House hunting 101
My three sons and I have been living in an apartment for the last seven months. It is a two-bedroom apartment. I think it’s a pretty decent size, but a lot smaller than the place where we used to live. Our rent has increased since we moved here, and we already have a notice that it will increase again in the fall. We have been talking about looking for a house. It doesn’t have to be as big as the one we used to live in, but I’m thinking maybe a bungalow with two bedrooms and a finished basement. That will be a good enough size for us, and probably something we could afford especially now that we’re only a single income family.
I met with a realtor last week and he also invited a mortgage specialist from the bank connected with the real estate agency. I’m not ready to buy a house yet, since I don’t have any money in my bank, yet. But I’m getting some money from the property settlement from the house I used to share with the ex.
Yeah, I’m separated now. Single. Single mom. It has been a roller coaster of emotions these past few months. Feelings of pain, hurt, anger, resentments, guilt. And at times, feelings of excitement, freedom, sense of relief. But don’t worry about me and the kids. We’re doing fine. I think we’ve been through the worst. Things are looking brighter. We’re happier. And one reason I am blogging again is because my head is a lot clearer now than it has been. Well, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. Let’s go back to the topic on hand.
My meeting with the realtor and mortgage specialist has been very informative. I told the realtor that I’m looking for a house in the same area where I live now. My two younger boys who are in high school and junior high didn’t want to switch schools and we want to find something close. We’ve also learned to love this area. After all, we have lived here in the past 16 years.
One of the first questions the mortgage specialist asked me is how much is my price range. Well, I haven’t really thought about that yet. We bought our first house here in Winnipeg 16 years ago, and that was such a long time ago, I forgot about the little things and details we had to deal with when we bought the house. How much are you comfortable paying? Oops, looks like I have some homework to do. He also pointed out that how much I get approved by the bank and how much I’m comfortable paying are two different things. I do understand that. I could get approved for this amount of money, but of course, there are bills, utilities, and other different things that I have to pay for. So there’s a lot of things to consider.
He took some information from me. My income, how often I get paid, any extra income (I do have a second income – a part time job), how much money I’m expecting from my property settlement, how much I’m willing to put in as downpayment, etc. He did some calculations and he came up with a price range that I might get approved by the bank. He also made a me a tabulation with different options of rates and length of mortgage term (3-year, 4-year, 5-year). So now I have a better idea of how much money I have to spend when I do decide to buy a house.
Also, the mortgage specialist assured me that he won’t start checking my credit rating until I give him my consent. Some homebuyers go to different realtors and mortgage specialists and don’t realize that their credit rating will be checked by the different specialists that they see. He said that everytime somebody checks your credit rating, your credit scores go down. Now, that’s one more thing I didn’t know. Within the last year, I have applied for an apartment twice, one time on behalf of a friend who came here from the Philippines, and the second time, for myself. So my credit rating has been checked twice just in the past year. I just hope that didn’t do a lot of damage to my credit score.