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Interview with Lindsie Tomlinson | Realtor with RE/MAX Select Realty

Meet Lindsie:

I’m passionate about a few things:

  • My family (my husband and I have two young sons named Dante and Enzo)
  • My community (I love being part of a real Vancouver neighbourhood)
  • Travel (I even wrote a book about Traveling with Kids)
  • Writing (Check out my latest article for REW.ca here)
  • Wine (no need to explain!)
  • People (my friends and my clients, who often become friends)
  • Real Estate
  • Being outdoors (especially hiking, SUP and biking)

But I’m even more passionate about helping my clients find the home that is right for them.

I specialize in helping families who have outgrown their current home, usually with the arrival of a wee one. Who knew someone so small could take up so much space? With the arrival of a baby, you start to think about things that you hadn’t before. I love guiding clients through the process of finding the neighbourhood that they want to raise their children in.

I also love helping first time home buyers through the excitement and nervousness of buying their first property. It doesn’t have to be scary!

WHERE I LIVE
Before we had kids, my husband and I lived in a condo in Kits, which we adored. After our first son was born, our one bedroom and den condo suddenly became too small (sound familiar?!) so we bought a house near Commercial Drive in East Vancouver.

If you live in the area and have kids, you’ve probably seen me around the playground, the ice rink or Community Centre at Trout Lake. If you live in the area and don’t have kids, you’ve probably seen me shopping at Donald’s Market, running around Trout Lake, sipping a coffee at The Prado cafe or enjoying a chocolate chip zucchini muffin at JJ Bean.

WHICH NEIGHBORHOODS DO I SPECIALIZE IN?
I work in all areas of Vancouver (including outside of Vancouver proper like North Van, Burnaby and Port Moody). I specialize in East Van because it’s my ‘hood and I know the schools, parks, restaurants, community centres and ammenities like the back of my hand.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
A portion of every one of my sales go to the Children’s Miracle Network as well as Backpack Buddies.

The children’s hospitals supported by the Children’s Miracle Network provide comfort, treatment and hope to millions of sick kids each year. In Vancouver, our donations go directly to the BC Children’s Hospital and last year, our RE/MAX office raised more than $24,105.

Backpack Buddies is a unique program that addresses a very real need in Vancouver that most of us don’t think about. There are many kids that attend inner city schools that rely on lunch programs throughout the school week. When the weekend rolls around, many of these kids will remain hungry until they return to school on Monday. Backpack Buddies provides a backpack filled with food for these kids to take home, because hunger doesn’t take the weekend off.

In 2002, I was a part of Joints in Motion, raising over $4,000 for the Arthritis Society of Canada and running my first marathon in Honolulu. In 2003 & 2005, I joined Team in Training, raising over $10,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

I also volunteer every year with the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and the Vancouver International Wine Festival (formerly the Playhouse International Wine Festival). I love heritage houses and wine!

HOW TO CONTACT ME
It’s easy. Call me directly at 604.396.4433 or send me an email at [email protected]

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SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS HERE: mattparker.ca/contact

Speaker 1: Think today's mortgage process is complicated and stressful. You're right, it is, but it doesn't have to be.

Matt Parker: Nice.

Speaker 1: This is the House Rich podcast and we've simplified the mortgage process. Your host, Matt Parker, AKA, Mortgage Matt delivers practical advice in a fun and entertaining way to help you understand your mortgage, so that you can start making money, not the bank. So let's get your home ownership journey started. Here's your host, Matt Parker.

Matt Parker: Hey, Matt Parker here. Very excited to have Lindsie Tomlinson here. Lindsie, how are you today?

Lindsie Tomlinson: Great, how are you?

Matt Parker: I'm doing very well. Very well. Thank you for taking the time. Grateful to have you. And I like to start out, so Lindsay's a real estate agent in Greater Vancouver and we've worked in conjunction on a transaction or two, I think over some time now. And would love to, I'm really looking forward to getting your insight on the market, especially today and your business, how you do business, all those sorts of things. But I like to start out with question, which is just one thing or something that maybe not many people know about you? Something that would be sort of fun to share with everybody?

Lindsie Tomlinson: Sure. Okay. I don't think very many people know that I've actually run two full marathons. In 2002 was my first marathon in Honolulu. And basically I had an ex-boyfriend who told me I would never be able to run a marathon. I had never run in my life and I was curious about it and he was like, "Oh, you could never do that." So of course after I broke up with him, I signed up to run a marathon and showed up for the first day of training and ran five miles and thought I was going to die, but stuck with it. And so what I did was I did it through something called joints in Motion, where I raised money for arthritis. And then we went to Honolulu and ran the Honolulu Marathon in 2002. And then I did it again in 2005 with Team In Training and raised money for leukemia and-

Matt Parker: Oh, fantastic.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Ran a marathon again. Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Parker: Where was the second marathon?

