For many it may seem that Calgary’s housing market has taken a turn for the worst. For some though, the decline in housing prices has turned into a great opportunity to purchase an investment property. For Whitney Rippel, 27, it was the perfect time to get into the market.
Her story is an interesting one. Rippel lives with her boyfriend in the home he owns and she decided to purchase a house with a close friend she’s known for seven years. They bought a bungalow with two suites; each has two bedroom and one bathroom.
Rippel and her friend bought this home with the intention of renting both suites. They closed the deal in November 2015, putting 7% down between both of them. They quickly rented one of the suites and decided to place the second suite on Airbnb.
They furnished the Airbnb suite with second-hand furniture and are already prospering from the well-priced unit they’ve listed on the market. I interviewed Rippel about her experience about buying the home. Here’s what she had to say:
Janine: How did you know you were ready to own?
Whitney: I’ve always been interested in owning an investment property and had been running the numbers for a long time. When the market started to decline in Calgary and I was able to keep my job through it, I thought it would be a good time to buy. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to afford what I wanted to buy alone, which is why splitting the cost with my friend was instrumental. We both paid for half the down payment which means we share the risk 50/50.
Janine: How were you able to decide on a place between the two of you?
Whitney: We were quite strict on what we wanted and the property had to meet the criteria before we would even consider putting in an offer. The day we went to see this property we knew it was the one. We immediately put in an offer and closed the deal the next day.
Janine: How much did you put down on the home and what are the details of your mortgage?
Whitney: We were able to put down $20,000 each. Our home cost $511,000, which meant a $471,000 mortgage between the two of us. We secured a fixed-rate mortgage for five years with a 2.84% interest rate.
Janine: What if you and your friend end up disagreeing on something in the future when it comes to the home?
Whitney: We went over a lot of scenarios before we bought: if one person wanted to sell or if we disagree about something that has to do with the home, we decided we would get the opinion of the realtor and do what they think is best.
Janine: Did you feel like your emotions were involved when you purchased the home?
Whitney: My friend was definitely more emotional about the purchase than I was. I’m pretty business-oriented, which meant I tended to draw her back from the excitement. I think we complement each other nicely.
Janine: Do you think you were in a buyer’s market and did this affect the price you paid?
Whitney: Prices had dropped a little and there weren’t as many houses moving on the market so I would say things have slowed down for sellers in Calgary. We didn’t witness any bidding wars, which was really nice. We paid less than it was listed for and I think that the previous owner wanted out. The home was listed for $565,000. We negotiated hard and after the home inspection we were able to get the price dropped by another $15,000.
Janine: How was the process of getting a mortgage?
Whitney: We only had 10 days to turn everything around so it was stressful because it was so quick. We went through a bank, which recommended a mortgage specialist.
Janine: Did you use any online tools (calculators or websites)?
Whitney: We used MLS a lot and many mortgage calculator tools through RBC and TD.
Calgary home prices may continue to drop while oil is down but Rippel and her investment partner are enjoying their newly acquired property. They’re having great luck with their tenants and their Airbnb is proving to be very profitable with families booking their space well into July.
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Flickr: Chad Goddard