I remember when my husband and I took the plunge to buy our first home back in 2006.
We were renting downtown, as so many 20-somethings do, enjoying the urbanite lifestyle but also dreaming of a time when I could sleep undisturbed — no 3 a.m. wake-up calls from my neighbours’ sound system and the early-morning deliveries taking place in the alleys.
Homeownership was something we were going to do some day but it wasn’t until one of our “I-will-always-live-in-Vancouver” friends announced they had purchased a brand new townhome in a burgeoning area of Surrey – Panorama did we started thinking about it more seriously. We visited their new place many times and marveled at all the space they had, their friendly neighbours, the incredible amenities (a pool, hot tub AND gym?!), and the stylish display suites showcasing what life could be like in this community. Fast-forward eight months, and we were the proud owners of unit #71 — a pristine and brand-new townhome.
Becoming a homeowner sounded easy, didn’t it?
That’s because I didn’t mention the hundreds of things we had to do between the display-suite visits and getting the keys to the home. From talking to banks about mortgages, transferring money and sweating as I handed over the largest cheque I have ever written in my life, to finding a lawyer to conduct the property transfer, wondering if we needed to hire a Realtor, reading about the warranty coverage and reviewing the walk-through inspections. It was stressful, nerve-wracking and despite the many sleepless nights we endured, buying our first home was the best decision we ever made.
You may be asking, “How did you get though it? How did you know what to do, and where do I get the information I need to buy my first home?” My answer — attend the Homebuilders Association Vancouver’s (HAVAN) 20th annual free seminar for first-time home buyers on Tuesday, March 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bell Performing Arts Centre, 6250 144 Street, Surrey. The exhibit area, featuring new-home builders and home-related products and services is open from 6 – 7 p.m.
The seminar helped us naviage the homebuying process and answered our ever-growing list of questions — What are the mortgage options? How much can be withdrawn tax-free from RRSPs? How about legal considerations, closing costs and home warranties? There are so many factors to consider when buying a home, this is THE seminar first-time buyers need to attend.
One of the best things? The seminar is free to attend, and you get access to a wealth of information from the exhibitors and the seminar presenters who are experts in their respective fields:
- Robyn Adamache, senior market analyst, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp.
- Narrinder Dhanoya-Bhangu, vice-president, Pacific region, Genworth Financial Canada
- Bill Macklem, president, Dominion Macklem Mortgages
- Sandra Wyant, president-elect, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
- Howard Friedman, Vice President, Chief Underwriting Officer, Travelers Canada
- Brad Ricketts, Energy Solutions Manager, FortisBC
- Gregory van Popta, partner, McQuarrie Hunter LLP
- Seminar moderator is Shayne Ramsay, chief executive officer of BC Housing
Interest rates are expected to rise this year, so if you have been thinking about buying your first home, come to the seminar and find out how you can make that dream come true! Pre-registration is required. Register online or call 778-565-4288.
We still love our home and I’m happy to say that the only thing waking me up at 3 a.m. now is the sound of my husband snoring.