22 Jun The Young Buyers Club – Via Toronto Life
The Young Buyers Club – Via Toronto Life
Nine enterprising millennials who found a way to beat the market and buy a house before the age of 30
The Penny Savers
They kept a student lifestyle on adult incomes, and wound up with the perfect fixer-upper
The Owners: Kevin Wallace, 29, sales manager at a start-up, and Grace McClure, 28, content marketer at a start-up
The Place: A 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom row house at Geary and Delaware North
The Price: $802,000
The Closing: December 4, 2017
Grace: In 2015, Kevin and I had both finished university and found full-time jobs, making a combined $150,000 a year, but were still accustomed to a student lifestyle—waiting for the discount night at Pizza Pizza, that sort of thing.
Kevin: We lived in a basic one-bedroom at College and Crawford. Our rent was $1,675 a month. We never upgraded to a nicer apartment or bought a car, so we ended up saving a lot.
Grace: We never thought we’d be able to afford a house. Then, in 2016, I saw a listing for a rundown place at Queen and Shaw for $499,000. We didn’t want it, but the price made us realize we could maybe do this, and we started searching for real.
Kevin: We drew up a lofty wish list: west end, garage, fireplace, not a condo, and with a basement apartment to rent out. We set a budget of $500,000 but realized that was hardly enough for a closet, so we stretched it to the low $900,000s.
Grace: Last November, we found a three-bedroom on Delaware near Dupont, listed at $699,000. It was 105 years old but in good shape, and it had a basement apartment. Luckily, the listing photos were dark and blurry, and there was no open house, so we figured it wouldn’t attract much interest. We offered $103,000 over asking and won. We dipped into our savings, and I took out $25,000 from my RRSP for the down payment. By putting 20 per cent down, we avoided CMHC loan insurance. We got a 30-year mortgage through an alternative lender, not a bank, at a rate of 2.69 per cent. We moved in this past December and started renting out the basement in February, for $1,100 a month, which makes a nice dent in our $2,600 mortgage payments. We’re paying less now per month than we did as renters.
Kevin: We’ve retiled floors, replaced cabinets and appliances, and updated the staircase. We’re doing it ourselves with the help of family, so it’s been slow, but we’re just happy to be here.
Grace: Things are still in deconstruction mode, but we’re chipping away to create the charm we wanted. We’re fine with the slow pace—we have no intention of moving for a long time.