My name is Kate. My husband and I have been looking to buy a home on the North Shore for our small family. We have been renting two bedroom apartments for the past four years when we first moved to North Vancouver. About a year ago I contacted Greg to help us buy a home. After much effort, my husband and I managed to save enough for a deposit. We were excited about buying a small townhouse, but soon realized we wouldn't be able to afford one because the real estate market was so hot. We watched as prices just kept getting higher and higher and 3 bedroom townhouses in Central Lonsdale broke the $1 million mark.
How would we be able to afford North Vancouver?
A little disappointed, I asked Greg to create a 2-bedroom condo search for us, only to experience the same situation as with the townhouses, unless we wanted to settle for a tiny place or an old building with no in-suite laundry/dryer (such a deal breaker with young kids!) Through the year, we’d expressed our disbelieve over and over to Greg and came to accept that we had to keep renting, even though we had a good chunk of money sitting in our bank account. Reality is we were being priced out of North Vancouver.
The Real Estate Market is changing
A few weeks ago, I met Greg for coffee, and he mentioned the shift in our local real estate market. He pointed out how detached homes in North Vancouver were taking longer to sell and how prices were going down. I also noticed on the customized search Greg created for us the many PC (price changes) for condos. Greg mentioned that summer is historically a slow time for our real estate market, but still, the statistics are backing the market slowdown.
“Kate, if you have some free time this weekend, you guys should check out the many open houses coming up for townhouses,” Greg said a few weeks ago.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“The market is changing, and it might be time to start looking again and get familiar with the complexes and areas."
So this past weekend we went to a few townhouse open houses. We were quite surprised to see the number of properties on sale. They still slightly out of our price point, but the difference is not as big as in the past few months. Also, to our disbelieve, we saw a two-bedroom townhouse that we could actually afford! However, it wasn't right for our family; we would be searching for another home in a couple of years.
My husband even said to me, “It’s the first time in a long time I can get excited about buying a place for us.”
Go to Open Houses
This is a great suggestion. It allowed my husband and I to start thinking about what we really wanted. Here are some other tips that might come handy once you are out there looking:
- What appeals to your family? One of the complexes we visited had many children playing outside. I've never thought about how amazing this would be for our young son.
- What do you want as a couple? It was very interesting to notice what features my husband saw. For example, one of the townhouses we visited had a condo-sized kitchen, which was a deal breaker for me, but my husband didn't notice until I pointed it out.
- Pick up a feature sheet of every property you visit. It can get confusing really fast when you visit more than one open house.
- Talk to the neighbours. As an introvert, I suck at this one, but my husband is great. Nothing like getting an insider’s opinion. You don’t have to be annoying or go door knocking; a casual question can go a long way.
- Don’t share your personal information with the agent on duty as they represent the seller and have the duty to share your information with your client. (I.e. Your motivation, your price point, your financing, among many other things.)
We still haven’t found the one but we are excited and even consider it a possibility after many months (years actually!) of thinking we were being priced out.
I’ll be sharing with you our house-hunting journey. Stay tuned!