One of the biggest parts of our FI plan was to sell our primary residence and downsizing to a smaller house in a much smaller town with much lower living expenses. At the beginning of 2017 we lived in a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2300 sq. feet house in Ottawa. Much bigger than we actually needed… We purchased this house just a few years ago before we discovered the concept of early retirement. The good news is we had put a pretty good down payment on the house. The property had already gone up in value a bit so we were not going to loose any money on this “pre FI thinking” decision.
Our plan for 2017 was to add even more value to this house and make sure we get the most out of the sale to speed up our FI plans. So we finished our basement adding a full bathroom, additional bedroom and office. We hired my father to help and did as much work ourselves. It felt like we were living in a mansion… We had a staging consultation and went on a kijiji shopping spree to fill our house with useless furniture and decorations. Before we even had the chance to catch our breath, we listed the house for sale in May. Selling a house is difficult and stressful alone but doing it with 2 kids (and all their toys) is crazy.
In total we went through over 30 showings and 6 weeks later we had a buyer!! We then hurried up to sell all the useless furniture and decorations we bought back onto kijiji over the next month. Staging a house can sometimes be expensive but we ended up getting over 90% of it back. Because we are not quite ready for FI yet, we rented a condo in the same part of town. This condo is much smaller (2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths and 1200 sq. ft). We are downsizing a lot but we love it. Now we don’t have anything tying us down and as soon as we are ready we can pull the trigger, quit our jobs and move to our new mortgage free house in small town Northern Ontario (more on this later…).
When everything was settled we ended up with $165,000 from our sale. This will be more than enough to live mortgage free. Thanks to geoarbitrage!! More on this later.
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