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Real Es­tate Car­l­ito Pablo

The Georgia Straight - - Housing -

Glee To­dio will al­ways re­mem­ber the sum­mer of 2017 with fond­ness. On July 22, she and her young fam­ily moved into a Sur­rey condo that she and her hus­band bought. It was their first home pur­chase.

A cou­ple of weeks later, To­dio took her oath as a Cana­dian cit­i­zen.

Re­flect­ing on what hap­pened last sum­mer, To­dio says that these two mile­stones made her more rooted in her new coun­try. “It felt like I’m home; I fi­nally be­long,” To­dio told the Ge­or­gia Straight in a phone in­ter­view.

To­dio and her hus­band, Lau­rence, are both 34 years old. They have a three-year-old son. She re­called that be­fore they be­came home­own­ers, she would won­der at times what would have hap­pened if they had stayed in the Philip­pines.

“But once we bought the home, and then I got my Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship, that ques­tion mark wasn’t there any­more,” To­dio said. “So it was that mo­ment that…it fi­nally sank in my mind that Canada is my home and, you know, I’m a fullfledged Cana­dian now.”

To­dio works as a busi­ness an­a­lyst with a pro­fes­sional-ser­vices com­pany. Her hus­band is a free­lance drafter. Be­fore mov­ing into their Sur­rey condo, the young fam­ily were rent­ing a base­ment suite in the same city.

Ac­cord­ing to To­dio, own­ing a home was one of the pri­or­i­ties she and her hus­band had set for them­selves. She ex­plained that they were raised in fam­i­lies that value home­own­er­ship. When they were ready, they asked for help from her hus­band’s fam­ily to aug­ment the amount they had saved for a down pay­ment.

To­dio re­called that they made of­fers on three other prop­er­ties but were out­bid by other buy­ers. Look­ing back at these un­suc­cess­ful ten­ders, To­dio said they were lucky to have Tony Lim as their real­tor.

He coun­selled the cou­ple not to go into bid­ding wars be­cause this would cost them more.

“One of the lessons we learned from Mang [Mis­ter] Tony is, ‘Do not feel pres­sured, be­cause there’s al­ways that one unit that is meant for you.’ ”

They later found a one-bed­room condo in the Guild­ford area that was listed for $280,000. Their of­fer be­low the ask­ing price was ac­cepted.

In 2016, the Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion is­sued a re­port that looked at the ex­pe­ri­ences and ex­pec­ta­tions of first-time home­buy­ers. En­ti­tled New­comer First-time Home Buy­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence, notes that all pur­chasers have ba­si­cally the same rea­sons. They want to stop pay­ing rent and build eq­uity. They also feel fi­nan­cially sta­ble enough to carry a mort­gage. “Unique to new­com­ers was the no­tion that buy­ing a home was an im­por­tant step to­wards ‘get­ting set­tled’ in a new coun­try and city,” the re­port says.

To­dio’s hus­band ar­rived in Canada with the rest of his fam­ily in 2009. His mom came ahead as a care­giver for the fam­ily of her sis­ter (Lau­rence’s aunt). To­dio and her spouse have known each other since child­hood. They got mar­ried in the Philip­pines in 2011, and To­dio moved to Canada the fol­low­ing year. Their son was born in Canada.

To­dio’s only mis­giv­ing is that they waited too long to make a pur­chase. “Three years ago we wanted to buy a home, and we keep read­ing ar­ti­cles say­ing that the mar­ket will burst… and…prices will drop,” she said. It didn’t hap­pen, and prices kept ris­ing.

To­dio said they could have bought a place big­ger than the 619-square­foot condo they got. “It’s still a bless­ing that now we’re in the mar­ket.”

Ac­cord­ing to To­dio, they may have started small but it’s a step to­ward own­ing a big­ger home later.

Home­own­er­ship and cit­i­zen­ship have made a dif­fer­ence for her.

“Last year, if you ask me where I’m from I’d most prob­a­bly re­spond with ‘Philip­pines’,” To­dio said. “But now if you ask me the same ques­tion, I’d say ‘I’m from Canada.’ ”

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