Hold the Toasters, Please

How much of that stuff you got from your wedding gift registry do you use? Bet you would have preferred a shiny new house or condo to that motley assortment of blenders, toasters, silverware, and fondue sets.

Victoria-based Pemberton Holmes real estate agents Christina Carrick and Patricia Kiteke want to change the way engaged couples register for gifts. They founded Home for the Honeymoon Inc. in January as a way for newlyweds to get a huge head start on owning their first home — and the additional clientele for their real estate practices doesn’t hurt, either.
Here’s how it works: When a couple signs up with Home for the Honeymoon (or “H4H,” as it were), they get a personalized gift registry page on the service’s website. They then set up a PayPal account, via H4H, which routes donations from friends and family to the couple’s savings account, RSP, or TFS, after H4H’s 4 per cent service fee is deducted.
If the couple are from Victoria, Carrick and/or Kiteke will help guide them through the process of buying a home. If they’re somewhere else (they’ve helped couples from as far away as Texas), they’ll refer them to an approved realtor in their area.
“There’s an element of consultation, but they might have a particular agent they want to deal with, and that’s fine,” Kiteke says. “We are able to vet realtors for people. We give them a list of questions to ask realtors they might want to work with.”
Kiteke says H4H helps people overcome their reluctance to ask for money instead of household items as wedding gifts. “It’s a way of taking that onus off them,” she tells Douglas. So far, she adds, they’ve helped two pairs of newlyweds buy homes in Victoria using funds raised via H4H.
“People are typically raising $10,000-$15,000,” she says, “and it’s all gifts that are about $100, maybe $150 … nothing over $250. It just adds up.”
{advertisement} Soliciting donations through H4H also helps a couple legitimize their intentions, but H4H accepts no responsibility for what its users ultimately do with the money.
“We can’t stop people taking off to Vegas, but you would have to face your friends and families if you don’t follow through,” Kiteke says.
The company is completely separate from their work with Pemberton Holmes, but Kiteke says they’re farther along in their business plan than they expected to be at this point, and that eventually they would like to “merge the two worlds.” They’ll be exhibiting at bridal shows in Victoria, Vancouver, and Seattle to attract new clients, as well as connecting with mortgage brokers and financial advisers who might want to advertise on the H4H website or partner in some other way.
“We’d like to reach out to them, and say, ‘Hey, this is a useful tool, because the people working with us, some are coming up with enough money to buy right away.’”
See www.homeforthehoneymoon.com.