Don’t Rush Major Purchases

Don't Rush Major Purchases - My Life, I Guess...
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I used to want to be a real estate agent. At the end of high school, it was a career path that I was seriously considering. Although I never pursued it further than watching a whole lot of HGTV, I’ve always kept an eye on what the local real estate market.

It’s no secret that I don’t like the rental townhouse R and I currently live in. Although it’s gotten better recently, a part of me regrets rushing our initial decision to move in. I’ve always kept an eye on the rental listings in the hopes of finding something better that still fit our budget. But with rental prices skyrocketing in our community, it was always out of reach.

Now that we’re married and I’m employed full time again, I can’t help but think about the possibility of buying our own place instead. Especially when I come across a promising – and affordable – new listing that meets most of our criteria.

Our new combined income is slightly above the local average, and houses here are very affordable. (According to a study done last year, the average cost of a home where we live is less than 3 times the average household income. In Toronto, houses cost 6 times more and in Vancouver, it costs 9 times more.) A mortgage payment would cost less than what we pay in rent.

But I doubt a bank would give us a mortgage right now. We don’t have a down-payment saved, we’ve accumulated too much debt, and I’ve been at my job for less than 6 months.

I couldn’t help myself, though. I just had to log into my online banking and plug the numbers into their mortgage calculators, just to see what it’d say.

When I didn’t like the results I got, I logged off and didn’t really think about it again. I didn’t play around with the numbers, I didn’t look at other mortgage options, I didn’t call and talk to anyone, I didn’t even try a mortgage rate comparison site that would do most of the work for me. I just went back to daydreaming about home ownership.

Apparently, I’m not alone.

According to a financial study done by Lowest Rates, Canadians spend more time planning a vacation then they do finding a mortgage!

It may sound ridiculous, but I believe it. I’ve rushed through my share of major purchases and expenses. (Like the time I got a second job so that I could afford a new car, or how I took out almost $60,000 in student loans to pursue a career in the low paying non-profit sector.) Had I taken some time, I might have avoided accumulating so much debt and maybe owning a home would be a viable option for us.

And let’s be honest. Trying to decide what tourist destination to go to is a lot more fun and exciting than deciding if you should go with a fixed or variable interest rate.

I like to think that I’ve learned from my past mistakes. That I know better than to rush into any major financial decisions. So even though becoming a homeowner is still something I can only daydream about, maybe I should spend some time learning about the financial side of real estate.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever rushed a major purchase?

Homeowners, how long did you spend finding your mortgage?


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More about Amanda

Amanda is the owner and creator of My Life, I Guess... a personal finance and lifestyle blog that started back in 2013. She strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes and making the most of it.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Rush Major Purchases

  1. Avatar

    I waited for 2 years to buy my first condo. I wanted to be in a better financial position and have the required down payment. I used a mortgage broker but I made a few “rookie” mistakes along the way.
    Becoming a homeowner is also not just about the mortgage amount. You have to account for repairs and maintenance, condo or townhouse fees and higher insurance costs. Once you have added all these up, you can better compare with renting.


  2. Avatar

    When you buy a house I think in general you tend to feel rushed because there isn’t a lot of time for pondering, so there is that. Our mortgage was rushed too because we were pre-approved and it didn’t work out for the house we wanted and we had to line something up fast. I have also had to buy a car under the gun before and it sucked. I like pondering! I like taking my time on financial decisions and any other decisions so if I can help it I take my time. I think it’s a good idea to take your time and be patient for now, because when you decide you are ready things move so fast.


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