First Time Home Buyer: Margo Sitting Eagle
Margo Sitting Eagle from the Siksika Nation shares her experience as a first time home buyer with hopes of inspiring others to do the same. At just 28 years old Margo represents a growing demographic of young women who are purchasing their own homes a lot sooner than generations before. In what seems to be an overwhelming and unattainable dream, Margo set her sights high despite being turned down initially by the bank and made her dream come true.
How long have you been a home owner?
“I have been a home owner for just over 2 years; I took possession of my home during July 2011″
What type of residence did you purchase?
“I purchased a Townhouse in the town of Strathmore, AB”
How did you prepare to buy your own home?
“I worked with a mortgage broker and a realtor from the get go, the mortgage broker gave me advice that typically a bank would not give, such as how to improve your credit score and small tips to improve the odds of me getting pre-approved. She also gave me other avenues like going with a lender rather than a bank institute.
I am the type to be very curious and ask around from different people who have been through this process and that is exactly what I did, I asked friends, family, colleagues, etc. what things I should be aware of when it came to buying a home. Once I was pre-approved I worked with a realtor. I made sure I found people who I felt comfortable with and who looked and kept in mind my best interest and not what was best for the seller. As a first time home buyer I was so unsure of how many steps it took to actually have my idea turn into fruition.”
What advice do you have for others who want to buy their own place?
“Expect the unexpected. There will be small costs that will come out of the blue, keep your ears and eyes open for grants being offered. Fortunately I was eligible for a home ownership grant that helped in the down payment for my home; however this grant didn’t cover the other additional fees such as legal fees and taxes. Don not get too overwhelmed with the process and give yourself realistic time frames, I rushed my process and found myself very stressed, In less than a month I went from applying for pre-approval to possession.
Looking back I would have liked to have given myself ideally 3-6 months. I had the opportunity to be pre-approved for a larger amount, but that would require a co-signer. I was pleased with what I was pre-approved for and did not bother going with a co-signer, another bit of advice is be realistic with what you are able to afford monthly, I took into consideration that I am a single mother with a child, and should I have a change in career or worst case scenario should something happen to me and I can no longer work the same amount of hours I currently do, I wanted to ensure that I can still make my monthly mortgage payments without making any drastic changes to our current lifestyle.”
What are the benefits to home ownership?
“Peace of mind knowing that this is my home and that the money I put into it goes back to me and my child. The investment alone was a huge pro, and the fact that this is something that I can provide for my child was a reward on its own. I also learned to appreciate how much goes into the upkeep of a home and that made me a lot more aware with how I plan potential upgrades.
Financial Management for me has also improved and the desire to expand my home ownership in the future seems more realistic, meaning I would like to eventually rent my town home, and possibly purchase another home in a more rural location.Once I owned my home I realized how simple the process was and wanted to share the process with my friends and family and anyone interested in wanting to go this route. I most definitely want my child to follow in these steps once he has built a career of his own.”
What advice do you have for prospective home owners?
“Do not give up after the first try! A year before I owned my home I went through a bank, and they gave me so many doubts as to why I was not able to buy a home, this was very frustrating and I felt why bother. The following year I knew the steps I needed to take and researched more and went with a mortgage broker who seemed to want to help me and give me that opportunity to be approved. If I let the first experience steer my direction, I probably would not be in my very own home, do not give up and keep at it, anything is possible with a little effort.”