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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Financing Approval Obtained For The New House and Pictures!

This has been a crazy busy week trying to get things in order with the financing for the new house. On Tuesday this week, we finally received approval from the lender that our mortgage broker was working with, so our only challenge remaining is to bridge finance for two months between the date our remaining funds for our down payment become available, in January 2017 and the closing date of November 30. I am still fairly confident that one of my contacts will be keen to make an easy $500-$1,000 of interest income for a 2 month loan, but with any luck, we won't have to go that route. The reason is that we may qualify for a Small Business Finance Loan with the local branch of our bank in Saint John. Those of you who have been following the ongoing saga of our troubles in obtaining financing will recall that I had tried to obtain a mortgage here first with our bank. We were completely unsuccessful with our bank wasting a month of our time. However, we were referred back to the Saint John branch by our contact at Opportunities New Brunswick. All of the sudden it seemed like they were VERY keen to help us.

Their small business loans officer has called me personally three times this week to walk me through the application process. They require a full business plan with three years of financial projections. So I had to spend the later half of this week updating the business plan that I had prepared back in 2014. If nothing else it felt really good to revisit our plan with the benefit of the historic actual results that we have achieved to date. The plan basically says that we will generate modest income for the period from 2017 and 2018, but 2019 will be our breakout year - our fifth year. By then, most of our inventory will have been listed, and we will have had our first full time employee since mid 2018. This is entirely within the norm for newly established businesses, in that it takes 3-5 years for the average business to become profitable, let alone generate significant income.

But it is going to be a hard grind. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of these two things in starting a business:

  • Persistence
  • Adaptability
My blog posts hopefully provide a real-time illustration of these two concepts. When we started this business full time last year we had no intention of leaving Toronto. Our business plan projected a growth rate from the use of social media that has not materialized. It is not to say that social media hasn't paid dividends - it is definitely starting to. However, it is not happening as quickly as we thought. Profit margins are as projected though. In addition, we have endured a major setback with one of our investors pulling out.  These types of setbacks are part and parcel of every business plan execution. I don't there are very many exceptions. 

It's how that adversity is handled that I believe makes all the difference. Despite the low response over social media and lack of engagement by readers, we have persisted in posting to our blogs, Facebook and Pinterest. Now, this month, we have had engagement from readers of the blog every week and a few new customers. So we can see that persistence is the key to success. Likewise, some of the issues that I have posted for sale on E-bay took a month or two to start selling, but once they got going they have been continual sellers. 

Our move to New Brunswick is the result of being adaptable: the business, while profitable, is not generating enough volume to make living in Toronto a prudent move. Taking that much cash out of the company as this early stage of its development will threaten its financial health. So we looked calmly for alternatives and found one that we both like. 

That's what it is all about.  

Now that we have nearly all the hurdles out of the way with regards to the purchase, I think it is safe to post pictures of the new house:

The yard to the left of the house as seen from the front.

The back mud room with the basement door to the left

Bedroom #1. We're getting rid of that awful rug the day we move in!

Bedroom #2

Bedroom #3 has its own bathroom right inside. The toilet is to the left behind the folding door.

Another view of bedroom #3 from the open corner shower stall. 

Bedroom #3 again looking toward the door

The dining room looking from the front of the house. The fireplace is not working. 

Another view of the dining room. 

The front hall looking toward the front sunroom.

The front sunroom.

The kitchen - a bit dated, but still decent. 

A brighter view of the kitchen. 

The upstairs hall looking up from the stairs

The living room. The fireplace in this room works.

Bedroom #4 from the ensuite door

The office for the business.

My favourite feature of the office - two glass doors enclosing built in shelves - perfect for our inventory!

The front stairwell.

The shared upstairs bathroom. I love the vintage 50's tile. You almost never find this nowadays.

The upstairs hall. 

That's it! This 132 year old house on a double corner lot for $132,000. There are literally dozens of properties in Saint John just like this that are in this price range. I'm not saying this to boast or gloat, but rather to simply raise awareness that there is a lovely and affordable city in this country that you can live in very affordably if you are prepared to create your own livelihood. I'd love to have friends there that we can share good food, good drinks and good times with. 

First round is on me!


  1. That is awesome Chris!! And affordable too! House prices here in Australia are going through the roof!! So many new owners here would love to pay $130K for a house.

    1. Thanks Simon! Prices are crazy here in Toronto too - $800K-$1 million for a very average looking house. I'm sure it is the same in Sydney and Melbourne. Its just nuts when there are still places like this at 1/5th or 1/6th the price.

  2. looks like electric heat - what's that going to cost in the winter?
    Is the place air conditioned?
    And what are the property taxes like?

  3. It's not electric - its hot water Rads - the best heat you can have other than wood heat. It's not going to be very expensive at all, certainly no more than here. Property taxes are also less than Toronto - $2,700 a year for this place. There is no air conditioning, but I doubt we will need it.

  4. Looks like a great place, I might consider a move at prices like that. Thanks for sharing.