Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

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Johnny
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Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Johnny »

I would like to begin saving to purchase a house with my wife. I'm from the states originally, and to my knowledge you can easily purchase a home in the states that is foreclosed or that is being auctioned for a price significantly lower than it's market price.

Unfortunately, in Canada, if I researched properly, all foreclosures and auctions must be sold at full market price and the banks are diligent about ensuring it.

Is there any way I can purchase a home, fully paid-off, in Ontario, for under the price of $50,000? I don't mind if the home requires repairs. As long as the repairs are manageable I'd love to live in a fixer-upper with my wife and have a home of our own that we possess out-right. I'm strongly against debt and credit and both my wife and I have no history of either.

We both unfortunately work minimum wage so saving more faster isn't particularly realistic. I'd like to be able to purchase our own home within the next 5 years or so. Saving $50,000 seems completely attainable to me in that time-frame. But how can I find housing for that price? No renting, no 30-year-mortgage, no house hacking.

Really looking to keep our debt $0 and to turn our housing expenses into exclusively internet/water/electric. Any suggestions?


basuragomi
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by basuragomi »

Live somewhere around but not in Sault-Ste-Marie, Thunder Bay or elsewhere in the far western part of the province. Here's one.

bigato
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by bigato »

"Bring your tools and put your sweat equity to work!!!"

I like the ad! hahaha

Johnny
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Johnny »

Problem with that is that we'd legally have no place to park and live in it unless we're to rent out a space in a trailer park or in someone's backyard. But then that brings the whole problem of renting all over again. I love tiny houses but if I'm just gonna pay the same in rent I might as well have just got an apartment.

This option unfortunately doesn't work for me unless you can think of a work-around.

basuragomi wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:46 am
Live somewhere around but not in Sault-Ste-Marie, Thunder Bay or elsewhere in the far western part of the province. Here's one.
That looks fantastic! You're saying just look around and not in Sault-Ste-Marie and I'll be likely to find properties that are fixer-uppers within the $50,000 range? If so I love it. If that house isn't an anomaly and there's little reason to not live near Sault-Ste-Marie, living there would be a dream.

Thank you for that suggestion.

sky
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by sky »

There are air quality issues downwind of the steel plant in the Soo.

Johnny
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Johnny »

sky wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:45 am
There are air quality issues downwind of the steel plant in the Soo.
Also believe I just read about a heroin problem. Aside from air quality and people on heroin it looks like a great place to live though. I'm still sorta for it as I genuinely can't find anywhere near as competitive of a price for housing but I'm sure those two tidbits of info alone might dissuade my wife a little bit.

Also considering Quebec, but my wife and I both don't speak French.

We're ultimately just looking for a way of attaining paid-off housing, preferably finding something under the $50,000 range.

Alphaville
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Alphaville »

I’ve been to Canada a couple of times but know nothing of housing market there.

Nevertheless, I have experience building a house for under $10k because of access to land and using conventional construction methods and materials. Initial cost was about $5K then we added. It doesn’t have a great foundation though :lol:

Land can be fairly affordable even in expensive markets, so maybe land could be your ticket? Buy the land, build as you go.

Building conventionally with wooden frames plus drywall is fast cheap and legal in most places. Everyone knows how to do it (even family and friends in my case) it’s fairly easy to get approvals, materials abound, etc. It can also be started small and easily expanded as your needs grow, and it can be easily sold should you need to move.

It’s not the best in environmental terms, if that is a concern. There are green alternatives like using cotton or wool insulation instead fiberglass, but it’s not a whole system thing.

As for other building methods, I’ve looked at cob, straw bale, rammed earth, earthships, cinderblock, shipping containers, tiny houses, cordwood, and i’ve been reading about wofatis lately. Some of these are more eco-friendly, some are more durable, but I could only do any of that in a rural place, and I’m currently looking at urban lots.

bigato
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by bigato »

I take it that the rent you'd pay to park a tiny house will always be less than what you'd pay to live in a house? That's a win and a step towards your goal of being rent-free, isn't it? And being on wheels make it so much easier to hunt for opportunities in cheaper land rent. But also, if you watch those tiny house youtube videos, quite a lot of them have some kind of arrangement where they don't pay rent, or pay very little. If it were me, I'd see if some friend would like to have me over at their backyard for a while, maybe work in some project together? There's the Rob Greenfield example, where he offered to plant people a garden and improving the land in exchange of staying there. Money is not always the only way to pay. And hopefully, over time, the savings in low or no rent paying, would accumulate enough to allow you to buy land somewhere cheaper. Once you have the land, you move your tiny house there and build something without a hurry. Or not, maybe you like the tiny house so much that you decide just to build additional spaces in the land, like a shed. Maybe you even build something to rent out and keep living in the tiny house. There are many possibilities.

