Townhouse + Condo Living

Research goes a long way

Posted on 2nd April, 2014

For first time buyers the market is right
Research goes a long way

By Mary Frances Hill | Freelance Journalist

For Mark Sampson, purchasing a new home was a matter of simple mathematics and common sense.

Sampson, a corporate pilot and single dad, had been renting for a few years before he finally purchased a Glencoe townhome in Lloydminster. The three-bedroom home was so suitable for Sampson and his son he could hardly contain his enthusiasm.

“I had no hesitation about purchasing the property— I nearly beat down my realtor’s door once I found out about the project,” he says. Payments for his three-bedroom 1,100 square foot townhome will cost him about $1,350 a month.

“And that’s the mortgage with taxes and insurance. Everything made sense.”

Like many new and first-time home buyers, Sampson was vigilant with research, getting his finances in order, looking at comparable properties, and comparing his new costs with those he’d incur if he paid rent.

Stephanie Kelly, an assistant branch manager and longtime lender with Servus Credit Union’s Lloydminster branch, has seen her share of first-time homebuyers.

She finds they have a lot of information, but not all of it is accurate. “Usually they have the gist of things, but not all the facts.”

With just a little research, first-time homebuyers learn they have more options than they know, she says.

Many think they need a minimum of 20 per cent of the purchase price for their down payment, when they can manage with just five per cent. Just as many others are not aware they can take advantage of tax benefits and use their RSP savings for a down payment, without penalty.

Indeed, the time is right for new home buyers to make their investment. The Bank of Canada announced it would keep its interest rate steady well into next year. In early March, the advertised five-year lending rate stood at 5.24 per cent.

The argument for buying vs. renting is also strong for Lloydminster home hunters, Kelly says. The vacancy rate in Lloydminster is a low three per cent, “so landlords can ask for up to $2,000 or $2,200 a month, and they would get it. Or, you can have a mortgage for $1,500 a month.

“Glencoe has been awesome that way because they have their starter condos which people are going to first as a stepping stone,” she adds. “You don’t find a lot here that is under $300,000.”

Sampson, too, says a little research goes a long way. “I would encourage first time home buyers to research the builder. I did, and I bought a Glencoe home because it’s a proven product.”

For more information on Glencoe Development Inc. projects in Lloydminster, visit Our Projects page.

About the writer: For more than 15 years, Mary Frances Hill (Vancouver, BC) has worked as a news reporter, features writer and editor at Vancouver weeklies and the city’s daily newspaper, The Vancouver Sun. She writes for the Homes and real estate sections of the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province daily newspapers. Her freelance work includes health care, business and real estate organizations.