Hope for the First Time Home Buyer

This is a question that I hear on a regular basis. Things may appear hopeless, but that doesn’t mean that they are. The answer to the above question is simple: VERY CAREFULLY and VERY STRATEGICALLY.  

But, just because the answer to the question is simple doesn’t mean that the journey is. Those who are succeeding are doing so by understanding that the current market situation is not anything we have experienced in the past, and they know that this market is too tricky to navigate on their own.

Here are a few important tips:

Hiring the right professional

There is just too much at stake to try and navigate through this market on your own. Enlisting a professional to help you make your way through the process is a must. Don’t settle for any random person with a real estate license and some free time, though.  There are a variety of levels in skill and experience. Seek out someone with a proven track record and at least a few years of success under their belt. Interview a few agents. Start by asking your friends or family who have recently purchased who they used. If they would recommend their agent, include them in the ones you interview. It has to be a good fit. Making sure they’re full-time in the business is key. Properties move too quickly to deal with a part-timer. Find out what kind of availability they will have to help you in your search.  Ask them how they will represent you when it’s offer time, and what kind of advice they would give you to help your offer stand out, in addition to just the offer price.

Listening to the good advice

The news reports are often Canada-wide and aren’t even relevant to our local market. I have found that our local market is hotter and more stable than many other markets in Canada, and that’s because of a number of factors that make our market unique.

Parents may be giving advice based on when they purchased 20 or 30 years ago. What they did during that market is no longer commonplace in today’s market. Your parents may not think it is a good idea to take on condo fees, but there weren’t as many condo options when they first purchased, and a condo may be the only thing you qualify for. Besides, today’s buyer may not have the same amount of time in their schedule to maintain a detached home, or the same knowledge or skillset to do odd jobs around the house that their parents had. That’s fine, so we just look for the best home out there for your money, and it may be a condo. You’ve got to start somewhere!

How are young people who do not currently own a home going to be able to afford to get into this market?

Julie Martin


Face it head on that, unless your first home is going to be a major fixer upper or an hour or two outside of Waterloo region, your first home may not be a detached home. In fact, it also may not be a freehold property to start. But, on average, Canadians move every 5 years, so your first home doesn’t need to be your forever home. It’s just your foot in the door, so it doesn’t have to be your dream home, but your best home for your budget.


Many say it is wise for you to save up at least 20% for your down payment so you don’t have to pay the CMHC fees. This was great advice many years ago, when getting into the market was much easier, but when the increase in property values outpaces the rate in which a buyer is able to save, this advice really isn’t practical anymore. The delay in getting into the market will cost you way more than the one time cost of CMHC fees.

I know lots of agents who were telling their clients back in 2016-2017 to just wait until the market corrects and prices drop down again. Well, that never happened. I bet a lot of those buyers never purchased anything, and I know for a fact that a lot of those agents are no longer in the business.

Do you have a permanent source of income? At least a 5% down payment? Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage? Then, it’s time to get serious. Because if the property values continue to increase, just a month or two delay can make the difference between you being able to get into the market or not, or it can make the difference of what type of home you are able to purchase. So, do not delay. The time to buy is now!