Thinking of buying your first home? We had the opportunity to catch up with a couple, Joan (31) and Larry (27) (names changed for privacy), who recently purchased their first home together at Minto Westside at Front and Bathurst in Toronto.
Joan and Larry have been together for five years, and they’ve been living together for the last two. They are both self-employed and currently renting a one-bedroom condo unit downtown Toronto in the same neighbourhood as Minto Westside.
Newinhomes (NIH): How did you decide between a condo and a house?
Larry: I’m more of a condo guy. I work downtown and I can’t see myself mowing the lawn or even using as much space as we would get with a house. I like having extra space that I can share, like a gym, but don’t have to maintain myself. Plus, buying a house in the GTA is basically impossible for first-time buyers.
Joan: I actually would prefer a house because I’d like some of my own green space, but I realize that this isn’t our forever home...it’s our first home. There are a few parks nearby anyway, and there’s a couple proposed parks right by the condo. It would be amazing if the Rail Deck Park was built.
Minto Westside courtyard
NIH: How did you decide on a floor plan that suited both of your needs?
Larry: We live in a pretty tight space now, so our requirements weren’t too outrageous. We just wanted something bigger than we have now and we wanted that additional space to be a den since we both are self-employed and have to work from home occasionally. The unit we purchased has a den with sliding glass doors, which is perfect.
Joan: Also - it may sound silly - but it was very important to me to have a bathtub. I love taking baths and we just have a tiny shower stall right now.
NIH: Why did you choose to buy a new condo as opposed to resale?
Larry: The deposit structure helped us a lot. I feel like a lot of first-time buyers don’t realize that developers usually have pretty generous deposit structures that give you a lot more time to save for the downpayment. We already had 15% and Minto doesn’t need the final 5% until two years from now, which gives us more than enough time to save.
Joan: It was also nice to see the price of the unit and know that there wasn’t someone else standing behind us ready to outbid us. The resale market is getting out of hand with bidding wars; first-time buyers don’t stand a chance with their limited budgets.
NIH: What was the scariest part about buying your first home together?
Larry: There wasn’t really a scary part. Minto’s sales representative was super helpful and clearly answered all the questions we had. One stressful moment we had was not getting pre-approved before signing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. You don’t need to be approved before signing, but it helps because the 10-day cooling off period flies by and the developer wants your pre-approval in that timeframe. All we had to do was go get pre-approved; the reason we weren’t too worried was because we were going to get a parent to cosign if need-be, but we ended up getting pre-approval on our own.
Joan: It was also just a scary commitment. It was easily the largest purchase we’ve ever made, but it helped that we were doing it together. The double income was very important when it came to getting pre-approved and I think just having each other made the experience much more enjoyable and stress-free.
NIH: Since it will be a while before you can move in, what are you looking forward to the most?
Larry: We live just down the street, so I’m looking forward to watching the building go up. We’ve already stopped by the site a few times just to look into the big hole.
Joan: This may sound silly, too, but I’m really looking forward to selecting our features and finishes. That’s another thing we wouldn’t have been able to do if we bought resale. Since it’s brand new, we get to pick our flooring, countertops, backsplash, and other finishings. That would cost a fortune to do with a resale unit.
We’d like to thank Larry and Joan for taking the time to chat with us about buying their first home together as a couple. We wish them all the luck and we know that they will love living at Minto Westside!