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Look at Home's Affordability, Not Sale Price

In today’s booming real estate market, house hunting for an “affordable” home can be quite a challenge. However, too many potential homebuyers focus their thinking solely on a home’s sale price without considering its overall affordability. The fact of the matter is, with today’s extremely low interest rates, homes today frequently offer more affordable mortgage payments than was the case when rates were high. In many of Canada’s major urban centers, home payments can sometimes even be more affordable than rents.

To evaluate whether a home is truly ‘affordable’, you need to weigh your payments against your projected expenses. Start by determining your budget, i.e. what you can easily afford to spend on a home and its related expenses. Remember, the key word here is “easily”. Be realistic and ensure that your plan affords you with sufficient resources to enjoy it with peace of mind.

The next step in the process is to determine the home’s carrying costs. Need some help here? Everything you need to develop your budget is just a mouse click away at Visit our buyer information center and click on for an affordability calculation and helpful information on mortgage financing. After you’ve determined your mortgage payment, be sure to include other monthly costs, such as property taxes, home insurance, heating costs and other utilities. Then add a figure to cover yearly maintenance and upkeep costs.

Your budgeting process should also make allowance for a “contingency fund” to cover unscheduled expenses such as a major repair. You don’t want to start out with a budget that’s so tight, there’s no room for life’s little surprises. Remember too that budgeted costs may vary widely from the actual costs that may occur, so be generous when estimating expenses.

One of the best ways you can ensure that the carrying costs on your home are affordable -- and stay that way -- is by keeping a low mortgage rate over a prolonged period. With today’s low interest rates, you can do that by locking in your mortgage for one of the longer terms available. Also, by pre-qualifying for a mortgage, you can find out up front what your maximum mortgage payment might be, even before your home search begins. You can even lock in an attractive rate for an extended period, so that your rate is protected while you’re still looking for the home that’s just right for you.

Your Coldwell Banker real estate professional can give you some good advice on creative financing and all the other aspects of homeownership. Why not ask for some expert advice? There’s no obligation to you, and you may just find that buying a home is more affordable than you may have ever thought. 


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