This seems to be a huge question….or more of a statement for many young people. The prices of homes are going up, making the dream of home ownership more of a pipedream than a goal. But it is possible. We hear it all the time. With a little discipline and determination, it will happen.
DO YOUR MARKET RESEARCH
Real Estate is one of the most common topics people love to discuss. How much is my house worth? Did you see that new building down the street? Did you hear what Dick and Jane sold their house for? When are your kids moving out? We all hear it. But that’s just noise chatter. You need the real information. The best way to get that information is to talk to a Realtor and stay in touch. The ebb and flow of a market is best understood by someone working the market and knows neighbourhood trends. By working with a Realtor you can learn about properties coming up for sale even before they hit the market, schools in the area, transit routes and characteristics of different neighbourhoods. They can also offer up ideas of other housing options you hadn’t thought of.
CHAMPAGNE TASTE ON A BEER BUDGET
We dream of fancy cars, fancy houses, and fancy new technology but the reality is, fancy usually equals expensive and expensive usually means it’s more expensive than you can afford. Talk to a mortgage broker before the official searching begins. It’s important to know what you can afford. If you start looking at homes before you know your budget (ie: looking at $400,000 properties when you can really only afford $300,000 properties) you’re going to be very disappointed (as are the seller’s who got their home ready, hoping you’d be the one making their dreams come true). Knowing what your true budget is will also help you be a more focused buyer.
SAVE, SAVE, SAVE
A down payment is needed, usually a minimum of 5% of the purchase price. Unless you have a super rich uncle or really nice parents who will freely give you the down payment, the only way to get it is to save it. If you’re already looking at your financial situation and only find lint in your pockets and not loose change, it’s never too late to start. There are many money coaches out there and budgeting information available. Dedicate a percentage of every pay cheque to go into a high interest savings account, or even better, a TFSA. The TFSA is a great option because the interest you earn can go towards your down payment and you don’t pay taxes on that interest. (Free money). Also think about where your money is currently going. I knew a girl who would spend $250 a month on coffee from Starbucks. That’s $3000 a year! And that’s only 1 expenditure. How bad do you want to get out of your parents basement? Maybe invest in Starbucks through your TFSA.
WHY BE LONELY
Paying the mortgage is one thing, but after you have your home there are additional costs. Property taxes, heat, hydro, water/sewer, a new vacuum, cleaning supplies, even a plunger are things you need to consider as expenses that want to use up your last dollar. Maybe consider getting a roommate, or even 2 or 3. Even your friends dream of living free of their parents, even if they don’t have their own downpayment. Imagine a 3 bedroom row unit with a mortgage of $2000/month. If you rent out the 2 other rooms at $700/month each, that’s $1400 less you need to pay. Or better yet, take that extra $1400/month and put it on the principle of your mortgage. Making extra payments on your mortgage in the first few years has amazing effects of paying it off years sooner.