How to reduce stress when purchasing a home
Home buyers report a variety of feelings when it comes to financing a new home. According to the 2019 CMHC consumer report, most borrowers reported feeling “happy” or “excited” about their purchase, but over one third of borrowers also said that buying made them feel stressed. 42% of buyers felt uncertain about the process, and 28% felt anxious about home ownership.
Along with feelings of frustration and fear, it is fair to feel overwhelmed with emotion while making, arguably, your largest financial decision. While it is important to acknowledge those feelings, we want borrowers to feel confident about their decision, and optimistic about their future. This post contains a few tips on how you can reduce feelings of stress, fear, and frustration during the home buying process.
You can help reduce the stress around home buying by beginning with a budget. A budget can help you feel more in control of your financial situation and reduce your stress. Budgets can allow you to better balance your income against expenses, which will help you reach your financial goals faster.
The Government of Canada has budget worksheets that can help you calculate expenses, including your one-time expenses in buying a home, such as your down payment, closing costs, and ongoing expenses like your mortgage payment or optional mortgage life and disability insurance. Budget planners and calculators can help you understand what expenses to expect which may reduce any fear or frustration caused by future surprise expenses.
Having a budget also allows you to allocate money towards your emergency fund. Experience from COVID-19 has emphasized the importance of having an emergency fund to reduce financial stress, both now and for the future. As a general rule, your emergency fund should cover your expenses for 3-6 months.
While it seems like more work up front, learning mortgage terminology before you start the process can help you prepare for conversations with your broker. For example, knowing the correct language can help you understand a mortgage pre-approval, which is when a lender examines your finances to understand what they would lend you. Over half of borrowers who plan to purchase a home in the next two years get pre-approved.1 Pre-approval can be a good step to understand what you can afford while you are in the early stages of buying a home.
By familiarizing yourself with mortgage terminology, you can also reduce uncertainty and stress later in the process when it comes to signing a commitment. Start with words like term, amortization, and principal.
An essential part of planning is finding a mortgage broker you trust with your story. One-third of buyers received recommendations for a broker from a real estate agent, and half of customers interacted with a broker in 2019.2 At Home Trust, our broker partners understand that life happens, and take the time to listen to your whole story so we can work together to find you the right mortgage solution.
Various provinces are now permitting open houses for borrowers looking to purchase. While this is a good sign, we understand that exposure to an unfamiliar environment during COVID-19 might be uncomfortable. If your realtor books an appointment to see a property, remember the following:
- Be aware of public policy regarding protecting others, including wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and wearing it inside and outside the property, regular hand washing, and keeping social distancing in mind.
- Expect all lights to be on and all doors to be open during your visit.
- Remember, if you are feeling ill or have any symptoms of COVID-19, stay home! If you are still feeling unsure, ask your realtor if a virtual tour is an option.
While buying a home can seem stressful, there is an abundance of resources, from budgeting tools, realtors, and brokers that can help you through the process. By taking the time to learn more about mortgages, you can feel confident about your financial situation. Refer to the Home Trust blog for more information and tips around preparing for, purchasing, and owning a home.
1. Source: Home Trust Alternative Mortgage Research, July 2020.
2. 2019 CMHC Consumer report
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