First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. As a young girl growing up in Saskatchewan, this was always the plan. You’d getting married and buy a house. Plans Change! First came babies, then came marriage then you spend the rest of your life renting?
My husband and I have been renting for our entire relationship. Being honest, I’m not sure if that will ever change. Vancouver definitely makes buying a home next to impossible. Weighing the pro’s and con’s behind renting vs buying, deciding where you want vs. where you can afford to live and then trying to save up. It doesn’t always seem appealing. Our last 3 homes have had major issues and I’ve had peace of mind knowing that I wasn’t footing the bill for repairs.
Recently, I had the opportunity to pick the brain of David Crawford. David a top-performing RE/MAX realtor with 22 years of experience. With strong local knowledge, attention to detail, and an analytical approach to real estate, David is the perfect person to ask all these question that had been sitting heavily on our shoulders as we discuss our future!
As First time Home Owners, where do you start? The internet can be a wealth of great information but can also be mind boggling and confusing. Anyone who has googled buying a home for the first time can tell you, your search option results are endless. So I asked David, where do you start?
“Preparation is key when purchasing a new home. Figure out your budget and what kind of down payment you have, what type of property you’re looking for and what areas you’d like to buy in. Start by getting prequalified by a mortgage broker. I always advise my clients to use a licensed mortgage broker rather than going to the bank directly.”
So how do get into the market if you do not have money in savings? That very question has sat heavily on our shoulders. We are not the first family to ask this question, nor will we be the last and it’s a big one. According to David, educating yourself on the closing costs beyond the selling price of a new home such as Property Transfer Tax, legal and moving fees is a good start to building your budget!
“Talking with a mortgage broker and your bank will determine any loans you’re applicable for. Ultimately without a down payment home ownership will be challenging. Begin saving early!”
As serial renters, we’ve discussed buying a house however, with the market being so high. What incentive is there for people to buy houses now? Why not wait until for the next market crash? David assures me that the market is always changing but despite dips in the past, the local market always surges past the previous highs.
“Ultimately it has to be the right time for the buyer as the market is always changing!”
I for one cannot imagine our lives anywhere but in Vancouver. My husband, along with having a full time day job, works several nights a week as a DJ. Therefore, we need to remain close to the downtown core but I am not willing to sacrifice space just for the sake of owning. I was kind of hoping there was a magical secret as to where would be the best place within the lower mainland for families looking to purchase their first home.
David assures me there is no one best place, it depends on the buyer’s affordability and budget. There are homes available in all price ranges across many areas, depending on lifestyle desires.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to educating yourself, being true to yourself, doing what is right for your family will help dictate your budget but to finalize it all, I asked David as a family with young children what should I be considering when looking for my first home.
David tells me that young families typically look for neighbourhoods that are family orientated, where there are activities and amenities for children of the same age. One of the things I never even considered when looking at our current rental home was schools.
When looking for our current home, Ava was 3, so Kindergarten seemed light years away. However, as the time came to look into catchment area’s etc. I wish that I had paid more attention to the schools in the area. Finding a home close to schools that meet your needs, like offering French Immersion if desired, is important. Applying for a lottery spot at a school outside of our catchment area was not a feasible option. David also suggestions to keep in mind proximity to shopping, recreation facilities, parks and green spaces. If you are lucky to have family close by, proximity to other family members and work are important when evaluating the type of lifestyle you’d like your home to facilitate.
Get in touch with David Crawford for any and all real estate questions you may have!