the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Seven tips for affording your first home

Owning a single family home in Vancouver isn’t always the best housing option for everyone. If you think creatively, there are many other homeownership options.

The prospect of purchasing a first home is overwhelming for most people. In Vancouver, the thought can make your head explode! As someone who has been there, I can relate to how impossible it can feel to get into the real estate market. However, a house in Vancouver proper is not the be-all and end-all! There may be other, very desirable options for home ownership, if you just think a little bit outside the box.

      1. Consider apartment living. People in major cities around the world live in apartments. In New York, apartment living is considered the norm. Perhaps the idea of raising your family in a condo seems restricting, but as density increases, this option is becoming more and more popular with young professionals. You can live, work and play in an urban setting…and often for a fraction of what you would pay for a house.
      2. The suburban solution.   Condo living not for you? There are a number of beautiful suburbs located a reasonable distance from Vancouver’s city centre. From the older heritage homes of New Westminster to newly built communities in Port Coquitlam and beyond, there is something for everyone. And with rapid transit options constantly improving, commuting is becoming less of a hassle.
      3. Consider a more drastic change. If your work schedule allows, you could always consider moving to a more remote area. Places near Vancouver, like Saltspring Island, Kelowna or Squamish are becoming known for attracting many young families who still want reasonable access to the city but are happy to spend most of their time away from it.
      4. Co-op housing. Housing co-ops are becoming very popular amongst young families. The purchase costs are kept low as all residents are expected to pitch-in towards the maintenance of the buildings, landscaping, etc. Many people swear that living in these communities gives them a real sense of belonging in a city that can sometimes feel stand-offish.
      5. Multi-family ownership. In order to make home-ownership attainable, some people have decided to look at purchasing multi-family homes with friends or relatives. This is a great option if you have aging parents who could live in a suite, or another family who you could share a duplex with.
      6. Finding the right financing. Getting a good rate on your mortgage and locking it in is a great way to help keep costs down, but it can also predict your payments and help better understand what you can afford. Look for mortgage rate specials and perks like PC points options from PC Financial.
      7. Find ways to save more. Find ways to save every day, such as using loyalty points to lower your grocery bills and to make other purchases for your home by using a credit card with rewards, like the PC Financial MasterCard. The more you can save, the bigger your down payment.

Just because it’s your first home, doesn’t mean it needs to be a house in the city. There are many ways to think creatively about where you might live and how you can afford it. Today, in cities like Vancouver, you absolutely have to be creative and think outside the box.

What have you done to make home ownership affordable to you?


PCF_LOGO_NEW_REDb_073113Disclosure: I am an ambassador for President’s Choice Financial® services and received compensation for this post. However, I am a truly loyal PC Financial® services customer and the opinions expressed are my own.

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