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The cost of owning a home

Two weeks ago, my tenant messaged me that there was water all over the floor in my suite.

It took a few minutes to trace back the source of the leak. We ended up having to open up a wall to see what was going on.

I’m not a plumber, so bear with my rough explanation here.

The main pipe that drains all of the water (and I do mean all the water) from upstairs and connects to the city sewer system had snapped. I’ve been in the house for almost 11 years and have never had an issue with this.

I’m still not sure what caused this to happen now.

The water that leaked ran under the flooring and wicked up into the drywall and the base of the kitchen cabinets.

We dried up and bleached the affected area and removed a section of the wall that was damaged.

During the last two weeks while I waited to see if my home insurance was going to cover the damage, I’ve done a fair bit of thinking.

I was thinking about the “what if” scenario – what if insurance didn’t cover the remediation and repairs?

I calculated the cost of the materials to replace the flooring, drywall, and the cabinets in the kitchen. I did my best to estimate the cost of the labour to put the suite back together.

This has been a great reality check for me.

When I work with first-time home buyers, part of what we talk about is lifestyle.

I work through the numbers and go over what they qualify to borrow and what their potential price point should be. We talk about different types of properties available: single family homes, condominiums, town homes, etc.

Then, we dive into actual costs involved with each type of property, as well as homeowner responsibilities for each. We discuss the advantages and potential disadvantages of each type of home based on my clients’ lifestyle and support system.

So back to my plumbing challenge.

I am fortunate that I have a friend who is very handy and works in a trade related to plumbing. He was able to temporarily patch the pipe for me and help with the initial clean up and demolition.

  • What if you have no support nearby?
  • What if something like this happens unexpectedly?
  • Are you living paycheque to paycheque? Or do you have an emergency fund to cover a late-night call out for a plumber?

Maybe buying a property at a lower price point is a better option so that you are able to have savings to deal with unexpected issues that come up.

Maybe looking for something smaller and newer is a better fit for your lifestyle and skill set.

Alternatively, maybe you are really handy and have family and friends nearby to help you with emergencies or renovations.

Whether you are getting ready to buy your first (or next home), it’s a great idea to sit down and think about:

  • What your true costs will be and how that figure fits into your monthly budget
  • Whether home will just be a place to land between social activities or whether you love to work on home improvement projects
  • Your need for privacy and personal space
  • Location as it relates to work, school, etc.

It has been interesting to see how conversations with my clients have changed as COVID carries on. I am seeing more clients wanting to spend time and money working on their homes as they have more time on their hands.

I am also seeing clients who are able to save more for their down payments as their social activities have changed over the last few months.

If you are thinking of making the leap to home ownership, do your homework. Spend some time considering the “what ifs” that may happen down the road.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

Tracy Head and Laurie Baird help busy families find mortgage solutions. Together they have more than 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

With today’s increasingly complicated mortgage rules, Tracy and Laurie spend time getting to know the people they work with and help them to better understand the mortgage process. They support their clients before, during, and after their mortgage is in place.

Tracy and Laurie work closely with their clients, offering advice and options. With access to more than 40 different lenders, Tracy and Laurie are able to assist with residential, commercial, and reverse mortgages in order to match the needs of their clients with the right mortgage package.

They work closely with their clients to find the right fit, and are around to provide support for years down the road!

Contact them at 250-862-1806 or visit

Visit their blog at


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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