Over the last year and a half or so I have watched multiple clients scrimp and save and try to figure out how to buy a home given their budgets and the exploding housing market.
The rub for me is that clients in our area are paying rent that is well over what they would be paying towards their own mortgage.
In some cases, client expectation versus price point is the stumbling block.
Some clients want a brand-new shiny updated home right out of the gate. Nothing wrong with that – when you are spending this kind of money on a house you’d like it to be beautiful to come home to.
One thing to consider is finding a home with good bones in a great location that needs some updating. By putting some time and money into renovations you can accomplish the same thing but potentially at a lower price.
There is a specific program to help you achieve this called Purchase Plus Improvements. I talked about this in a previous column called Creating Your Dream Home. Essentially, you are able to add money to your mortgage upfront to renovate your home or replace items such as the furnace, hot water tank, roof, etc.
Another thought is to consider looking for a home with a suite. I appreciate that people want their own space. When I moved to the Okanagan I ended up buying a home that had a suite, even though I planned to use that space for my family. Life changed a little, and I am certainly glad I have the extra income from the suite.
Sharing your space may be a short-term way to get into the housing market and build equity in your own home. You may adjust to sharing your space with the trade-off being the extra income to help cover your mortgage.
Or maybe now is not the right time to buy. I have several clients who have decided to hold off for now as they have grown exhausted with the stress of it all. I also have other clients who are working towards saving more of a down payment to increase their price point.
Either way, the more prepared you are the more realistic you can be with your expectations. Connect with your mortgage person before you head out shopping. Much has changed in the last few years, so even if you are currently in a home you might be surprised when you find out what you actually qualify to borrow now.
Finally, and on a different note, if you are in the process of buying a home during fire season please buy your home insurance as soon as you possibly can. Ideally your realtor has included a clause in your purchase contract to allow your closing date to be pushed back in the event that you cannot get insurance due to fires in the area.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.