Friday, May 17, 2013

Reality Check

Last October we found out that our apartment strata was in desperate need of repairs to the tune of around $6 million dollars.

At the time we felt completely blindsided as we had already paid several thousands of dollars in special assessments since we bought in 2008. We were also completely pissed off because the situation was the clear result of negligence on the part of the property manager and previous owners.

So we got hit with this news in October and then pretty much heard nothing else from the strata since then. While they were silent hubby and I were busy looking at all our options. 

Could we sell? Should we sell? Could we re-mortgage to acquire the nearly $100,000 we would need to pay?

The answer - not suruprisingly - to all of those questions was no.  We were in a the worst position we could imagine.  So we waited it out...hoping that the strata council would figure out a way to make this all better.

On Wednesday night the owners were brought together again and the first thing we were handed as we walked in the door was a breakdown of the costs for the repairs showing our units share:


The meeting was - to be a frank - a joke. Some people were still bitching about what should have been done in the past but wasn't. Others - clearly in better financial sistuations than us - were basically asking where do I pay?

Mostly there was confusion.  We talked about the repairs that were needed (pretty much replacing everything above the foundation). We talked about how those repairs could be completed (all at once, building by guidnling or componenet by component).  We talked about financing and loan options. 

One owner suggested we just "knock all the buildings down and build 6 new high rises in their place" (yeah...because we have enough money to do that!).  And others talked about getting a full property valuation to sell off the land and buildings and walk away.

I kept looking around at the faces of my neighbours - some who I like quite a lot and other who I  wanted to punch in the face as they asked the same question for the 10th time - and I was struck by the enormity of the situation. Most of us were facing the very real prospect of losing our homes.

What a shitty bit of bad luck for all of us.  Because thats what it is - bad luck.

It could happen to anyone. And while it feels good to bitch and moan and place blame on others at the time it doesn't change the reality. Our buildings need repairs and we have to pay for them. Anyone who can't pay their share will have to get out - whether that's by selling at a loss or walking away completely.

I love our house. It's the only home my youngest daughter has ever known.  It is comfortable and familiar and cozy and perfect for us. But it is just a house. We will find another if we have to and we will make that place just as much a home.

Hubby and I have some work to do and some decisions to make and we will do what we think is best for our little family. Because sometimes that's what you have to do when you are a grown up. Make the tough decisions...


Side note: the morning after this meeting I received some very sad news about something a dear friend was dealing with that really put my own situation into perspective.

I love how life works that way sometimes. Just when you start feeling really sorry for yourself you get a little wake up call that reminds you just how good you actually have it.

I have a husband I adore and two amazing little girls that own my heart completely. I could live in a cardboard box and as long as I had them with me I would be okay.

Be happy for what you have.

Be grateful for all you have been given.

Remember what's really important.

It's easy to turn phrases like those into lip service...I do that myself quite often. But they are more than that. They are the simple rules by which we should live.  And I will work harder to do just that.

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