By: Beth O'Donoghue

How I Did It

Tags: Real Estate, Buying, First Time Buyer, For Sale, Purchase, Investment


How I Did It

I think there is a lot of negativity with my generation when it comes to owning real estate and I wanted to share my story to inspire other people to do what I did. Owning and purchasing real estate is not easy. I am not saying that it will be a walk in the park however it is one of the best walks you can go on. Owning real estate is a big deal, no matter how many times I do it for others when it comes to my purchases I still feel everything a buyer goes through.  


How Did I Get My First Property?

If you can take anything from this I hope this tip is the one you actually take! Make saving automatic. I opened a RRSP to save for a house when I was 19. I put a chunk of money into it to start then I had $300/month taken out of my account every month and put in my RRSP. Anytime I would make a big amount of money I would put 25% of it into this account. I was in school at the time. I went to college and university (which I funded as well- no OSAP, no help) for business and did my real estate license. I also lived on my own (was renting at the time) so I had A LOT of expenses.

I think a lot of people get discouraged because saving a big chunk of money seems impossible when you have so many bills but I want you to know you can do it. The best way in my opinion is if you don’t think about it. I considered that $300/month as another bill. I did not think about the money I just let it grow. I also made it so that I could not touch the money. If you can use it you probably will spend it so make sure you cannot touch it. After I was finished school I had enough for a healthy down payment. Since I did not take OSAP I left school with zero debt.  


What I Did To Save The Money

I have a few tips and tricks I used and still use to save money. I think a lot of people will find this funny because so many people make assumptions about my lifestyle but if you want to build a real estate portfolio you will need to make some sacrifices. This is what I did.

1-      Work, work, work, work, work- I have had multiple jobs my entire life. When I was in school I served at restaurants, did promo gigs, modeling gigs, dance gigs, cleaned my friends condos, WHATEVER. Serving treated me very well but I worked long nights. I would switch to closing. I would take those extra tables. Whatever I could do.  If I had the time I fit it in. It was a real juggling act but I had a lot to pay for. I still work multiple jobs. I think it is the entrepreneur in me. I have so many passions that I have been able to pursue and if you do I encourage you to go after it. Start a business, build it up after your full time gig. You never know. If you are not making enough money then don’t be afraid to work another job. You need to do what you have to do. When you are starting out in a new career it is tough. It takes time to build. Don’t be shy to hustle.


2-      Live on less than you make- THIS IS HUGE. So many people live above and beyond their means. SO many young people fall into the trap of needing to have brand name (insert material item here), go out 3 times a week partying, eat out every day, buy that $5 Starbucks drink. This has never been me. If you really know me you will get to know that my outfit rarely totals $100. I do not buy brand name anything. I love Walmart. And Dollarama. I watch my spending. If I don’t NEED IT, I don’t buy it. I rarely go clothes shopping. I know for a girl that’s a big deal but I actually hate shopping. I might go once a year and that would be it. I am not afraid to buy and rock that Walmart dress. I buy so many things at the Dollar store it would actually blow your mind. I have learned and trained myself to live on very little. If there is something extra that I want I pick up another job. I still think you need to live your life. I do still travel and go out for nice dinners here and there. But I have never been on a $10,000 vacation and I do not go to the most expensive places when I choose to go out. You can eat cheap and cheerful and still have a good time.


3-      Make the short term sacrifices for the long term goal- These little things that I did added up to big things. I am not telling you to do anything that will ruin your life but know that whatever sacrifices you make now will come back and benefit you in the future. So many people lose sight of the long term goal and only focus on what they are missing out short term. Your future self will thank you. Time flies. These little things won’t be as big of a deal as you think when you look back. I promise you. Don’t get your nails done, you don’t need those shoes and no one really cares about your lashes but you. Short term pain long term gain!



If You Need Help/Co-signer To Get It Done Faster- DO IT

So many people feel like they should wait until the market drops, until they save more money, until their income goes up. DO NOT WAIT. Buy as soon as you can. If you need a partner, a parent to co-sign, whatever it is do it. Owning a bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Start somewhere. Your first property does not need to be your forever home. It does not need to be perfect. You can work on projects over time. Not everything needs to get done right away. Rome was not built in a day. Waiting for the perfect place or time is probably never going to happen. Do what you can with what you have. Sweat equity is real and I have always put in work to my properties (I am super handy FYI) It is fun and super rewarding. Paying a mortgage is always better than paying rent. You are basically investing in a savings plan every time you make a mortgage payment.

Owning your own home is one of the best things you will ever do and I hope you can use some of my tricks to get your own!