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Three Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying My First Home

Originally Published In Simple Money Magazine’s August 2019 Edition

Don’t rely on a spur-of-the-moment impulse when it comes to one of your biggest financial decisions. Because although you might get lucky—you also might not.

Home is where our stories are written. It’s where babies are brought home from the hospital and where family comes to stay over the holidays. It’s where neighbors become lifelong friends. It’s also where we argue about the bills, where we find unexpected expenses, and where our relationships can be most tested. Home is a unique place.

As a real estate professional in one of North America’s most active markets, I’ve witnessed all kinds of stories. In fact, when I was getting started, it didn’t take long before I realized people approach realtors like they approach pastors or therapists at the beginning and end of the chapters in their lives. The positive transitions are the same: “just married,” “just engaged,” or “expecting our first kid.” The same goes for the negatives: “We’re getting a divorce,” “The diagnosis came in,” “Mum just died,” and so on.

These are the moments that matter most, and we need help navigating them, because—let’s be honest—nobody prepares us for them. We are taught geometry, but we don’t learn which taxes are payable on a home purchase. We understand how government works, but do we understand what a fiduciary is and how they’re supposed to serve us? We study minutiae at university, but we rush decisions like choosing which neighborhood to live in and what kind of home to buy.

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Protect Your Downpayment – A Client Story

This short client story serves as a reminder to us all in both the best of times and the worst of times to protect your downpayment!

Last week one of our listings had an offer that was due to remove subjects – the home inspection had taken place, the documents had been reviewed, everything was good to go… but the buyers requested a financing subject extension. Apparently there were some challenges with the downpayment funds. On the day that subject removal was due it was revealed that sadly the buyer had kept their funds in oil and gas stocks, hit particularly hard by concerns over coronavirus. Their downpayment fund took a huge hit, almost overnight.

If you’re even considering using some of your savings to purchase a home, please make sure they’re in a safe investment vehicle, or even in your chequing account – obviously you may be missing out on some interest, but is the exposure really worth it? Something to think about at least!

Reviews Of The Month – February

We’re always grateful for your reviews, thanks for two of our favourites, submitted this last month:

Cam L:

“David is the kind of realtor you think you only see on TV – he is friendly, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his clients!

My wife and I recently got word from our landlords that we had 6 months to vacate because they were selling our rental house in Langley. We needed to find a home to purchase quickly within our price range, but without settling on buying it because we had to (which is a tall order in the Lower Mainland!). David was there to guide us and provide valuable insight each step of the way and we found a great new home within 2 months and within our budget! We can’t thank David enough!

Talking to David is more like talking to a friend than a realtor. He takes the time to get to know you and find out what you are looking for within your budget, and you can really tell he is on your side. He makes himself available throughout the process to answer any questions or concerns and to make sure that you are getting the right home for you.

From start to finish, David is a consummate professional and a client-focused, detail-oriented realtor. I can’t recommend him highly enough.”

Sarah M:

“We just bought our second property from Ty and couldn’t have done it without him and his team! Our townhouse hit the MLS on a Friday, and we had multiple offers Sunday night! His videos and photos of our place were second to none. We were also fortunate to work with Devin, who scored us a beautiful new house while Ty was away! But, just because Ty was away, didn’t mean he left us. He was in constant contact with us the whole time.

We are beyond blessed for this entire team. They work countless hours and don’t ever quit until their clients are happy. If you need a Realtor, call Ty! I promise you won’t be disappointed! I can honestly say that Ty is the best in the business and not only is he our Realtor, he’s a very good friend! I tell everyone I know to call Ty for their Realtor needs!”

People Over Property, Always

What’s the driving passion behind the David & Ty Homes Group? People Over Property, Always. The transactional components will always be taken care of, but it’s the emotional and relational elements that really make the difference. David & Ty summarize a little of their passion for client care in this short video piece. If you’d like to know how we can transform your real estate experience, we’d be happy to talk with you.

How To Prepare For Multiple Offers Safely

Multiple offers are back! That’s an exclamation, not necessarily a celebration, but however we feel about it… it is happening. With the low inventory over the past few months we’re seeing buyers fighting over limited options (at least at the moment). As someone (David) who recently went through our own multiple offer purchase, I wanted to share some tips to help you prepare for a potential multiple offer situation by reducing or removing subjects in advance safely

1. Financing Preapproval: We can’t stress this one enough, you absolutely must, must, must be preapproved before submitting an offer, especially in the context of multiples. Yes, it’s the most boring element of the real estate purchasing journey, but it’s also one of the most essential. If you’ve been preapproved then your broker has already taken care of your side of things – your income, your debt, your credit history, etc. All that’s left is the home itself for the lenders to clear, which should be turned over in a day or two, rather than the 10-14 days often permitted in a quieter market. A preapproval letter will also help show that even although you have a financing subject, you are prequalified and good to go! 

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THE Move Right Now – A Client Story

Every now and again even we are shocked by a transaction, this past month contained perhaps the most astonishing buy/sell we’ve seen in a long time! After years of searching we were made aware of an off-market property that would be perfect for some buyers of ours looking for a home in a very specific and low-turnover neighbourhood. The property had been on the market previously, but two offers fell through and they had decided to hold off until the Spring. We connected with the former listing agent and he kindly agreed to arrange a showing, at which time the buyers confirmed what we already expected… this is the one! We negotiated a lengthy subject to sale with a purchase price lower than the previous listing.

We launched into the listing preparation phase, including the homeowners putting in a tonne of effort to ensure the property showed as well as it could. The media and measurements day arrived and we executed as well as we ever have, the ‘coming soon’ video had over 4,000 views on Facebook and Instagram alone, and the professional listing video had similar numbers – we suspect because it featured Devin in the hot tub. These marketing numbers led to even crazier numbers at the open house, over 100 people through, requiring David, Ty, and Devin all to attend simply to handle the crowds. Having already rejected a bully offer that was higher than list price we trusted the process and were rewarded with six offers at offer presentation. The offers had the usual suspects, one lower than list, a handful around list, and 2-3 very strong contenders – landing us a final offer tens and tens of thousands of dollars above list, and even tens of thousands of dollars above what we agreed for their purchase. 

Long story short? These clients managed to sell their Willoughby home with a lot less than 4,000sq.ft for over $30,000 more than their Brookswood home with a lot DOUBLE the size. That is THE move right now, upsizing your lot from the more active single family neighbourhoods for the most established neighbourhoods with larger lots. As most know by now, the value of homes in the Lower Mainland is based primarily on the value of the land, the more dirt, the more value. Dirt is on sale in some of the more established neighbourhoods right now, allowing you the opportunity to increase your exposure to the next price increases across the region. These happy clients were able to benefit both in the sense of an improved lifestyle, and also from an investment standpoint, and it was our pleasure to help them achieve their goals. If you’d like to hear if we think there’s a similar scenario possible for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

We Did It! Thanks To You!

It’s awards season again, as it always seems to be, but we are really happy to share that both David & Ty placed in the Top 1% for the whole Fraser Valley Real Estate Board according to the 2019 MLS statistics. 

Why does this matter for you? Well, first off, it’s a result of your efforts! We simply wouldn’t have achieved this honour without your trust and your kind referrals. At the same time, the volume we sell helps position us to best serve you, with the experience of hundreds of transactions and almost every situation imaginable. It helps our clients too as we enter negotiations with our reputations proceeding us as we either try to sell your home, or help you purchase your next home. 

Thank you for your kind support! We genuinely couldn’t do it without you.