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.
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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