It’s a funny thing. Recently, and for the first time in memory, I actually sat through watching the local evening news. It was all doom and gloom. Every. Single. Feature. Story. In some perverse sense, it was comforting to see that this is something that hasn’t changed over the years.
It was one of those moments that I found myself speaking like my parents (and what a lightning bolt to the head it was to realize you’ve become them!): “If it bleeds, it leads.”
Analogously, I couldn’t help but recognize that many owners in the real estate market feel that they’ve been hemorrhaging [wealth] over the past year. I know I have.
It’s enough to give you a complex – or worse, to lead you into thinking that you’re helpless. Instead, I’m here to challenge you to think the opposite and to look for the opportunities.
Helplessness is a learned state – know better and don’t go there.
As a registered nurse (as I suspect would be the case with anyone with training in any denomination of healthcare service), I’m acutely aware of the social determinants of health, and the tremendous and pervasive influence they bear on the trajectory of one’s life. Paradoxically, social services directed towards helping those in most dire need can, in some circumstances, have the undesired effect of further weakening resilience and making the recipients still more dependent (hence the term, learned helplessness). Some may even suggest that over-assistance kills inner drive. While this blog isn’t attempting to pass judgment on the cost/merit/value of social services available, or any recipient population(s), the issue of believing oneself to be defenceless/helpless in the face of challenging times is germane.
I thought this was a realtor’s blog?!
It is. Hang in. I’m getting there.
In fact, the struggle that is the example of qualifying for a mortgage and purchasing a property is a valuable experience to live through. It’s universal (i.e. not unique) and it’ll make it worth it in the end – no matter how long, drawn out and complex the process may seem. You are not helpless so don’t give up. You’ll appreciate the end result that much more.
And make no mistake, while residential property prices have come down, surprisingly, monthly affordability hasn’t fallen proportionally (a stark reminder of the enormity of the cost of compounding interest) – to say nothing of the fact that the qualification process for a mortgage remains as challenging as ever (if not, even more so). Monthly affordability today isn’t far off what it used to be at the height of property prices earlier this year.
Lean into the discomfort and adopt a bias towards action
Buying a property is a big deal (pardon the pun). It takes a lot of planning, action and decision-making.
Success in any large undertaking is as simple as breaking it down into small components. It’s most important to just start. You can’t always know the best order of operations or actions to take ahead of time (no matter how well researched). Be prepared to make mistakes – that’s how you learn. Don’t mistake a mistake as a failure; rather, learn and move forward. This is how you get ahead – and you’ll succeed far more quickly than had you sat on your hands doing nothing worrying about how to do everything perfectly. Start, be comfortable being uncomfortable and continue moving forward.
Recognize this time as a golden opportunity
While property prices have come down considerably, many buyers are still waiting on the sidelines, hesitant to purchase in an uncertain market. Ironically, this is the very time they ought to take decisive action because of the leverage they have to negotiate favourable terms. Further, as I’ve said before, fortunes are made during slower economic times… but not realized until the high times.
Prospective buyers are also put off by the perceived and invasive challenges presented by the qualification process required to obtain financing. Don’t give up, be creative and do whatever is necessary. Best to approach your financial institution well ahead of when you would like to buy to start the pre-qualification process; you’ll learn where you stand, what you can afford and what you might need to do in order to best position yourself to negotiate most effectively.
Remember to take a long-term view during trying times and to capitalize on the opportunity to purchase at a lower price. After all, in five, ten and fifteen years’ time, they’ll look back, laugh and be glad they put in the effort required to complete a purchase. Besides, you can always refinance at a lower rate in the future whereas you likely can’t re-buy at a lower price (i.e., the types of prices we’re seeing today).
In the new year, aim to invest in yourself and buying real estate is often one of the best long-term investments one can make. Once you’ve purchased a property, stop looking around at others; don’t sabotage yourself trying to look for a cheaper, more desirable place – avoid the temptation of comparison leads to buyer’s remorse.
Chin up! Let’s make the most of this new year. Move forward… and into your new property. Call me and let’s start today.