When my husband and I married in 2011 we knew we wanted kids, and we also knew that his building was age and pet restricted. He was the condo board president. We started a campaign to have the bylaws changed to allow children. We failed by one vote; people who don’t vote count as a ‘no’ vote.
After the failed bylaw change we decided to sell. We started improving our unit, with the understanding that it needed upgrades to attract a buyer and that it may take time to sell. We had no idea how long it would take. We renovated the kitchen and listed the unit . . . and for a year received no offers despite over 100 showings. The realtors stated that the bylaws were a huge hindrance for the sale.
By that time it was 2013 and I was pregnant–the situation was becoming serious. We did more renovations and resolved to keep the condo if baby came; we saved our money in the event that we would have to buy a second house. At six months into the pregnancy the unit finally sold. It took 2.5 years to sell!
We had 14 days to move, but we didn’t have a house to move to. So we ended up in limbo–we found a place after several weeks and a prolonged stay in an AirBnB. We chose the house we’re in now because of the ease of moving in late October. It’s neither our ideal house nor our ideal location. It’s home now though; our son is 3 and came home from the hospital there.
After a year in the house I lost my professional job during the 2015 downturn; the house was only affordable to us based on our household income of over 150k. With the loss of one income things are a struggle. Housing costs take up over 40% of our after tax income, and the house is 70 years old so needs alot of maintenance. We are now living paycheck to paycheck because of the double whammy of the forced move and job loss. I can’t help but think things could have been a lot different if we hadn’t been forced to move.
Our total housing cost in the condo was $1,000 per month. Now we’re lucky if it’s under $2500. I can’t afford extracurricular activities for my son right now. So I’m looking for work and have received interest relief on my remaining student loan. I hope to start working in the next month and help improve our situation.
Wanda is an Edmonton resident.