If you’ve been watching the Okanagan Valley’s housing market for a while, you know the past few years haven’t been easy for buyers. First, it was skyrocketing prices, and now higher interest rates mean that people are qualifying for smaller mortgages than they could even six months ago.
It’s caused many people to pause their plans, whether they’re looking to upgrade to a bigger place, buy their first condo or refinance. But Valley First Senior Financial Advisor Tia Carlesimo says it may not make sense to wait.
“You’ll never find the perfect time to buy a home. We’ve come off an extraordinarily low-rate period, but in the grand scheme of interest rates, they’re quite similar to rates we saw a decade ago.”
The home you want doesn’t have to wait
The decision to buy a home involves more than just math. If your family is growing or you need a home office for your new flexible job, it may not make sense to wait for rates to fall. And even if the numbers on your mortgage application look tough, the right lender will understand that you’re more than just your salary.
“If your mortgage application requires out-of-the-box thinking, your lender should be ready to get creative. It’s a little more complicated to secure a loan for a mobile home on leased land or a home on First Nations reserve land, but we have the experience and flexibility to find a solution. Even if your mortgage is a few years away from renewal, talking with an advisor can help you understand if now is a good time to switch,” she says.
Carlesimo notes that if you’re on the fence about making a move and simply want to do some exploration, getting a mortgage pre-approval is a great way to gain an understanding of what you can afford while also locking in your potential mortgage rate for 120 days— helping curb any concerns of rates changing.
If you’ve just started your own business or graduated from university, some financial institutions might not be willing to offer you a loan. But that doesn’t have to be the end of the conversation.
“If we have to decline an application, we’ll continue working with that member to figure out how we can get them to a ‘yes.’ Let’s get a savings plan together, let’s build that credit score, and let’s get that down payment working for you by investing.”
Taking a holistic approach to the home buying journey
“Some homeowners want to talk through every step, and others just want to drop off all the necessary information and let their advisor handle the rest. I always ask about their expectations, and I’m happy to support any way I can,” Carlesimo says.
And while some lenders are hyper-focused on a single service, Valley First takes a more holistic approach.
“The home buying journey goes far beyond a mortgage — it’s about building a strong financial foundation for years to come. I want to dive into retirement savings, your child’s education and your other life plans. Whether you are buying your first home or taking the next step in your homeownership journey, an Advisor ensures your mortgage integrates with your full financial picture, helping you continue to work towards your family’s long-term financial goals” she says.
“We’ll look at every aspect of your unique situation to make the process seamless and stress-free.”
Learn more at valleyfirst.com/borrow/mortgages.