Lindsie Tomlinson: That was also in Honolulu.

Matt Parker: Oh, wow.

Lindsie Tomlinson: In 2005. Yeah.

Matt Parker: Very cool.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Yeah.

Matt Parker: My wife and I just got back from New York recently and they were setting up for the New York Marathon.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Oh, cool.

Matt Parker: And I've heard that it's out of this world, the energy, the environment. So that'd be kind of cool if you're a marathon person to run one of those sort of big city ones.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Well, Honolulu was really cool too because a lot of people dressed up in costumes and it was just neat to see. And I think there was 30,000 people there the first year I did it and was ... all my goal was just to finish, which I did both times.

Matt Parker: It's a long way to run, so-

Lindsie Tomlinson: It is.

Matt Parker: I'm not going to lie, so congratulations. Well, that's fantastic. I know that it's a smaller group of people that have accomplished that goal. So good showing him wrong. Right?

Lindsie Tomlinson: Exactly. Don't tell me I can't do something.

Matt Parker: Yeah, exactly. Good for realists, good for sales and good for real estate. So how did you get started in real estate? How did that come about?

Lindsie Tomlinson: Yeah, so I was 21 when I bought my first condo. I always was really interested in it. I don't even know exactly why. I just was always really intrigued with it. And I remember being a kid going to open houses with my mom just for fun, which now as a realtor we don't love those lookie loos, but it was definitely one of those. And I just felt like I was wasting my money on rent and decided to buy my first condo at 21. And then was like, "Oh, you know what? I actually really enjoyed that whole process."

And so I took the real estate course in I think 2002, passed all the assignments, did everything, was going to write my exam, and I got hit by a drunk driver head on. So it was pretty traumatic and then just deferred everything and then life just gets in the way and it was never the right timing. So then after I had my second baby, I decided I wasn't going to go back. I was working at an architect firm as an office manager/executive assistant. And I decided, "You know what? I'm going to go get my license." And so I challenged the exam on so many years later, studied and got my license in 2013.

Matt Parker: Oh wow. What a story. It just came full circle. Hey, life happens to everybody and I'm glad you're okay and everything ended up okay. And yeah, thank you for sharing. Appreciate the honesty.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Yeah, absolutely.

Matt Parker: So what do you love about it? So day-to-day, you're helping people focus, maybe focus on buyers, potentially sellers or both?

Lindsie Tomlinson: I think I do a pretty big mix of both.

Matt Parker: Okay. What would be your favorite part of just a day-to-day life as a realtor?

Lindsie Tomlinson: Yeah, that's a good question. Every day is different and what I really like about it is just helping, whether it's buyers or sellers, navigate from the beginning to the end and beyond. I often have clients reach out to me later on and say, "Oh, actually, do you have any recommendations for an electrician or a plumber?" Or, "Hey, could I run this by you?" I think I just really like helping people with one of the biggest decisions and biggest purchases or sales they're ever going to make and helping them navigate it step by step, so that they feel really comfortable and knowledgeable and able to make the best decision for them.

Matt Parker: Yeah, from my point of view it's how can we be of service? How can we help you today? And especially in, because we're focused on Vancouver, greater Vancouver obviously as our markets, but in an ever increasing cost of living, ever increasing real estate property. Now we have mortgage rates skyrocketing compared to where they were and all those different things. I think that, that expertise and that additional care and help throughout the process, which has become more stressful year over year. It hasn't gotten easier, that's for sure.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Absolutely.

Matt Parker: So I think that that's so important today, where maybe this time last year it was more of just, "Can I qualify? Can I get a house and will I get an accepted offer?" Let's do our best to see what happens and sort of roll the dice. But today that's I think shifted. So in terms of the market today, so as we're talking, it's near the end of no November, 2022.

So we've seen a large uptick in interest rates over the last six to eight months and hopefully near the peak, hopefully, fingers crossed, we're near the end of it. And in term, what that's done from our end is it's made it a lot harder to qualify for a mortgage, because the stress test rate has continually increased because of that fact.

