What our buyers have told us over the years is that the smallest of changes can bring you one step closer to that home ownership dream. And that doesn’t mean sacrificing life’s joys, but it does suggest taking a look at the bigger picture and finding that sweet balance of living in the moment while saving for the future. Where do you begin? Stop doing these 5 things today to make sure you can own a home tomorrow.
RESEARCH & SET YOUR GOALS | Stop generalizing what you want in a home and how long it’s going to take you to get there. Sometimes it’s tough to communicate what it is you’re looking and the plan you have in place to make that a reality. There’s the must-haves, the make or breaks, and things you’re willing to bend on and how that looks financially. Before you can get to that point though, you have to do your research and set goals. You’ll likely browse online as a start, but the best way to get a clearer picture is to hit the ground. Explore the neighbourhoods and the people and activity with them and engage with an agent to view a few homes that pique your interest. Often you start looking for a condo in the hub of downtown only to realize that a yard means more to you than high-rise living, diverting you to a single-detached family home in the suburb, with space, and indoor/outdoor amenities for a far better bang for your buck. It’s the tangible process that starts to really guide your search.
SPEND LESS | Put a halt to those big-ticket purchases, at least for a while. You know what these are, the five star resort holidays, diamonds, cars, boats the list can go on. Instead, swap them for alternatives that you didn’t even know were in your backyard. Let’s talk about one we can all relate to, holidays. Getting away and disconnecting is healthy, but that doesn’t always require a first-class flight around the world. Staycations over the years have become a growing trend. People are nixing those 15-hour flights around the world for a mini-holiday enjoying all of the local quirks. It doesn’t take a world traveler to recognize the beauty of the Okanagan. On the one hand, you have the Okanagan Rail Trail, perfect for trekking in the summer, and on the other, you have some of the region’s most relaxing, natural spas (some even with the diamonds), and too many wineries to even count.
USE CASH |Put the credit card to the back of your wallet and visit your ATM now. Sounds counter intuitive, but it’s not. Buying what you can’t afford now, is one of the biggest obstacles for many interested in purchasing a home later. Instead of whipping out the Amex, pull out the cash. Once you see that figure in your bank account dropping with every withdrawal, you’ll realize what your real limitations are to spending on the less essential items. Consider every dollar you save a part of the larger stash for putting a down payment on a home and in turn paying less back to the lender in the long-run.
TAKE STOCK & PAY ATTENTION | Cancel Netflix, Amazon, Crave, cable, fitness apps, gym memberships, club memberships – okay maybe not all of them. Canceling underused services and subscription means you’ll be repocketing your hard-earned money. Add to that the ability to compare costs by the swipe of an app makes reshopping for the best possible deal for all of the ‘necessary’ ones a guaranteed win. Take stock of what you have, what you can live without and start spring cleaning your unnecessary spends. Along the way, you’ll discover the less costly alternatives to those ‘nice to haves’ – outdoor activities, Netflix as part of your telephone contract, even golf mid-week instead of peak hours.
COOK | Quit eating out for every meal. You’ve heard it, we get it, and life sometimes just get in the way. Convenience is a huge factor when it comes to frivolous spending. If we just woke up that much earlier, we could have made that sandwich for lunch instead of spending $20 on that salad. Depending less on convenient options is the perfect excuse for firing up the grill and testing your chef skills on that gorgeous patio. You can even make an activity out of it for your family and friends by shopping at one of the many farmers markets and fruit/nut farms across the Okanagan region.