Things I have Learned as a Renter


We have been renters our entire marriage. I’ve actually been a renter for 95% of my life. My dad was in the military and we moved every few years making buying a house pointless. My parents didn’t buy their home until I was in my mid teens and they still live there today. As a result I have grown up with a renter mentality and haven’t really known much different. We have experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of renting. Good was a loft style, extremely cheap apartment, the bad was a rental owned by “friends” who neglected to tell us the place had mice and cockroaches (t was a nightmare….a nightmare), and the ugly was just that, ugly. It was kind of falling apart, but was supposed to be newly renovated. It looked okay at first but then you saw how bad the finishes were, they really cheaped out on it. Plus it was extremely expensive to heat. For the costs of heating we could have afforded a much nicer place.

Tom and I haven’t been in a financial place to buy a home anyway so it has never been forefront in our minds. Before we moved to Toronto we lived in Peterborough for the first 9 years of our relationship. Tom grew up there, I didn’t so I never felt any ties to the city. It was not a place that I saw us buying a home and putting down roots. I’ve never actually lived any place that I felt it was my “forever home”. The place where I would live for the rest of my life. I guess that thought scares me. I have always thought of myself as a traveler even though I have rarely had the opportunity to travel. I envisioned my future as constantly moving around and experiencing new cities and cultures with my family. Eventually settling in some place foreign.  I realize how far-fetched that reality is but that doesn’t lessen the desire. I guess I feel that if we settle someplace permanently than that is like completely killing my dream. It’s ridiculous I know. I realize that as a family my wants, dreams, and ambitions aren’t every body else’s and I need to accept that. It’s just a hard pill to swallow with a dream being over before it even had a chance to start.

With this acceptance comes the thoughts that maybe buying a home might be in our future. With living in so many rentals over the years I know what types of things we like and don’t. What we may want in a home a what we definitely don’t.  I do know that we want a condo.  Having an actual house sounds like a complete utter pain in the ass to me. I hate yard work shovelling, and maintenance and Tom is not mister fix-it so a condo lifestyle suits us better.

Things I know that I want:

1. One floor. I don’t like running up and down the stairs.

2. Two bedrooms. The girls can share a room. Three bedroom condos are like unicorns so I won’t even bother (aside from the much increased costs).

3. Open concept

open concept

Photo via HGTV

4. Floor to ceiling windows. All of our places haven’t had a lot of sunlight. I would like to have a bright blast of light if wanted.


Photo via Uncovet

5. White walls with the colour in the furniture and accents.  I know painting is easy but I really like the look of an all painted white home, including kitchen cupboards.


Photo via Pinterest

6. A little more floor space than what we have now with storage. I actually like a small space but my husband and children can’t manage to lessen the amount of shit they have. If I can’t store it or hide it away it becomes cluttered and a drain to my motivation and energy level. I would live to have a less is more attitude with the home but every where I turn people have their crap piled. I just can’t seem to win. Every condo usually has a storage locker but for some reason our current landlord decided to keep it for himself so we have absolute no place to put things. Even my Christmas tree is in a box pushed against the living room wall.

7. A balcony. My ideal would be a large balcony that runs along the side off of the apartment but realistically I know we will have to settle for smaller. 


Photo by Michael Franke via The Home Journal

8. Underground parking.

9. A pool and exercise room. Our current place has both and the girls love to seem in the indoor pool.



10. Walkable to all important amenities and right on the route of a subway line. Tom works crazy hours all through the week and I don’t have access to a car until weekends and sometimes even not then. So it is important that everything I could need is within a few minutes walk. Being on a subway route line would be a bonus because it would be a cheap quick way to go on a spontaneous outing like the museum without needing a car to get there.


In an alternate dream universe my ideal home would be a large, high ceilinged, industrial looking loft.


Photo vía Alberto Moya

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