jude botchway

By: Jude Botchway (Dream Maker Realty)

Living in Toronto, it’s impossible to escape the ongoing debate as whether to rent or buy a home. Everyone has an opinion, including those who have no business giving one, and often misguided decisions are made that cost potential homeowners to miss out on crucial investment opportunities.

It’s not my style to force people to buy a home. I encourage those who aren’t currently in the market to be patient and wait for the right opportunity for home ownership to present itself. Buying a home just to say you own a home is a mistake. It takes planning and strategizing with your real estate agent before making an informed decision that will best work in your favour.

What I’ve realized as one of the biggest obstacles to home ownership is fear. This is something I’ve recognized even in my own parents. When I suggested back in 2008 that they purchase a home in the McVean area in Brampton for approximately $360K, they argued the safety and security of renting as reasons not to make the deal. Now those same homes today are selling for over $800,000.00.

I love my parents, but can point out when I think they have made a mistake. Like many Torontonians, the “safety” they feel renting is really just a way not to face the fear they associate with owning a home. My parents also weren’t properly educated about real estate and investing. If they were, they would have understood that when an opportunity comes along and you have the means to capitalize, you pull the trigger. Can you imagine how the contribution from the sale of that home could have benefited their retirement fund?

And that is my advice to those looking to own a home in today’s Toronto housing market. There’s nothing wrong with renting. It provides you with a place to live at the lowest upfront cost. When renting, however, you should do so while saving some dollars in preparation for when an opportunity for home ownership becomes available.

Ignoring this investment opportunity would be a mistake. We live in the GTA where home prices are increasing at an electric pace of 20% year over year. While records continue to be broken literally every month, even as a renter, you should be budgeting for the time you will be able to  capitalize on a property that works with your budget.

I think one of the biggest myths about renting is that you need to wait till the moment you’re ready to purchase a home to contact a real estate agent. That is absolutely false. A good agent will help you prepare for home ownership. He or she will educate you about the market and guide you through what steps you can take right now to ensure you’re ready. This is well before showing you any listings.

If you want to know the pros and cons of renting vs buying, just Google them. The fact is that every situation is unique and every path to home ownership differs depending on the individual or family. Home ownership is within the reach of anyone who is currently renting. It’s simply a matter of educating yourself about the market, and working with an agent to take the right steps to properly prepare yourself to capitalize on the opportunity.

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