So I actually did an analysis the other day on pre 2018, before the stress test was introduced to all mortgages and today, and what the difference is be between qualification over that time. And if you look at pre 2018, for every a hundred thousand in income, you'd qualify for over $750,000 in a mortgage. Today it's under $500,000, so it's a big difference between the two.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Wow, yeah.

Matt Parker: Based on what that qualifying rate is, and they haven't implemented any longer amortizations or anything like that to sort of help those different things. So I think that's creating a lot of challenges for securing financing, qualifying at best rate mortgages, not having to go alternative lenders and all those different options as well. But in terms of today's market or what's happening at the moment, any advice that you can give or what you're seeing out there for potential buyers or sellers?

Lindsie Tomlinson: It is honestly the strangest market that I've seen, and we have gone through crazy sellers markets before and then gone back to a balanced market, which we're in a balanced market right now. But even though we're technically in a balanced market, I think it definitely skews more towards in reality, we're in a buyer's market. We're not having the multiple offers that people got so used to. How to handle it today, really, I just always think, you need a place to live, which we all need a place to live. If you can afford to buy something, then you have greater control over your housing. If you do qualify, if you're able to scrape together the down payment and you do qualify for a mortgage, I always think owning is better than renting, because it's yours, you have greater control over it.

Matt Parker: I do think long term, now that it's kind of a funny thing, it's like, okay, well inventory's growing a little bit. It's not like it's growing significantly, but let's say it even does grow a little bit and it is making more available for buyers, properties available for buyers. I think the big problem is long term is that with these higher costs of borrowing, that impacts so many different aspects or parts of the market. Whether it's we're having less new construction units, developers are building less, so there's going to be probably even less housing in a market where there was not enough housing and more people over the time.

Lindsie Tomlinson: I think that's our biggest problem, especially in the lower mainland, Vancouver in particular, is that we just have such a lack of supply. The new builds can't keep up with the demand, and there's lots of immigration, there's always going to be more people. And I've had lots of clients move here from Ontario, mainly for weather reasons.

Matt Parker: Okay. For good reason.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Yeah, right.

Matt Parker: Makes sense. Yeah.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Yeah. And I think that as an investment perspective, I think owning is always a great idea, but at the end of the day, you do need to live somewhere. So I would rather put my money in where I'm living than maybe the stock market say.

Matt Parker: Yeah, diversifying is obviously fantastic, but having a home, having a place that's safety and for your family I think is so valuable. I know that I think the next six months is a fantastic time to buy a property. I think that we'll still be more opportunity. I also think that any tweak that happens, in terms of making it easier to qualify for a mortgage, any potential downturn in interest rates, anything that makes it change, in terms of ... or just a little bit more appealing. I think we're right back to where we started, if not worse at some point in the future, just because of what the biggest problem is just not enough housing.

Lindsie Tomlinson: It is. What I have found is that people, when the market is strong and it's a seller's market, everybody wants to buy a place, because all they see is that it keeps going up. So everybody ... that desperation of needing to get into a place before it goes up again in another month is there. But as soon as we're in a downturn, people step back and want to wait. And what I have seen is that if you wait too long, then you start jumping on the bandwagon again once it's shifted.

Matt Parker: Yes.

Lindsie Tomlinson: And so if you can purchase when you have the luxury of being able to negotiate, which is major, and also have more time to think about things. And we're not in that market where you have less than a week to decide this is it. You have the time, but yes, interest rates are higher, but why wait too long? If you're going to purchase, then I think the next year is going to be a really good time.

Matt Parker: I agree. I agree. And we're seeing obviously a lot of different ways that people are qualifying, because it may ... okay, if I'm qualifying for less for how much I make versus how much I used to qualify for, for property values have actually gone up over that period of time. We've seen a large increase in gifted funds from family. We've seen a large increase in co-signing, having family help co-sign the mortgage, all good options. They're not bad options. There are ways that the parents can actually access equity without potentially increasing their payments and keeping cash flow the same.

There are reverse mortgages are on the uptick and not the worst product out there if it makes sense, if it's an early inheritance. There are lines of credit products that we could structure, where there's actually just equity based and do it that way if there's a lot of equity in the home. So we're seeing a lot more of that early inheritance to help bridge the gap that has been created. So that's definitely ... and also because of the fact that there's a lot of real estate wealth in greater Vancouver because of the fact that people have owned these properties for X amount of years and the value's gone up. It's, "Let's use that to help the family." So yeah, it's just looking at all different scenarios to make it more achievable and more affordable and really focus on that cash flow. So yeah.

