rented two different apartments in four years before deciding to buy a house, but we always knew our goal was to buy a house. at our last apartment, we didn’t have anything in our lease about pets, so we eventually asked our landlord (it was a 2-family house, landlord living in the first floor apartment) if we could get a small dog (like beagle-sized). she said no. it was at that point that we realized we needed to step up our house hunting efforts, because there was no way we were going to pack up and move into yet another apartment–nor were we willing to live an undetermined amount of time w/o a dog.

    money was terrifying, of course, but we agreed to give up things to get the house–like one of our cars, our expensive cell phone plans, etc. plus, we had already had the “omg, can we afford this?” conversation/panic before we moved in together and then moved into a more expensive apartment, but we always found a way to make it work. as tends to happen when you really want to do something. 🙂

    when we bought our house, we knew we’d need to replace the fence in order to get a dog (many places in LI require you to have a fenced-in yard and do home visits), and we were OK with that. we did not, however, realize that we’d spend thousands of dollars and many hours renovating the house just to have some jerky dog come in and trash it. le sigh…

    on a side note, i TOTALLY want to move out of NY so a better/bigger house would be more affordable. but i am a scaredy cat.

    i wish you the very best of luck on your hunt for a place to live and hope you find a close-to-ideal apartment for now!


  7. We own our own home. We were in the same apartment for the years after college, and were tired of dealing with landlords, and not having a dog (which we both wanted, badly!) and not having a yard. Not that our yard has been MUCH of an upgrade, but we have a lot more space, we have friends who are housemates, and we have…a dog!

    It’s cost us $400 ish more every month (Our mortgage payments include money for homeowner’s insurance, which is kept in escrow, and also for taxes, which is also kept in escrow). Only 14 years left on that!


  8. I’m in the same boat as Sara, we own two homes. The one we left we rent out, this in and of itself is a big pain in the butt. The town it’s in is on the fast track to hell and I can’t get a decent tenant in one side.

    The house we live in is too big and too expensive for us, but we have no choice. We either make it work or go back to the ghetto. Been there, done that and prefer not to do it again.

    Do I love the house I live in? YES! I do, but financially we are so constricted having two houses that we can’t do anything. Not to mention the kid that moved with us to help pay rent left, which tightens the belt even more. I just keep robbing Peter to pay Paul and try to manage my stress.

    That didn’t help at all did it? It has to be what’s right for you Kristine, if you have the savings, it is a buyer’s market. 🙂


  9. My husband and I have moved three times in two years (the first time to our current city and the second two times largely because of the dog). We have a fenced yard now, but Pearl can still jump the fence and her recall is horrendous so sadly its not as great as we thought it would be. We have amazing landlords now and I hope to stay until its financially viable for us to buy our own place (after we graduate), because at least we now live in a detached single family home with no roommates so Pearl’s barking, etc. doesn’t bother anyone and the landlords are also dog owners (and live next door) so they are really understanding. Moving SUCKS, its expensive and a pain in the butt and I don’t want to do it again until I am moving into my OWN place and somewhere that has everything I want and I want to stay for awhile. Obviously only you can decide what is best for you, but I am such a planner that I am very reluctant to buy my own home until I know I want to stay somewhere for the long term and either my husband or I, or preferably both, have secure jobs that we are happy with. I know how you feel- good luck with what you decide and keep us updated!


  10. I still remember how scary it was when we bought our first house, but I truly love being a homeowner! When we moved back to Portland from South Carolina we had to rent a townhome and we both hated it. Since it was “pet friendly” there were too many dogs for Cali to bark at on walks and most of the humans didn’t clean up after their dogs – YUCK! We were so happy when we found a house with the yard we wanted.

    Either way, it’s expensive, but we enjoy the tax advantages of owning! Good luck with your search – I hope you find what you are dreaming of!!


  11. We’ve purchased two places so far. The first was a condo, which I loved, because it’s all the ease of renting, but it’s yours. Now we’re in a house. I love having a small yard, and I like having more space than we used to. But it’s way more responsibility and expense than I really want. And, really, it’s just more space for dog fur to spread into. That being said, with 3 dogs, I don’t think we’d ever find a rental that would let us in, though I do hope to go back to a condo or townhouse because it just seems like less maintenance!


  12. We purchased our house after having been renters for some time. When we rented that house we lived in before, we specifically asked the landlady if she had any intentions on selling the house at all. She said no, there was no way she was going to sell it, too much hassle. So, we and our kids and pets moved in. A few months later she put the house up for sale. She kept bringing over buyers to look at the place or rather having the realtor do so. Most the time they wouldn’t even respect the 24 hour tenant notice. She kept doing this for probably a good year or so. Soon as we had a chance to we bought our own place. Owning has its disadvantages, but I guess in technicality you become your own landlord which is a whole lot better than a less than stellar landlord/landlady.


