Lions Bay: Thyra McKilligan
MARKET NOT IMPOSSIBLE
Navigating today's real estate market with expert advice
A West Coast lifestyle might seem like mission impossible, but despite the out-of-reach housing prices in many neighbourhoods, home ownership is still a happy possibility for many Vancouverites. Enter your local, experienced Realtor: don’t try to go it alone when buying what is likely the largest purchase of your life. A good Realtor – someone who has both real estate expertise and a solid history through up and down markets – is your ally, your ace in the back pocket.
Meet Thyra McKilligan, Realtor with RE/MAX Master Realty, and experienced with many aspects of buying and selling homes – from first-time homebuyers purchasing a suburban condo, to downsizers selling the family home to begin their retirement adventures. She’s experienced the ups and downs in prices and availability of homes on the West Coast, and has some tips to share for those feeling like their home ownership dream is fading:
Adjust your expectations
Moving away from Greater Vancouver might be the easiest way to get to an affordable market; however, the distance to affordability is getting pushed further away. Some families have been exploring out as far as Maple Ridge, while others have discovered the wild beauty of Sea to Sky corridor. Both great options. Want to stay in Vancouver? Make a plan, build equity, and take a step forward. Repeat. From 400 sq.ft condo to two-bedroom townhome to house with a rental unit, you’ll get there.
Slip on some comfortable shoes
Online browsing can only take your plan so far. Real legwork is needed to get into the market and see homes, properties and neighbourhoods. Aside from the obvious keywords such as “cosy” substituting for “small” – a brief description, measurements and some staged photos can’t share the feel of a home, the noise of a street, the general look of the neighbourhood. In the case of real estate, photos don’t always say a thousand words…online images aren’t necessarily taken by a photographer, so a great place can easily be overlooked (and many visits to not-so-great can disappoint).
Put some muscle into it
Move-in ready might seem like the goal for the non-handypersons among us, but that’s going to cost you. You’ve worked hard to save money and to prepare for home ownership, and you may also need to work hard to create your own beautiful home. Prepare to look beyond paint colours, bad carpet choices and unusual gardening – once the home is yours, you can make it look like yours (and again – make a plan, build equity, repeat).
“The market is definitely a tough one for first-time buyers, but it’s not impossible. With the high price of detached homes for even an entry-level purchase, attached homes – condos and townhomes – are fueling this market,” says McKilligan. “Purchasing in a competitive market adds to the need for clear guidance in the homebuying process: an experienced Realtor will help navigate strata research and information, as well as advise on managing competing offers an a single property.”
Buying a home should be an exciting time, and like any big decision, buyers should know “this is the one.” Working with an experienced Realtor will go a long way to ensuring that confidence doesn’t waiver.