How We Landed In Hamilton

We wish we were “those” people. The type whose story involved packing up everything we owned and moving somewhere for a new adventure. But the truth is, what led us to #HamOnt is much more boring and calculated.

The organization Live Different (formerly Absolute Leadership Development) has had their head office in Hamilton for quite some time now. My brother-in-law has been a part of the charity from the beginning and it was through a Builds volunteer trip that Kirstin and I met each other for the first time while in the Dominican Republic.

Having connections here, we often found ourselves watching Hamilton housing prices over the years and thought that if it ever made sense, we would head out this way. In my mind, the “if it ever made sense” theory was supposed to involve seizing an opportunity or landing a job. But what actually brought us here was necessity.

We had discussed that our goal after adoption would be for Kirstin to stay at home with our little one until they were ready for school. After crunching a few numbers, we realized quickly that Toronto would slowly sink us, but the relatively affordable housing in Hamilton—when compared to the rest of the GTA—would allow us to have a decent go at life even if we found ourselves under-employed. The only catch was that we’d need to find something that had a rental unit. In theory, owning a rental is great but not everyone is willing to share their primary residence and square footage. We’ve been landlords before, having rented out our place in Kingston, but this time around we’d need to live on the property and share the space.

We spotted our house listing for the first time while in South Africa and thankfully it didn’t sell before we had the chance to put in an offer. It’s a two story, three-bedroom, 1,300 sq ft house that has been sectioned into two self-contained apartments—and as you can see, was a little hard on the eyes.

We view this opportunity to own such a property as a gift, so I am not trying to sound like this is in any way a burden but it’s an important detail as our story unfolds. It was a decision that we made to pay the bills with the hope that it would provide us with some flexibility in the future. If we ever wanted to wander further than a few hundred kilometres from home on a regular basis, simplicity would be key. (And hopefully, WestJet’s new “ultra low-cost no-frills carrier” that was announced today will help too.)

It’s difficult putting down roots but we’re thrilled with our decision so far—as we’ve already experienced a bit of that flexibility we were hoping for. It has taken some time to fix up the house and get settled in, but now the three of us occupy the main floor of over 800 sq ft.

The other 500+ sq ft is currently Kirstin’s domain, where she’s mastered the art of being a Super Host.

But I’ll let her explain all of that. Right now, I’ve just been informed that there’s water dripping from over the kitchen sink.

Here’s hoping it’s nothing serious.

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