Edmonton Real Estate Blog

(NC) The term “house poor” is likely one we’re familiar with as Canadians. Given the ever-changing housing market, it’s something you may even have identified with. But what does it really mean? And how can we avoid it?

“House poor” is a situation that describes a person who “over-extends” themselves and spends an unusually large proportion of his or her total income (roughly 30-40% or more) on home ownership, including mortgage payments, property taxes, maintenance and utilities. If you’re feeling like a disproportionate amount of your income goes towards your home-related expenses, then you might be in this group.

According to the 2019 RBC home ownership poll, half of Canadians claim they would avoid a situation where they become house poor as they say it’s mentally stressful and financially irresponsible.

However, one in four Canadians does identify this way and approximately one in ten is prepared to put themselves in this position. Here are some budgeting tips to avoid it:

Adjust your expectations. Buying a home can often be about compromise. This may mean expanding your neighbourhood scope or looking at condos or townhomes instead of detached homes. The poll found that proximity to public transit and work are compromises that most Canadians are willing to make.

Take your time. Buying a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will make. Take some extra time to make sure you have saved what you need to live comfortably and understand fundamentally what you need to buy your first or next home. Creating a budget and payment plan schedule is a great way of staying on track.

Broaden your horizons. Rate is just one aspect of shopping for a mortgage, and solely focusing on it can have negative impacts in the long run. It’s important to make sure you have the right mortgage to suit a variety of needs and the flexibility to adapt to potential changes in your life. Consider the type of mortgage, term and amortization rate, as well as factors including if this is your first house, an investment property or you are buying and selling at the same time.

See just how much you can afford at rbc.com/60seconds.

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(NC) With the Bank of Canada recently raising its key interest rate once again, many of are concerned about the impact on our household debt and mortgages. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks for saving and budgeting you can use for other areas in your life.

Try the three-category budget. It can be overwhelming trying to track all your expenses, but it is advisable to have a baseline to check your progress. Money experts recommend picking just three categories you want to focus and get a handle on, since most of us overspend in just one or two categories. The three-category system is an easy way to get started on trimming expenses.

Pay down high-interest debt. One in three of us sometimes buy things we can’t afford. If you’ve put a few too many purchases on your credit cards, a big portion of your monthly payment are going just towards paying down debt. To get out ahead, consider moving the debt to a low-interest option, like a line of credit. When paying off any debt, prioritize the higher-interest loans you have and work your way down.

Boost your education. If you don’t know much about personal finances, you’re not alone. A recent survey by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada revealed 49 per cent of Canadians grade themselves C or lower on their overall personal financial skills. But it’s hard to get your budget on track when you don’t have the right tools or knowledge. Do some research and work with an expert like a chartered professional accountant to get a better handle on your income and expenses.

Work together. If you’re married or are splitting expenses with a relative, you need to be on the same page about spending and savings goals. So, sit down to outline your priorities together and create a realistic budget you both feel comfortable with and can stick to. You can even try an online budgeting tool or app to help you both track and understand expenses.

Find more information and resources to get on a path of long-term financial health at cpacanada.ca/financialwellness and also request a free educational session for any organization you’re part of.

 
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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.