A year ago, we met up with Larry and Joan to talk to them about their new home purchase at Minto Westside in Toronto. They’re both first-time buyers and we learned a lot about how they made the decision together and why they decided to buy new as opposed to resale.
We thought it’d be interesting to touch base with them a year later to see how everything is going with their purchase and construction at Minto Westside!
Newinhomes.com (NIH): So progress at Rail Deck Park is moving along. We remember you were excited about the possibility of it.
Joan: Yes! If it does get built, I think it will be a really long process, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to take advantage of it with our dogs, but for resale value, it would be amazing.
NIH: Have you selected your features and finishes yet?
Larry: We did – it was a pretty smooth process. We were invited out to Minto’s decor centre and the design consultant showed us around and presented our options. We were given our privacy to discuss our combinations and all we had to do was tick off a few boxes to make our selections.
Joan: I’m really happy with the direction we went – we have light flooring and an all white kitchen. Since we’re facing north, we won’t get the most sun, so it was important for us to brighten up our space in any way we could. Also want to mention that we’ve been walking by Minto Westside to check out construction and it looks amazing! They’re four or five storeys above the podium the last time we were there.
NIH: Will you be affected by the new mortgage stress test?
Larry: When I heard about it, I was definitely concerned. We were worried that when it came time to close and secure a mortgage, we would have to undergo this stress test. I checked with our bank where we got pre-approved and they ensured we wouldn’t be subject to the stress test. So that’s a weight off our shoulders.
NIH: Has everything gone smoothly with your deposits?
Larry: We’ve stuck to our monthly budget and been saving. Having a stretched out deposit structure helped us save. Our final 5% will be deposited this fall, and that will make 20%. Then we get ready to close early 2019. The one thing I did to stay on top of deposits was mark the due dates in my Google calendar and set reminders so I was able to ensure the right amount of money was in the proper account at the right time.
NIH: Throughout the process, have you experienced any stress being a first-time buying couple?
Larry: You mean marital stress? (haha) Joan may have, but I haven’t (haha again). We tackled a few hurdles at the beginning, but it’s been smooth sailing since then, aside from the little hiccup with the stress test.
Joan: Since I’m self-employed, I worried that my income wouldn’t be high enough by the time it came to qualify for our mortgage, and since we’re a couple, I think of us as a team and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to contribute the same amount as Larry. Things have worked out though, so I’m confident we’ll be in a good place to close!
NIH: We’ve heard news that 2018 may be a tough year for first-time buyers. Do you think it will be?
Larry: I can see how all the policies introduced last year may have an impact on buying and selling activity, but I feel like it will bounce back like it always does. I try to think long-term about our home purchase, and I think most people do, which is why things always balance out.
Joan: Last year I worked with a few rental clients (I’m a real estate agent), and things were pretty tight. Most two-bedrooms in Toronto are well over $2,000 a month and if you want to live alone in a walkable area near transit, be ready to pay more than $1,000 a month. The new rent control policies may make the market even tighter.
NIH: Do you have any tips for first-time buyers?
Larry: Don’t get discouraged and be patient. We went to so many sales centres and did a lot of online research before making a decision.
Joan: Be as organized as possible. If you’re buying as a couple, then you can divide responsibilities and it won’t be that overwhelming. Larry has made sure that our deposits are in order and I’ve been keeping track of our paperwork and emails from our lawyer and Minto.
We’d like to thank Larry and Joan for taking the time to chat with us again about buying their first home together as a couple!