I am a statistic. I’m one of the 40 per cent of single female condo owners in Toronto. Apparently it’s somewhat of a new trend. More and more, single women are purchasing their first homes on their own. There could be any number of reasons why a woman would choose to buy her own home. I can only speak for myself. I knew I wanted to have my own private space. I also knew that I was not interested in paying rent. So I saved up my money (living with my parents helped make this possible) until I had enough for a down payment.
A year ago, I didn’t know the first thing about mortgage payments, and interest rates. Today, I am a condo owner. But the transition was not that cut and dry. Little did I know that the search for the perfect home would be such a tumultuous event full of emotion and heart ache.
The love affair began the first time I laid eyes on that perfect West End loft. The glossy hardwood floor glistened from the afternoon sun flowing through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows. The powder room on the first floor would be enough to cater to my guests and the luxurious bathroom upstairs would be my sanctuary as I soaked my worries away in the Jacuzzi tub. I could already picture myself entertaining my guests on the terrace, overlooking the rooftop patio.
Sure, there were other units in the building that were cheaper, but they had nothing on the very first one I saw. I knew right away, this was the unit I must have! I guess you could say that it was “loft at first site.” But how could I predict, as I was signing the offer (which by the way was for more than I told myself I was going to pay) that this first love affair was going to end up in heartbreak? How could I have possibly imagined that my lawyer was going to discover a serious legal issue within the condo corporation, and would advise me against making this purchase? My only option was to walk away from the only condo I had ever loved.
Would I ever love again? There couldn’t possibly be another place that could stir the same feelings inside me as that first beautiful loft. But life goes on. My search continued. I never imagined I would ever find another apartment that could equal, not to mention surpass, my one true loft. But then it happened. There on the waterfront was the building that I overlooked all this time. I thought it was too fancy, too pricey, too “out-of-my-league.” There’s no way I could ever afford to live there. But there it was, the perfect apartment. Spacious, nice view, big, sunny kitchen. A beautiful bathroom adorned with marble and that glorious soaker bathtub. And it was in my price range after all. I never thought it could happen again, but they say when you find true love, you just know.
Now I know it is possible to find the perfect condo. Finding the perfect man - now that’s another story.
Some Tips for First-Time Buyers:
- Shop around. When it comes to getting a good mortgage rate, talk to different banks and mortgage brokers to see who will give you the best rate.
- Don’t let your real estate agent pressure you into making decisions. Although they will tell you that they are working for your best interests, they will also get a cut of the commission on the sale.
- Purchasing a home can be very exciting, and it’s very easy to get emotionally attached to a home that you want to buy. Try not to let this happen by looking at your purchase as an investment.
- Be prepared to walk away. If the vendor is asking more than you are willing to pay, decide how high you are willing to go, and stick to it. You won’t feel good about your purchase if you pay more than you wanted to.
- If you find a place you like, visit it a few times before making a decision to buy.
- Have the property inspected to make sure that there will be no unwanted surprises after you move in.
- Remember that besides your mortgage, there are many additional costs involved in purchasing a home including legal fees, inspection fees, closing costs, property taxes, land transfer taxes, and maintenance fees just to name a few.