Homebuyers reap the rewards of patience

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Oliver Po 778-898-5153

Century 21 In Town Realty

in Downtown Vancouver

First-time home purchasers can get tips from new guide

Pedro Arrais, Victoria Times Colonist; Canwest News Service

It's a buyer's market out there and first-time homebuyers who resisted the urge to take the plunge when the market was hot are now finding good things come to those who wait.

Softening prices, a larger number of homes to choose from and lower interest rates all help to make home buying more affordable and a lot less stressful for those deciding to purchase their first home.

First-time buyers such as Matt and Nicola Priestly had been watching the market, but held back in the past two years because of soaring prices.

"We decided to ride it out," says Nicola, 25, a teacher. "We just socked away one of our incomes towards our down payment."

Their patience was rewarded recently when the couple finally bought a house that had been languishing on the market for about four months. They managed to shave $50,000 off the $450,000 asking price of a three-bedroom, two-bath house.

"Waiting gave us the upper hand," says Matt, 30, who works at Costco. "Over the years, we watched as a bunch of our friends bought when the market was hot. We're glad we didn't."

The couple found it refreshing to be able to take their time, confident that there would not be any bidding wars on properties they were interested in.

"Buyers today know they have the upper hand," says Carolyn Heaney, a mortgage manager for the Bank of Montreal. "They know they don't have to feel rushed in this market. These are the same individuals who have been sitting on the fence, waiting for the market to correct. These were the people who had traditionally rented, but decided to act when they could see they could convert their $1,600 to $1,800 in rent into a mortgage payment instead."

Banks are quick to recognize a growing market. To reach this market, the Bank of Montreal has introduced a reference guide, BMO First Home Essentials, that walks a novice through the home-buying process. The Priestlys say they got good tips and value from the guide, which can be ordered from the bank.

But while most people assume first-time buyers are young individuals and couples, some who are looking for their first home today are older, sometimes in their 50s.

"Even if they are older they all face the same issues," says Heaney. "Affordability and finding enough for a down payment are common to all age groups."

Despite an industry-wide slowdown, realtors are reporting a lot more activity this winter, a season when business is usually quiet.

This renewed surge is far from over, according to experts. Although many, like the Priestlys, have already bought, banks report they still have a significant number of pre-approved mortgages still on their books. These represent individuals and couples who have been approved for a loan but have yet purchased a house yet."There are some who think the market can still come down a bit more," says Heaney. "They are waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Source : http://www.househunting.ca/buying-homes/story.html?id=00f47302-ff60-4cb5-9a71-452fad9bfad7

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