The photo is compliments of Unsplash.
I know that I’m going to own my own home one day.
I know it because real estate is my passion and it’s an experience in life that I insist on having. I know it’s going to take a lot of responsibility and maybe a lot of sacrifices (such as buying fewer clothes or shoes and spending less in general) but I respect that.
Homeownership, for me, has always been a matter of when rather than if.
So, to make my dreams of homeownership a reality, I have to know what kind of home I want right? Right.
So I signed up for a real estate website (where you plug in your name, your email, and your phone number, to get access to the available home listings), and before I knew it I had received a phone call from a realtor who I am now on a first name basis with.
Anytime I have a question, all I have to do is text her. It’s like she’s walking me through the process in advance.
Very seriously (thanks to my years of watching Property Virgins, Property Brothers and Property Brothers Buying & Selling, Love it or List It, House Hunters and House Hunters Renovation), I asked her whether it was a buyers or sellers market, I asked how much I would have to put down for a place (within the prospective budget that I had set), and I asked her about other things too (like how I would go about getting a mortgage broker and what that process would be like).
Over the phone, to send me a fine-tuned list of properties available today via email, she asked me what my desires for a home are. Here’s what I said (and what I actually want):
1. A move-in ready condo in a cool Toronto neighbourhood.
2. Lots of light, big windows, and wall space (for bookshelves, because I have a lot of books!).
3. A great and open kitchen (because, as you know, I cook and bake), and an open dining and living area.
4. Two good sized bedrooms.
5. Two decently sized bathrooms.
6. Harwood or laminate floors.
7. A quality gym in the building.
8. Near the bus or on the subway line.
9. A parking spot (I don’t drive but it’s good to have, for when I have a spouse who does drive and for resale value) and a storage locker.
10. Good security in the building.
And you know what? I found my dream condo (in my dream starter neighbourhood). I saw the sticker price, I was given a ballpark estimate of what it would cost to carry it each month, and I am taking measurable steps towards making it mine. That’s right folks, I’m going to buy my first place as soon as possible. Err… you probably shouldn’t ask me how soon “as soon as possible” actually is, just know that it’s going to happen one day! I can see how doable it is.
Here’s what I learned from communicating with a realtor:
1. Know what you want
You absolutely must know what you’re looking for. Do you want a five-year house, a ten-year house, or a forever home? What do you see yourself doing in your home? Do you plan on renovating your home immediately upon taking possession of it, will you live in a fixer-upper for some time before renovating, or do you want a turn-key home? And very simply, do you plan on being alone in your home or do you foresee a partner in your near future?
2. Make sure what you want is doable
As much as I would immediately like a nice Georgian in a certain neighbourhood in Toronto (which I truly believe I will get into one day), I have to take focused and measurable steps towards making my starter home a reality (so that my forever home, that Georgian in a certain neighbourhood, can happen too). Steps, measured monthly and annually, are what I will take.
3. Have a plan
Yeah, have a plan. I have been looking for a nice stable job or two that will allow me to save more aggressively than I have been able to do right now.
4. Be flexible
As much as I would like to buy right in the downtown core, I know that buying in the heart of it all comes at a premium (meaning more than I want to spend for a starter home), and I have to give a bit on location. I also know that I have to give on the number of bedrooms, the square footage, and those little or big things like storage in the unit or how big the kitchen is.
And that’s it! I promise to keep you guys updated on my home buying process (when the time comes), and maybe I will do some budget and money saving posts too. This whole accidental process has really lit a fire under my bum, and it has made it all much more real for me.