In recognition of Genworth Canada’s Annual Homeownership Week, we’ve asked homebuyers for their first-time homeownership lessons in this three-part series.

Adam is a 30-year-old account manager at a large PR firm in Toronto, Ontario. He purchased his first home in the spring of 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario, after looking at roughly 30 to 40 homes on the market over the course of two months. The home he ended up purchasing was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse with approximately 1,600 square feet of floor space. At the time, he was looking into renting a place but realized that the monthly mortgage on a modest home would be about the same as a rental. With help from his parents for the down payment and a friend interested in renting a room from him, he made the decision to buy. His friend’s rent covered a large portion of the mortgage, and with his own monthly contribution, the remainder was easily paid, allowing him to build equity every month. Learn more about Adam’s first-time home buying experience:

Lessons from a First-time Homebuyer: Adam’s Story
Q: What is the best way to prepare for your first home purchase?

A: Get a real estate agent!

Q: How was your experience in submitting an offer?

A: The offer was smooth and easy thanks to my agent, though it was stressful. The good thing about purchasing in Ottawa was that you do not find yourself in multiple offer situations (at least not commonly) like you do in Toronto, and that helps A LOT. Without an agent, I think it would have been a very stressful endeavor, despite there not being any bidding wars/other buyers to contend with.

Q: What was your down payment?

A: I had a 15% down payment, homes are less expensive in Ottawa and my folks helped.

Q: Did anything unexpected happen?

A: As part of any responsible home buy, you should bring in a home inspector as a condition on your purchase offer. I was glad (but also sad) that I did this, as he was able to find a ton of small things that needed to be fixed. I was ultimately on the hook to fix them, and it was not that it made me want to retract my offer, but I definitely was not expecting all the stuff he showed me was wrong with the place!

Q: What do you wish you had known before buying your first home?

A: A better understanding of how mortgages work, particularly around interest rates and what the pros and cons are of fixed vs. variable rates (this still confuses me!)

Q: If you could purchase the same first home again, would you change anything?

A: I do not think I would change anything about the purchase.

Q: Anything you would recommend to first-time homebuyers?

A: Don’t stress if you are feeling overwhelmed with your options. When you find the right home, the one that is for you, you will just know. I cannot explain it, but can say with certainty that when you find your home, you will know! Your instincts will tell you.

Genworth Takeaway

Adam made a great decision to invest in a home when he was able to, and was smart to invest in a property that he could rent a room to his friend. An investment property can be a great idea for first-time homebuyers as a tenant might pay a significant amount of the mortgage. Additionally, Genworth has several plans that can assist potential buyers in acquiring a home including our New To Canada program and the Homebuyer 95 plan. Check out those plans and others here.

On the blog:

Key questions to ask when purchasing a home

Achieve the homeownership dream sooner