6 first-time homebuyers on what it's like to dive into the Waterloo Region housing market

·3 min read

Being a first-time homebuyer in today’s market is daunting, says Lindsay Morris. With the ongoing bidding wars, steep prices and debts that can compound, buying a home can often feel unattainable for a young person. Cambridge Times was curious about how young buyers were grappling with this market. So we spoke to six first-time home buyers on what the process was really like.

Sid and Amber Syed

List Price of Home: $450,000 Selling Price: $510,000

“We had a budget of $550,000, and we made three offers in Cambridge. We ended up looking at houses that were little fixer-uppers that nobody else would look at. Other houses we were seeing had 20 to 30 offers. We couldn’t match the offers that were coming in, and we didn’t want to get carried away by the bidding.

The house that we bought was in bad shape, but when we got the evaluation we found that the bones were really good. It’s a beautiful 57-year-old house. When we made an offer, there were only four other offers on the house. And we literally won the bid with just $2,000. It was nerve-racking for sure. There was a lot of crying.” — Amber Syed

List Price: $450,000 Selling Price: $511,000

“I thought we couldn’t afford a home. I had a specific type of home that I wanted, and we really wanted to buy a house. But I had to pay off all of my student loans so that we didn’t have anything else to pay for. During the pandemic we were just watching the housing market go up and up and up, and it was causing me a lot of panic.” — Eve Faber

“For me, it was more figuring out where we wanted to live and why we wanted to live there, which was the deciding factor for Cambridge. The market was looking crazy, and I didn’t know if we should join it or not.” — Adam Faber

“We had a really good realtor, and a really good buying experience. Because it was a first home, I really wanted to get into the housing market so I wasn’t as picky. I knew I didn't want a condo, and that I wanted a backyard, but I didn’t really care what the state of the house was as long as it was livable. It didn’t have to be super renovated and done. We wanted a community much like where we used to live in Guelph where people were really invested in their local economy.” — Eve Faber

Lee and Lindsay Morris

List Price: $500,000 Selling Price: $650,000

“What we ended up doing before we started bidding on houses was we got our realtor to get the final purchase price from some of the houses we were looking at just to see what the market was saying. It was daunting because houses that were listed at $450,000 and $550,000 were going anywhere between $100,000 to $180,000 over asking.

We were getting frustrated with bidding wars. We decided to up our budget a little bit. We saw this house in the middle of our house-hunting process. We looked at some other houses, got outbid on those ones and then decided to come back to this one because our realtor said there were certain things that we could negotiate on. It came down to us and another person, and they bid within $50,000 of our bid. We ended up writing a letter to the homeowner explaining our situation and who we are and what our plans to do with the house were. I’m told that letter was what made her decide to choose us.” — Lindsay Morris

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Genelle Levy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times

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