Lindsie Tomlinson: My mom had to co-sign my first mortgage when I was 21 and my mortgage rate was just over 7%.

Matt Parker: Okay, okay, so then not so different, right? Not so different.

Lindsie Tomlinson: No, no. I didn't qualify on my own and she cosigned for me. So I was able to make the payments, but yeah.

Matt Parker: Yeah, we don't know what rates we'll do.

Lindsie Tomlinson: No.

Matt Parker: As we go into the future. I think there's a lot of indicators that could see lower rates at some point. Some people think we might see higher rates. Just depends who you talk to and the expert or analyst that you're listening to. So it's not wait for that, it's not, "Let's wait for that," because I think just being in the market isolates you from the changes of things, because over time, this is long term, this should be appreciation in the property, especially in a world class city like Vancouver. I think the best city in Canada, which is one of the best countries or the best country in the world, or one of in some people's opinions. So it's a very desirable place to be. So that's probably what's going to continue to push up home values as well, just in that fact alone, while also the low housing supply is definitely a contributing factor.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Well, rents are so expensive now too, so I'm always shocked at how much they are.

Matt Parker: That's a big concern I find. I think that the housing supply problem is a big concern. It is a big problem, if we're going to look at it seriously. And I did read an article that the average renter in Vancouver is spending over 50% of their take home pay on rent, which that's very challenging from a cash flow perspective. But then if you look at it from the investor that owns the property, well their costs are increasing significantly as well.

And what most people I don't think understand with rising interest rates is when the US Feds do it, it doesn't impact people that much right away, because there's very long term fixed-term mortgages in the United States, where they have 25 year, 30 year terms. So they're actually protected for that long if they want to be. So there's not as ... there aren't really renewals down there, there's refinances and purchases. Where in Canada, everyone generally has a five or less term mortgage.

So over time this impacts everybody. So it's not like anyone is able to avoid it. So even if you have three years left in your term and you have a fixed rate mortgage, well while in three years, there's a high probability that your rate will be significantly higher than what you have and your payment will also be a lot higher as well. So that's where they probably don't increase rates as high or as much as a US Fed do, because of the direct, immediate impact that it has on the economy versus down.

So that's good news, in terms of how high we might see interest rates go. I think we're probably, hopefully near the end, but hopefully that's some good news as well. Anyway, lastly, I use the term house rich. So I talk about, because I'm a Smith Maneuver Certified mortgage Professional, so I focus a lot on how do we structure tax deductibility, leverage equity to increase investment, tax deductibility and pay down that bad interest, non-deductible mortgage as quick as possible. When I say house rich, anything come to mind to you or what that means to you?

Lindsie Tomlinson: I really feel like as long as you have a safe place to live and a roof over your head, whether you're renting or own, we're just all so fortunate. We do have a serious homeless problem here. So I do think anyone who has a home is house rich in those terms. But no, I think that the equity that most Vancouverites have in their homes will allow them to have a better retirement, because if they do downsize, which most people end up doing, they will be able to help their kids or grandkids and they will be able to live a better retired life than they probably did when they were paying off their mortgage, just because of that growth. So maybe in that way there's a lot of house rich people here, even though they're not really rich, they're rich on paper.

Matt Parker: But I think that if you think about it, you hit the most important thing on the head, which is most of us, if not all of us, probably have a lot to be grateful for, even when things are happening that maybe make us think otherwise. If we step back and look at the big picture, there should be a lot of gratitude just for the fact of owning a home, if you do own a home or even the option to look at buying a house. Even to think of I can potentially buy a property is something to be grateful for. So I think that I agree with what you said 100%.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Okay, good.

Matt Parker: Well, Lindsie, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Pleasure to have you on. I just wanted to end with what's the best place to find you, where can people reach out to you?

Lindsie Tomlinson: Sure. Well my website is my name, Lindsietomlinson.com and my name is spelled a bit differently. It's L-I-N-D-S-I-E. So the Lindsie is a little bit different. So yeah, I'm always happy to go for coffee or chat with people and see if we're a good fit with each other.

Matt Parker: Well, thank you, Lindsie. We'll put the contact info in the details of the episode and everyone will have the chance to reach out to you. But I really appreciate you taking the time out of your schedule and we'll be in touch. We'll talk to you very soon.

Lindsie Tomlinson: Okay, sounds great. Thank you.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the House Rich podcast with Matt Parker. We hope you enjoyed this episode. For more information and resources to get you started on your home ownership journey, visit www.mattparker.ca and don't forget to rate and review this podcast. Thanks again for listening.

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