How prep for a Toronto or Mississauga mortgage is just like prepping for a marathon

March 4, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Use your financing clause as emergency exit | CanadianMortgageCo.comAdmitting you may have bitten off more than you can chew

I changed my registration for the May Mississauga Marathon this week.  Instead of running the full marathon, I’ve scaled back to run only the half-marathon.  Anyone who knows me would understand what a mental struggle this was for me.  I wanted to run the full marathon, darn it!  I was so excited to be able to cross that marathon off my bucket list, have the participant medal to hang on my wall, and (I confess) to be able to brag about this achievement.  Just a little.   And on top of that, I hate giving up.  I’ve been training since last September, through some pretty icky and chilly weather, with the end goal of the marathon keeping me motivated.   And although I love running, I really would not have spent so much time on it, if I hadn’t been planning on running that marathon.

However, this past week I had to face reality.  My exhaustion was bone deep.  Having a family, running a business, and doing a fairly large home renovation had already necessitated really early morning runs.   The final straw was adding a two-hour commute a few weeks ago, when we had to move north of the city to stay with family after our renovation ran late, AGAIN.   It was when I realized that the running was substantially adding to my stress, rather than relieving it, that I knew I would have to make a decision.

What do marathons and mortgages have in common?

I was talking to some clients in the last couple of days when it occurred to me that this type of decision is similar to what people face when they’re in the home buying process as well. Typically, buying a home seems like a wonderful idea.  Daydreaming about owning your own home, entertaining friends in your own kitchen, growing a garden of your own, and having more space for you and your family, can sustain many a first-time (and not first-time) home buyer.   It’s when we start getting into the number crunching and figuring out what this will look like from a financial perspective, that people start to realize there is more to buying a home than walking through open houses and browsing the displays at Ikea.   As cliche as it sounds, it really is the biggest purchase most of us ever make.   As such, it can be hugely stressful.  Added to that, if you find yourself desperately scrambling to eke out every last penny you have to come up with a down payment, or realize that the monthly costs mean that you’ll have to stretch much more than you expected, it is a smart thing, not a shameful thing, to consider whether waiting six months or a year or even more, might make more sense.

What if you’ve already signed an “Offer to Purchase”?

If you haven’t previously consulted a mortgage broker and done some mortgage planning, you may find yourself looking at these numbers for the first time in the intense pressure cooker that ensues after your Offer to Purchase a home has been signed back from the current home owner.  (This is not the ideal environment for looking at things in a logical and measured way, which is why I always advocate mortgage planning well in advance of your purchase.    Not only does it help you go through the home buying process more smoothly, but if you’re working with a mortgage professional who takes a little time to educate you on your options, you will also know what to expect, and be more mentally prepared.)  Hopefully, you have included a financing clause in your offer that gives you a few business days to secure financing.  This is your “get out of jail free” card.   Once you get your mortgage commitment from your lender, you’ll see how much you’ll be borrowing, what your monthly payments will be for both the mortgage and your property taxes (and condo fees if you’ve bought a condo), and know exactly what you’re dealing with.  Before your financing clause expires, you still have the option to change your mind, and receive your deposit back.   Don’t hesitate to do this if you are worried that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew!  Much better to change your mind now, than find yourself owning a home and hating every minute of it, or worse, realizing that you can’t pay your Toronto or Mississauga mortgage.

Let me know what you think.  And for those runners out there, see you in September at the Scotiabank Marathon!   🙂


Photo credit: [c] Dimitri c for stock.xchng




Filed in: First Time Homebuyer, Me, Purchase | Tags: , , , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

I'm a Toronto Mortgage Broker. My focus is on saving people time and money in financing and re-financing their homes. Am passionate about helping people make informed choices, giving back, and helping to improve financial literacy in Canada.

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