  13. We own our house too. No regrets, love not renting, having space – a fenced yard. 🙂 Not sure how things are up North, but here homes are at rock bottom and so are the interest rates, so it might be a good time to buy. But is you are seriously thinking you might want to move to a new city, then it might not be a good option, only because you’ll lose out on all that money in closing costs. Good luck with your decision – I know its a big one!


  14. My boss laughs at me when I suggest we do some cross-promotion between the local SPCA and our housing non-profit. He just doesn’t get it. After all, wanting to have pets is a big motivator for many home buyers.

    Home buying is a big decision. And, in truth, despite what everyone says, most people don’t actually make a profit on a house once you include taxes, maintenance, etc. But the best decisions aren’t necessarily made because they make economic sense. If they did, no one would have pets. And, certainly, no one would have children.

    You’re most likely to come out ahead financially if you can commit to staying on one place for a long time. And it sounds like that is uncertain for you right now.

    In the end, you can just decide. And, once you decide, you live with your decisions. Not very comforting I know.

    Let me know if I can help you in any way. I’m currently working with 3 Canadians who are buying houses in my town while attending grad school. It’s quite a cross-cultural, real estate exchange.

    BTW, do any of the local universities or colleges have vet medicine or vet tech programs? You might find more pet-friendly rentals nearby. At least that’s the case here near the Cornell vet school.


  15. I thought I remember you writing that you’d found a great place to rent?!? That must have fallen through.

    I rented for a number of years and have owned three houses and a condo – I know, it’s ridiculous. I never felt “settled” and just kept moving around (it all makes sense now). In the process I’ve lost a lot of money on real estate. My advice would be to continue renting until you’re sure you want to stay put. The price of your freedom can be high if you’re trapped by a house. And, if you never decide that you want to stay put, I’d suggest an RV. You get to own something, and if you want to move you can take it with you! Though, they don’t come with a backyard and that is a drawback.


  16. Buying a house is scary. It is not like it was a few years ago when you could buy and be able to sell quickly and make money if the house was not right. We have two homes. The one we live in, which is too big for us and our cabin which we hope will be our primary home someday, (much smaller and easy to manage). When we were deciding to buy, we looked at how much it would cost to rent vs. buy and buying was a better deal for us. But it isn’t for everyone. 3 weeks to decide…lol…you like to live on the edge.


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  18. I own my house. For me, it seemed the only way to have the life I want to have–i.e., to be able to take in as many dogs as I want, when I want, and to design the house around their needs. Which I’ve done. Occasionally I miss the flexibility of renting, but there are many reasons why Florian and I need to stay where we are for the time being anyway.

    It’s nice to have an investment too, and in this economy housing is as sure an investment as anything!

    I totally hear you with that feeling of upheaval around moving–I hope you find the ideal place soon!


  19. Owning a home, especially from the standpoint of dog ownership is amazing. No one can tell you you can’t have a dog, how to keep your yard, or anything for that matter!

    Sure there are stresses, you’re pretty stuck there (hi 30 year mortgage!) but the pride you feel in owning a home is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. You dream of changes updates and plans, even if you can’t do them right then, you can’t stop dreaming. I found the minute I left our home we owned and moved back into a rental those dreams were done. As well as the pride of knowing this is MY house.

    But yeah, no one fixes things when they break, the cost is higher sometimes, but oh how I love it. And miss it.

    Good luck, it’s a big decision!


  20. Well, better late than never. At least I got to read about how you started hunting in April! And still haven’t found anything! Gulp.

    I bought my first house in my late 20s. I think this is number 5. I’m very slow to relocate because it takes me a long time to get comfy with a place. That said, I’ve always enjoyed the experience of being…wherever. The first house felt like a millstone round my neck. I did have to give up things I enjoyed, like travelling. But on the whole, no regrets. I have friends who are still getting kicked out and house hunting to rent in their 30s. They’re totally fed up with it. If I were you, I’d bite the bullet. There’s nothing like having a roof over your head that’s all yours, even if it occasionally leaks. Good luck Ms Tonks! X


  21. I’m late to the party, but we own our home and I’m so glad that we do! We don’t answer to anyone about what we do to it, and I am a bit of a homebody, at least during the week, so it’s the place I like to make as my own. It’s a place I like to be as opposed to just sort of passing time there. It is a commitment, but right now, things are in the buyer’s favor. I’d say take the plunge!


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