Sometimes, you just know what the next step is and everything seems to fall in place too. In the middle of a global pandemic, Veronica and her husband were able to purchase their first home. The low interest rates at the time were too good to pass up and with a cancelled wedding and some money they had been saving, they had enough money for their downpayment and closing costs.
Location: Greater Vancouver Area
Age: 30 and under
When did you buy your home?
We bought our home in 2020.
What made you decide you were ready to buy a home?
We felt we were ready for that next step, the timing was perfect. We thought it was a good time for us to get into the market, and take advantage of low rates and lower demand as we purchased it in the winter. Additionally on a spiritual note, I really felt God was saying this was the next step for us.
Did you buy a home alone?
No, I purchased our home with my husband.
How long did it take you to save up for the down payment?
We were actively saving for a down payment for about a year, maybe. But we had both been saving separately as well prior to getting married. Then, our wedding was canceled due to COVID so we used savings + wedding money towards the downpayment & closing costs.
What are some things you wish you knew before you got started?
Not much, I think I was well prepared for the process as I had already started looking at listings, affordability, and how much we qualified for before we actively started searching. I was surprised by how emotional buying a home is. I wish I had taken that into account. Especially in Greater Vancouver Area. The actual negotiating and multiple offers situation could be quite draining. In addition to that, waiting to hear if your offer has been accepted can make you loose a little sleep. It’s one thing to hear or read of this as stories it’s another to actually experience all the emotions. So yes, I guess I wish I knew about how emotionally invested I would be in the home buying process.
Do you have any horror stories you would like to share?
Not personally. But I will share one from work. I had a client who was not able to close their home on time because the developer hadn’t finished some small external finishings. They were buying a new build and were able to lock in a good rate. The rate lasted for 120 days and since they had to extend their closing date as the home wasn’t completed and ready to sell as planned, they lost out on a good rate and had to get the higher rates at the time. If getting a pre-sale/ new build make sure it’s with a reputable builder !!
For tips, here are some I’d like to share:
- Take your time selecting a mortgage broker, and get a pre-approval so you may look and make offers within your price range. As a first time home buyer, it’s always best to find a good broker as they have access to a variety of rate products available in the market. It’s really important to get a good broker who is an expert, and can give you expert tailored advise based on your goals and current financial situation. (It’s also usually best to go with someone who has years in the industry, good reviews and an overall good reputation in the market). If you have a good relationship with your broker ( or they really want your business) they can buy down the rate by a few basis points for you! (You could get a slightly lower rate)
- When you get a pre-approval from a broker always check if your bank has lower rates (usually banks like Scotia/ CIBC always have more competitive rates), or ask if they can match the broker rate.
- Take your time selecting a good realtor who won’t pressure you to buy, someone knowledgeable about the market and the specific area your looking at, and who can understated and translate strata documents (meeting minutes, any past/ pending assessments etc) to you.
- When selecting a broker and a realtor always remember they work based on commission / sales, so listen to your gut don’t be pressured into anything. Go for an expert over a salesperson.
- Full Inspection for condo and full appraisal for a detached/ semi-detached home is always important. There may be small items that you may miss during your visit that an inspector can catch. Same as above select an expert, it’s better to pay the price for a good inspection than an unexpected repair.
- Don’t just wait for the realtor to send listings, spend time on the MLS daily searching. It’s also important to note what items are important to you eg a place close to transit/ parks/ schools/ work/ social activities etc.
Enjoy the process !!
PS: Veronica is not her real name.
Hope you enjoyed this read. Chat soon,