Two Vancouverites share the ups and downs of buying their first home with their REALTOR®, local agent Lindsie Tomlinson
Last month I wrote an article called “Don’t Run out of Hope When Buying a Home.” This month, I want to continue looking into the challenges of buying a home in this challenging Vancouver real estate market. The below is based on an interview with actual clients of mine who lived through the process – and didn’t run out of hope, despite a series of setbacks.
Meet “Cynthia” and “Jordan”* – a professional couple in their mid-thirties with a toddler son. They were looking for a two-bedroom condo in their beloved neighbourhood of Hastings Sunrise. Their must-haves were location, some outdoor space, and a solid building. Here’s what they told me.
What made you start looking to purchase?
A few things: the financial ability, because I got an inheritance from my grandfather; wanting more security because of Oscar (we want our son to grow up in a stable environment); fear of losing our current rental because rent prices have gone up substantially in three years; and fear that we wouldn’t be able to find an affordable family-friendly rental in the city.
How did you feel after you saw a few places you liked?
We felt hopeful for a while. We felt like we could “get in” – and we had never felt like that before. We felt like it was actually possible.
But then everything kept selling for way over for what things were listed at, and we felt disheartened. We would see places we liked and then they would go for seventy thousand over asking. That was disheartening. You think you can buy something and then you can’t.
How did you feel when you lost out the first time?
So hard. It was devastating. We wanted to offer more money, but my parents (we needed their support to buy because they are holding the inheritance) didn’t understand this market. They’ve always bought houses being able to negotiate. They asked, “Why would you go in so much over asking on your first offer?”
How did you feel when you lost out again?
You get attached… even with the second place ,which was the least exciting for us, you start to kind of see it as your place, you envision yourself there, you write a letter to the owner, which makes you feel even more attached to it. By the third time, though, we had learned not to get our hopes up.
After their third offer – and their third time losing out in a multiple-bid scenario – Jordan was laid off from his job, which forced him and Cynthia to take a break from their search. This time, the decision not to buy a home was suddenly being made for them by something beyond their control, and they were understandably upset.
Over the next few months, however, they regrouped. And more than seven months after their search had begun, they found a condo in their neighbourhood that more than ticked off every one of their “must have” boxes. We prepared for battle once again.
This time, just 20 minutes before the offer deadline, we finally got a break and some good news: somehow, ours was going to be the only offer.
This meant that, as their REALTOR®, I got to do some good old-fashioned negotiating. And Cynthia and Jordan were finally able to buy the family home they had been craving.
How do you feel now that you have purchased your condo?
We are feeling excited about getting to make the space our own and relieved that the search can now end! A bit sad about leaving our street, where our immediate neighbours are our greatest friends. Worried that the market will crash tomorrow. Thankful to be able to afford to own in Vancouver– and to have had an agent who made it even more affordable! And really happy to have a place of our own to raise our son.