The last two years have been, well, quite the ride. Beginning your homeownership adventure at this point in time where housing prices have firmly planted their flags at the $$$ peaks in almost all Canadian cities must feel incredibly daunting.
We can’t hide from the fact that opportunities to break into the market are scarce at the moment. But they’re not zero. We’re committed to do all we can to help guide you through these sometimes treacherous waters, especially as a first-time homeseeker. So here are a few of our hard-earned lessons.
1. Why on earth would you do this?
Everyone’s real estate journey is different. If you’re genuinely considering embarking on this home-seeking adventure, you should first lay out the reasons why.
Is it a purely financial decision? Lifestyle? For your family? Is it FOMO or perhaps your folks subtly mentioning it every. single. time. you’re over for dinner? Whatever your reason for wanting to own a piece of Canada, just make sure you really do know why you’re doing it. Buyer’s remorse is real, and this will more than likely be one of the biggest commitments of your life. So never leave home without your why.
This may help: take a look at this home buying checklist from Framework.
2. Can you really, really afford to?
You’re planning for your future, but there’s no getting around truly understanding what you can afford right now. Otherwise, you’re just window shopping. Perhaps literally.
The great news is that this needn’t be anywhere near as tricky as it sounds.
In our experience, the easiest way is to reach out to a mortgage professional you - and others you know - trust. They’re best placed to give you a quick, honest and accurate point around which you can set your search parameters. And if your credit score is good (above 650), your debt is under control, and your income is reliable, it’s time to bang that number into a mortgage calculator to get an understanding of how much your monthly payments will be with a particular down payment.
3. Can you really afford not to?
The reality is that real estate has never been as expensive as it is right now. But that’s been true for a while. It’s also true that growth like we’ve seen in Canadian markets over the past few years isn’t sustainable. While our data indicates that the market has likely peaked this cycle, RBC’s latest market snapshot suggests that for many this is a welcome correction, not a meltdown.
Market professionals will almost always say that the right time to enter the market is right now. Do your research, if for no other reason than giving you the confidence to enter the market or stay on the sidelines. Either way, you’ll sleep better knowing that you’ve crunched the numbers.
The BC Real Estate Association’s Economics section is a great place to help you get started.
4. After the price comes the cost.
What can we say? Owning a home ain’t cheap. Your mortgage is one thing, but make sure you’re cognizant of everything else that will be flowing out of your wallet before you commit.
Stuff will break, leak, rust and generally misbehave. Property taxes will go up. You’ll almost always end up redoing a bathroom. It’s all just part-and-parcel of the wonder of home ownership. Yet, don’t get us wrong - owning your own home truly is a wonder.
5. The buck starts here.
If you’ve taken our unofficial 4-step programme above and still feel like your house is in order, the next step is pre-approval. And if you’d like a real human being to make this next step and all the ones after as easy as possible, get hold of us. We’re always here to help guide you home.
Money, money, money.
We’ve put our money where our mouth is by developing a brand-new, stress-free mortgage experience where real (and really quite lovely) human beings will gently guide you through the ins and outs of the approval process. But don’t take our word for it - hit this, and chat to one of them.