Johnny
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Johnny »

Alphaville wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 12:22 pm
I’ve been to Canada a couple of times but know nothing of housing market there.

Nevertheless, I have experience building a house for under $10k because of access to land and using conventional construction methods and materials. Initial cost was about $5K then we added. It doesn’t have a great foundation though :lol:

Land can be fairly affordable even in expensive markets, so maybe land could be your ticket? Buy the land, build as you go.

Building conventionally with wooden frames plus drywall is fast cheap and legal in most places. Everyone knows how to do it (even family and friends in my case) it’s fairly easy to get approvals, materials abound, etc. It can also be started small and easily expanded as your needs grow, and it can be easily sold should you need to move.

It’s not the best in environmental terms, if that is a concern. There are green alternatives like using cotton or wool insulation instead fiberglass, but it’s not a whole system thing.

As for other building methods, I’ve looked at cob, straw bale, rammed earth, earthships, cinderblock, shipping containers, tiny houses, cordwood, and i’ve been reading about wofatis lately. Some of these are more eco-friendly, some are more durable, but I could only do any of that in a rural place, and I’m currently looking at urban lots.
I would love to do something like this. Build my own house. If I'm not mistaken though, don't you have to generally pay a significant amount to just build your own house, doing all the labor yourself or not, and sticking to building codes, and hiring inspectors, having things attached to the grid. I feel like even if I were to build my own home it'd still end up costing over $50,000 just due to the regulations you have to go through alone. My only option to forego having to abide by regulations is to do exactly as you said, build in an urban area -- probably in the middle of a forest away from and cities whatsoever.

I would love this option by my wife and I are car-free. I truly doubt I could just purchase $5,000-10,000 of land and build whatever on it. The regulations, minimum house size, inspections, and getting hooked up to electric and water alone would put me back tens of thousands (at least I would assume).

I personally could absolutely live in a shack with solar power and well water and for the layout to be 500sqft or less and just live and be happy -- however I don't think doing that would be legal in most places within 2 hours of a city in Ontario. Not that I wouldn't love it, I just feel like it's not possible. If I'm wrong about this please feel free to correct me because I'd honestly love doing something like this.
bigato wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 2:31 pm
I take it that the rent you'd pay to park a tiny house will always be less than what you'd pay to live in a house? That's a win and a step towards your goal of being rent-free, isn't it? And being on wheels make it so much easier to hunt for opportunities in cheaper land rent. But also, if you watch those tiny house youtube videos, quite a lot of them have some kind of arrangement where they don't pay rent, or pay very little. If it were me, I'd see if some friend would like to have me over at their backyard for a while, maybe work in some project together? There's the Rob Greenfield example, where he offered to plant people a garden and improving the land in exchange of staying there. Money is not always the only way to pay. And hopefully, over time, the savings in low or no rent paying, would accumulate enough to allow you to buy land somewhere cheaper. Once you have the land, you move your tiny house there and build something without a hurry. Or not, maybe you like the tiny house so much that you decide just to build additional spaces in the land, like a shed. Maybe you even build something to rent out and keep living in the tiny house. There are many possibilities.

I'm really not trying to be rude, and I genuinely appreciate you trying to help, but please do some research on tiny houses. Most tiny houses are not legal for habitation in most places of the world. Renting land or someone's backyard also would absolutely not be cheaper compared to owning a fully paid off home. It's a question of whether I want to pay $150 a month in water, electric, and taxes or $450+ a month in land rent or HOA, water, electric, and possibly taxes. Also if I were to own my own home and it were to have more than one room I could always rent out one of the rooms and have a tenant.

I'd personally love to have a tiny house and I do appreciate you trying to help but tiny houses truly aren't feasible for most people unless you intend on parking out in the middle of nowhere completely away from any nearby cities, or renting someone else's land in a trailer park or a backyard or the like.

I absolutely love the tiny house lifestyle but it simply can't work. If you still think it can, please educate me on how as I really don't manage to see how. In Ontario the minimum housing size permitted is 800sqft, not to mention adhering to building codes and bylaw requirements. Buying land and parking your tiny house on it isn't legal either. Living off-grid isn't legal either. Building on a foundation is legal if over 800sqft, but in that case, and especially due to having to stick to regulations/inspections/etc. I might as well have just purchased an actual home if I look at the overall price on it.

I would love the tiny house lifestyle and I could definitely see myself living in 400-500sqft completely happy -- I just don't think it's realistic. There is absolutely nowhere to park that costs less than owning your own home outright.

