Squamish Real Estate Blog


Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival
This February 1st to February 22nd is the 4th annual Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival!
There will be a tasting passport and if you collect 10 or more stamps, your name will be entered to win a "sweet, pre-loved, custom designed Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival Cruiser Bike"! Head over to the Squamish Adventure Centre to pick-up your passport or download a printable passport and find more information here.   
There are also exciting offers available while the Squamish Hot Chocolate Festival is running: 
- Sandman Hotel is offering 30% off standard room rates.
- Sea to Sky Air is offering 10% off flightseeing tours. 
- Dialed in Cycling is offering 30% off bike rentals. 
- Ridehub Cafe is offering 20% off bike rentals. 
Here is where you can find some delicious Hot Chocolate in Squamish: 
How many will you try? Don't forget to tag @squamishhotchocolatefestival so that they can see all of your "hot chocolate mustaches"!
~ Julie

Time and again, individuals are ready to invest in a home and they wish they had begun planning years earlier. Here are five crucial steps that every first-time home buyer should know, five years before buying, and what you need to know to purchase your dream home with minimal hiccups:

1. Building and Maintaining Credit | Building a solid credit history is crucial when buying a home. Focus on paying bills on time and reducing credit card balances. Any existing debts listed on your credit report must be considered in your debt calculation, which can lower your qualifying amount. Nothing destroys your purchasing power better than a Ford F150, so avoid large car payments too. Remember, lenders prefer to see two forms of credit reporting for at least two years with a minimum of $2000 available credit. This responsible credit management positively influences your credit score, leading to better mortgage rates and terms. 

2. Saving for the Down Payment | A larger down payment equates to a higher purchase price and reduced monthly payments. Often, insufficient savings act as a barrier, preventing individuals from entering the housing market. Starting early significantly impacts the amount accumulated. Over five years, set realistic saving goals and consistently contribute, aiming for at least 20% of your future home's anticipated price. Cut every unnecessary expense and be relentless with your savings. Initiate government down payment programs, such as the First Home Savings Account (FHSA), as soon as possible. Remember, a higher down payment leads to improved home options. 

3. Early Consultation with a Mortgage Agent | Talking to a Mortgage Agent early allows time to understand your finances, explore mortgage options, and prepare for any hurdles. We ensure you're ready to buy a home, offering insights to save more and address credit issues well in advance. Get advice on improving finances, understanding what you can afford, and tailored programs for first-time buyers. This guidance often motivates saving for a down payment.

4. Maximizing Income Potential for Self-Employed Individuals Understanding the impact of your tax returns on your borrowing capacity is crucial, especially if you're self-employed. Often, there's a desire to minimize reported income, yet this can affect your qualification for loans. Collaborating with your Mortgage Agent and Accountant two years before your purchase can circumvent qualification issues stemming from tax returns. As a Mortgage Professional, I have access to diverse lenders specializing in such income scenarios, offering various qualification methods. Initiating this conversation early ensures safeguarding your borrowing capacity, working in tandem with your accountant to secure your financial standing.

5. Understanding the Local Real Estate Market Rethink your approach to choosing the location for your first home. As a First-Time Home Buyer, purchasing in your desired area might not be feasible initially. Consider your initial home as a stepping stone onto the property ladder. It's not your "forever" home but rather your "for now" home. Be strategic in choosing a property that you can sell in a few years, utilizing the accrued equity to climb higher on the property ladder. Acquire skills for "sweat equity" and explore emerging neighborhoods on the verge of gentrification.

If you work on these 5 things noted above, you will be well on your way to purchasing a home. Despite what the headlines say, owning a home is possible for everyone. With a solid plan and the guidance of a Mortgage Professional, homeownership is achievable. 
This helpful information was provided by Kimberly Coutts, a Vancouver-based Mortgage Broker since 2015 with a passion for real estate and helping others. Whether it's your very first condo, your family's dream home, or an investment property, she is committed to finding the perfect financing for your housing dreams!
Originally from Winnipeg, she has called Vancouver home since 2001 and currently lives in the heart of Vancouver with her husband, Darren, and their two boys, Logan and Hudson. They spend their weekends hiking the North Shore, exploring the many beaches in the area, and spending time at the local playgrounds connecting with friends and neighbours. 
Reach out to Kimberly here, if you are looking for a Mortgage Broker!
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