Sunday 20 June 2021


I bought a house!

I am giddy, in shock, excited and simultaneously in disbelief because being a homeowner has been one of my biggest goals in life. It was important to me that I purchase a place in Metro Vancouver because I grew up in Vancouver and want to continue living here. All of the paperwork has been completed, the payments have been made and the keys dropped off. So as of May 2021, I legally own a two-bedroom townhouse! 

Since this was my first time house-hunting, I did not know what to expect. i thought house-hunting would be a fun adventure, but in actuality, buying a house is a lot of work. Especially in a market like Vancouver which is horrendously competitive. 

What I learned as a first time home-buyer in Vancouver:

1. Real Estate Agent

If it were not for my realtor, Cari Mai, I do not think I would have succeeded in acquiring this property. Take the time to find a realtor who is knowledgeable and understands your needs. Aside from working well with you, look for a realtor who works well with other realtors because to close a sale, both the buying and selling realtors need to work together. It was interesting to see how selling realtors gravitated towards Cari because she is easy to work with, organized and experienced. 

2. Purchasing Power

Perhaps the most important part of buying any property is knowing one's purchasing power. This is the amount of money the lender (bank or mortgage broker) is willing to give you; therefore, the price range you can afford. 

3. Down Payment & Additional Costs

Every lender requires a certain sum of money to be paid as a down payment. In addition to the down payment, there are several other costs in BC like the BC property transfer tax, home inspections, legal fees etc. At minimum, budget for $15,000 in closing costs. 

4. Reason for Purchase

For me, I was purchasing this property as an investment. The strategy and list of requirements are different when looking for investments compared to a home that you plan on living in. 

5. House vs. Townhouse vs. Apartment

Metro Vancouver has three types of residential properties and each one has its own unique market with vastly different pricing ranges, square footage, standards, laws and strategies. I purchased a townhouse, so I now understand the townhouse market, but most of that knowledge I have gained cannot be applied to detached homes or apartments. So it really helps if you can narrow down the type of property you are looking for. 

5. Offer Strategy

The townhouse market in Vancouver is absurdly competitive and frustratingly manipulative. Currently, it is a "seller's market" meaning sellers are receiving multiple offers. The asking price is meaningless and does not denote the value of the property because townhouses are selling above the asking prices. Basically, the asking price and selling price are both subjective and you as the buyer need to figure out what dollar value makes the most financial sense for you. 

6. Accepted Offer

Once your offer gets accepted is when the real work begins. There will be several back and forths until both parties are happy with the contract. A mountain of paperwork is completed with never ending signatures. You will also need to get your down payment ready as it will be due before the closing date! 

There is a lot that goes into purchasing a property in Metro Vancouver and I am grateful to have Cari Mai by my side to guide me throughout it all. The whole process did take far longer than I had anticipated. I began looking in August of 2020. I put in offers on so many properties only to lose out to someone else. It was a frustrating routine of going to open houses over the weekend, putting in offers during the week and then being rejected only to do it all over again the next weekend. I seller finally accepted an offer of mine at the end of April 2021 and we were able to close three weeks later. 


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