Alphaville
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Alphaville »

Johnny wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:46 am
regulations [...]
car-free.
you’re probably mistaken about the impossible costs. but i don’t know the housing codes of where you want to live or how. for me it was cheap connecting to utilities and getting the signature of a certified electrician or plumber. but i have connections with construction pros and ymmv. [eta: i don’t mean i got fake signatures: i mean i could find good professionals who could do a professional job for much less than commercial outfits]

then again i ended up moving from my rural diy house to an urban rental to follow the good jobs.

now if you want to live car-free (i do) you need to stay in an urban core with access to transportation, ease of walking/cycling, etc. in a city land will be pricier, and construction will have more stringent regulations due to density because we don’t want your christmas tree catching fire and killing 500 people. but in return you save on car costs and benefit from the city’s network effects. the city is where the opportunities are.

so, i see 2 possible options for cheap urban housing. i’m sure there are others:

-gentrify. buy a derelict property nobody wants in a rough/decaying neighborhood and restore it. not without its dangers obviously, you might get jacked or witness ugliness, there might be pollution, and you will run into permits and regulations and shit as you’re upgrading your electrical system or fixing the foundation, but that is the life of the homeowner my friend.

-if you have sufficiently low income, look at government programs for affordable housing. there are always subsidies available in large cities. you might have to get in line and wait for some time but yes. then again, i don’t know ontario or how the government there works, so you’d have to research.

holy shit i just realized it’s monday morning! i gotta go

(earlier i found this, but not a good fit for you: https://www.realtor.com/international/c ... 050104421/ )

slsdly
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by slsdly »

Sudbury maybe? I will follow this with interest. I'm not sure it can be done for <= $50k without a car in most of Ontario. I moved here from the east coast many years ago -- you could probably achieve this there < $100k in Fredericton, Moncton or possibly St. John's, if you aren't picky about the size/quality. Mind you, everyone I know drives in these communities because public transit is often slower than walking ;). Certainly Quebec, maybe you can find a nice anglo town, although most are in Montreal (which has cheap housing by Canadian urban standards, but not 50k cheap).

bigato
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by bigato »

I did my research before suggesting you a tiny house, and found out that Ontario building code dictates a minimum size of 17.5 square meters, that is 188 square feet. Some municipalities have a higher minimum, but you asked about Ontario. Have YOU done your research? Because Ontario have an official page with instructions regarding tiny house building and acquisition, what more can you ask than that? What does it even matter that tiny houses are not legal in several parts of the world! If you don't want tiny houses you should have stated it upfront.


Johnny
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Johnny »

bigato wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:11 pm
I did my research before suggesting you a tiny house, and found out that Ontario building code dictates a minimum size of 17.5 square meters, that is 188 square feet. Some municipalities have a higher minimum, but you asked about Ontario. Have YOU done your research? Because Ontario have an official page with instructions regarding tiny house building and acquisition, what more can you ask than that? What does it even matter that tiny houses are not legal in several parts of the world! If you don't want tiny houses you should have stated it upfront.
I stated upfront that I'd be perfectly happy living in a tiny house. I also have read the Ontario website's document about building or buying a tiny house. Regardless of the information presented on the Ontario government website, I truly have yet to see a single tiny house legal in Ontario with a square footage like that. Also it's quite significant to consider that almost all tiny houses are typically illegal if not parked in an RV/Trailer park -- especially considering I'd be investing years of my life and money were I to embark on an adventure of either building or saving for a tiny house. It would really suck to find out after years of toil that my efforts amounted to nothing and all I have is a house on wheels that isn't legal to park anywhere without having to pay a monthly fee.

You really seem to be getting defensive and upset that I haven't taken your tiny house advice. If you can find a legal place to park a tiny house on my own land I'd gladly do so.

Calm down. I'm not against you.
slsdly wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:18 am
Sudbury maybe? I will follow this with interest. I'm not sure it can be done for <= $50k without a car in most of Ontario. I moved here from the east coast many years ago -- you could probably achieve this there < $100k in Fredericton, Moncton or possibly St. John's, if you aren't picky about the size/quality. Mind you, everyone I know drives in these communities because public transit is often slower than walking ;). Certainly Quebec, maybe you can find a nice anglo town, although most are in Montreal (which has cheap housing by Canadian urban standards, but not 50k cheap).
Sudbury doesn't look too bad. But yeah without a car... that's my problem. Just really looking to reduce our expenses to the bare minimum and save as much as possible. I personally stay pretty fit through bike-commuting and I thoroughly love doing it. Really not looking to do $100k, don't mind a fixer-upper. My wife and I will definitely keep our eyes out for handyman special's that run really cheap while we're saving up.

