Stop Renting Start Owning In Surrey BC

(January 09, 2015 , posted in Recent Posts)


What’s the number-one reason we hear from first-time home buyers who have started looking at Surrey’s hot condo and townhouse market? They’re sick and tired of paying rent.

· “We’re helping our landlord pay off their mortgage – but for us, that rent money might as well disappear into a black hole!”

· “Our landlord just keeps upping the rent every year – but we don’t see any improvement in our quality of life.”

· “If we were putting money into a mortgage, at least we could get a return on our investment. Right now, we’re not investing in anything!”

Adding insult to injury, with today’s historically low interest rates, many renters could be paying less per month with a mortgage than they do by renting!

Buying a condo or townhouse can be the right move, whether for young buyers just starting out or seniors downsizing into a property that’s a better fit. Just to make sure you’re ready to make the switch from renter to owner, see our checklist below

Renting vs. Owning. 5 Signs You’re Ready to Buy a Surrey Condo or Townhouse


1. You’ve got the down payment. You will save money if you are able to put 20 percent or more down on the property. The more you put down to pay off principal, the less interest you’ll need to pay over the duration of your mortgage.

While it’s possible to get into this market with just 5 to 10 percent down, you’ll be paying extra for mortgage insurance – likely, $10,000 or more. The more you pay up front, the less you’ll pay later.

2. You can afford the monthly mortgage payment. The old rule of thumb still applies: spend no more than 33 percent of your income on housing. Naturally, that would apply to your current rental situation as well. If your income and job situation are relatively stable, then a simple mortgage calculator with a price point in mind will give you your answer.

As we’ve noted above, your monthly payment is likely to be even less than what you’re paying in rent right now – particularly since Surrey condos and townhouses offer better value than higher-priced properties in some other parts of the Lower Mainland.

3. You are prepared for additional costs of ownership. It’s not just the mortgage you have to think about. If you’re buying into a condo, you’ll have a strata fee to pay every month for amenities like cleaning and maintenance, an indoor gym or pool, landscaping and more. Then there’s property taxes and closing costs like paying your agent and lawyer or notary public.

This doesn’t include special assessments for major works that the strata may vote to undertake, which can require sizeable lump-sum payments. Maintenance is part of ownership, whether you’re in a strata or in a free-standing single family home – but it comes at a cost.

One of the big benefits of using Surrey Condos’ top realtors is that we have keen insights into the structural integrity of buildings in our city – so if you’re thinking of buying into the building that might need a million-dollar rain screen renovation, you’ll get the heads up before you buy.

4. You’re ready for the responsibility of being an owner. If you’re in a Surrey condo, your regular building maintenance (eg. replacing the roof shingles, mowing the grass, watering the plants, etc) is almost all taken care of by the strata – but in a Surrey townhouse, you may have a larger share of basic home care responsibilities. Make sure you’re clear about your responsibilities – and ready to take care of your investment and be a good neighbor.

5. You’re thinking long-term. Owning your own home is probably the biggest investment of your life. With all of the up-front costs we’ve considered above, you’ll probably want to stay in your new condo or townhouse for at least 3 years before you would consider moving. By then, your home equity may have built up enough in Surrey’s hot real estate market for you to offset those costs if and when you do want to move.

If you’re a renter, you’re already paying monthly, the same as you might with a mortgage – but the difference is that in the end, a buyer will own that property.

If you’re ready to make the change from renter to buyer, give us a call!