May 28, 2022

By Ryan B Chan

Becoming a homeowner is probably one of the last things on a student’s mind. There are so many other things that take the forefront. Grades, work, social life, finances all take precedent, but real estate agent Troy Challe shows that it’s really not as difficult as it seems. 

“First off, it’s all a case by case basis,” Challe said during an interview. “The market is heated right now, that’s no question. The advice is to get in any way you can as early as you can. I see a lot of young people buying residential properties together.” 

More young people are buying homes as a group as a first step in getting into real estate investment and ownership. Instead of paying large down payments which could go up to $25,000 for a $500,000 home five students can all pitch in $5,000 for a foot in the door for real estate.  

Challe points out that many students are not only working in unison, but they are also choosing to buy their first homes in more rural areas like Brantford, Thorold, and Grimsby as they are “awesome” investment opportunities with high return rates. With distance-working more accessible for many people, this option makes a lot of sense as workers can live in rural communities and still work efficiently. 

For non-remote workers, Challe offers a different strategy. 

“Go for a base model and update it later. Get the absolute cheapest you can just to get your foot in the market” he said.

Challe said there are many first-time investors simply placing a downpayment on a developing home and holding onto that position for a few years while the houses are built and then they sell their spot once the homes become available. Many people can nearly double their money from that downpayment in this process and then use that money to secure a home they intend on living in. 

Challe even describes people who have simply owned a home in a rural area, allowed someone else to rent it, and then rent a home where they themselves work, usually in the GTA. This way they can still build good credit and investment with banks while actually living in an area where they need to be.

Less than four months ago, Sean Cain, a 25-five-year-old Fanshawe college graduate, got into real estate by going in with his brother. He purchased his first home, a townhouse in Hamilton. Together they were able to secure a downpayment on a home worth about $750,000. In an interview, he highlighted some of the largest challenges he faced while searching for a new home. 

Photo of Sean Cain outside his new Hamilton home. Photo by Taylor Elizabeth Roy.

“Getting the mortgage was the most stressful part. Partly due to age and the fact it was our first time.” 

Cain said that the real reason he wanted a home over renting was because the math favoured homeownership. 

“If I was renting in the area for what I wanted, I’d be paying more than I pay for my mortgage each month.” 

The process for Cain was only a maximum of two to three months once he and his brother had decided to really buy a home. The advice he had to give anyone looking for buying a home was to start putting money into your RRSP account. 

“Because every time you put $1 into your RRSP, you get to write that dollar off of your taxes. It’s a huge deal and no one thinks about it. Young people often think of the account as a retirement account rather than a first-time home buyer account. You’ll have 15 years to put it back, so there’s really not much to lose,” he said.

The complicated world of real estate really isn’t as complicated as it may seem to be. There are tools for students to take advantage of to be first-time owners with relative ease. Incentives like first-time home buyers’ tax credit and real estate agents actually make the process a lot easier and manageable, but the trick really is to just get started.

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