Cheers.
I'm cool with it, but I don't think my wife would be cool with living in a convenience store in a janitors closet. However I have been looking at Windsor as an option! Would actually like to live there for a few reasons other than just price (even if it is considered the worst place in Canada).

Alphaville
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Alphaville »

Johnny wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 7:32 pm

I'm cool with it, but I don't think my wife would be cool with living in a convenience store in a janitors closet.
you should try it. adversity is good for couples. work together and install a murphy bed in there.

Johnny
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Johnny »

As far as I'm getting -- my best two options for virtually expense-free housing is to either:
  1. Find a fixer-upper somewhere in Ontario for under $50,000 and fix it while living in it. Potentially rent out one of the rooms once the rehabilitation grows closer to completion (By owning my own home I could get money back through the form of a tenant and have my electric and whatnot paid for and could realistically make yearly profits of around $2500-3000 after all expenses. ). Would also be able to live within a city with this option. However I need to keep in mind that there are very few homes priced under $50,000; the only one's that are also seem to be in quite dodgy locations (such as drug problems, higher crime, or environmental issues).
  2. My second option would be to build my own Tiny House On Wheels and to live in it full-time on my own self-owned property. Doing something such as this and living off of solar power and well water would reduce my annual housing expenses to nothing but the cost of taxes of owning the lot of land. The only problems with this method are that I'd likely have to live tens of miles outside of the city (which could be a problem for someone who bike-commutes) and that it technically isn't legal (however most wont care enough to enforce anything). Interesting tidbit of information on parking a THOW on your own property: https://youtu.be/ibroFBXFw3k?t=416
I think these would be my best options and would permit me to avoid ever having debt and to reduce my yearly housing expenses to nearly nothing whatsoever. No 30-year-mortgage. I don't care about the opportunity cost. I don't want to use leverage. I am happily and would like to remain happily life-long debt-free.

The traditional home-ownership is clearly the better option, but the allure of a tiny house still compels me in some way...

bigato
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by bigato »


Alphaville
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by Alphaville »

the fixer upper has non-monetary or costs: yes, you pay less money, buy you might pay in stress, health, time, or other forms. it’s not necessarily “cheaper.” however it can be a great “investment” if the neighborhood is on the way up.

when i was in my 20s i used to live in various “problematic” neighborhoods. i guess i was in the front line of gentrification. for me it was fun and exciting and i was not afraid or ever hurt. but i owned nothing, and my windows had iron bars. my closest neighbors, who were building a nice house in the shell of an old one, got broken into frequently though. also, not sure if their investment paid off: when i went to visit years later they were gone and the house looked neglected. the neighborhood took longer to take off than expected, so maybe they got tired . who knows? place must be worth a fortune now, but it wasn’t a quick fortune.

also, i wouldn’t park a tiny house in a “bad” neighborhood. if you go tiny, look for a safe neighborhood, you will be a lot happier. a tiny house is more exposed, and if bullets are flying... . :lol:

anyway another option for the fixer upper could be flipping houses: buy supercheap, fix, resell, buy next house, repeat, until you can get to the location where you want to be. it’s a business though, and not without risks. some people can make money on it, some people lose because they lack the energy or skills or whatever. but if you’re willing to put the time and energy into learning the business, you could do very well. dont believe me, ask your landlord :D (but it’s not free money: it’s a business)

a bit related to that: you last option could be also to forget about the house for a moment. if you’re in a city, in an industry where opportunities abound, you can focus your energy and time on your skills and education and earning opportunities. getting to a position where you can make double or triple or four times minimum wage, you’re going to have a lot of other options, and saving for a home and retirement will be a lot easier. your “human capital” can generally appraise a lot faster than any land or structure. so there’s that.

lots of options out there, maybe you could combine some, best wishes with all of it.

basuragomi
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Re: Cheap Housing In Ontario? (Without Debt or Renting)

Post by basuragomi »

Another option I looked into was living up/across river and boating/skidoo to the urban centre. No problem in the summer but you would have to stockpile for freeze-in and breakup seasons. Depending on the boat it would be cheaper than a car and would still give access to cheaper housing. Ultimately any location that enables cheaper transportation comes with a premium. There is a whole gradient of non-car options to extend your travel range too, like e-bikes and public transit. It's up to you to decide what is a reasonable trade-off.

If you're American, then buying a very cheap house in Detroit and walking over to work in Windsor (or vice versa) is another popular strategy. Ontario-adjacent, and you get to experience the worst of living in Detroit combined with the worst of living in Windsor!

To piggyback on @Alphaville, if you have the skills to build your own house you have the skills to make 3-4x minimum wage. Simply showing up on schedule puts you in the top 5% of tradespeople.

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