In pursuit of property

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You may still be experiencing the joys of rent cheques and cranky Eastern European landlords, but some young adults are prepping to make the leap to mortgages.

The results of the 17th annual Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) Homeownership Study released last week show that 15 per cent of Candians aged 18 to 24 are “very likely” to buy property in the next two years.

Anneke Cundasawmy, an Ottawa realtor, insists that early homeownership while still young is possible because she’s done it herself — she bought her first property at 24.

“You can come up with down payment money somehow and you buy a property before you go into first year… why not have your roommates be picked by you and have them pay your mortgage for you?”

Cundasawmy said it’s also possible some of the respondents in the survey bypassed university all together and don’t have to worry about paying student loans. They might have gone into the trades, where the potential to earn money fast is greater.

And then some people are born lucky. One of her colleagues inherited a trust on his 18th birthday and instead of blowing it or investing in the stock market, he chose real estate.

“That’s the one that everyone says ‘oh, they must have won the lottery’ or ‘their parents are rich.'”

Mortgage broker Romy Alegria has heard of young adults having their parent cosign on a mortgage, but to qualify for a mortgage, banks still need to see that the applicant has worked in the same field for at least three years and has built a good credit history.

Alegria recommends students saddled with debt would be better off paying off their loans first and take a few years to save money.

“Save some money, live with your parents, put that money aside,” Alegria said.

Cundasawmy was able to buy property because of the planning she did very early on.

“I had five jobs when I was in my undergrad. You do what you’re committed to doing. And I think that there are people who graduate from high school young, who have been working, who graduate from university young, who, while they’re in school can keep their debt load down and can qualify for a mortgage.”

When asked if she had any clients between 18 and 24 years old, Irene Kzubiel, a realtor from Royal LePage, said, “Nope, not one.” Most of her clients are well above that age bracket.

“My view is that at 18, it’s just not in the cards. Who can put down a healthy down payment at 18 years old?” said Shannon Donaghey, a second-year business management student.

Renting does have its advantages. Being a tenant allows for a certain degree of wiggle room — why get locked into a 15 year plus mortgage if you’re not certain about your current career path? In the current job market, there’s a distinct possibility that you might move around.

Donaghey doesn’t know what she’s going to do after graduation, so she’s taking her time.

“I think a lot of people are trying to fast-track their lives, that’s just the way our generation is like we kinda always want to be one step ahead. We’re always pushing the limits on everything. It’s our upbringing. We expect more and we expect that we would have to work less for it.”

Follow these steps to be on track to buy your own house — when you’re really ready for it.

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