Practical Mortgage Tips for Newlyweds
January 22, 2020 | Posted by: Ron Chan
We feel a bit guilty about penning a recent article about getting a mortgage when in the middle of a marriage separation, with Valentine’s Day just three weeks away. To make up for it, we’re following up with a more uplifting piece for those who have recently been struck by Cupid’s arrow - newlyweds! But instead of digging into mortgage calculators, rates, and pre-approval processes (click the links if interested) we wanted to take a more practical look at getting a mortgage as a newly minted husband and wife (etc.). Let’s get to it.
4 Practical Tips to Getting a Mortgage and Buying a Home as a Recently Married Couple
1. Do Some Mortgage Homework Together
OK, we promised not to hit you with mortgage-speak in this list of practical tips, but we’d be remiss to not suggest that you at least get to know the lay of the mortgage landscape in Winnipeg first. On your next Sunday morning together, put on some coffee and sit down to pour over recent news on local mortgage rates along with educated predictions for what’s to come for fixed and variable rates. The latter duo is where a lot of uncertainly lies, so brush up on the difference between fixed and variable rates so that together you can decide which option suits your new lifestyle best.
2. Consider Lifestyle Today vs Lifestyle Tomorrow
You may be a newly married couple with travel, leisure, and entertaining on the mind, which makes a condo seem very appealing. You may be looking at a space in a mixed residential-commercial district in order to be in the heart of the city where all the action is, which can be great, BUT we encourage you to consider what your five-year plan looks like. Do you plan on having kids in or around that timeframe? If so, a single detached home may be more appropriate. While this may seem like a pipe-dream for most newlyweds across the country, a new detached family home in Winnipeg averages just over $320,000 which is VERY affordable, even for those just starting out. A townhouse or duplex may also be a perfect hybrid solution.
All we’re saying, is that you should not dismiss this option based on preconceptions that are born from the state of real estate in the rest of Canada. Of course, you can still find a suitable condo with an extra room for a future bundle of joy, but you will want to consider school catchments and access to family medical facilities, parks, community centers, and the like. “Newlyweds” turn into “family households” a lot faster than most ever anticipate - plan accordingly. View more on how to decide between a condo or house.
3. Getting the Downpayment Together
Did you spend your wedding loot on the Honeymoon? Unless you can find a lender willing to accept a collection of wedding presents (toaster ovens, coffeemakers, fondue sets, etc.) towards your downpayment there’s a good chance that you could use a cash injection. The good news, is that there may be money waiting for you to grab it - dough that you never before considered. For example - when you got married you merged possessions which may include two vehicles. Do you really need both? Can you sell one to free up some cash? You may also withdraw from your RRSPs without penalty. View our guide to 6 Quick Ways to Get Money for a Downpayment for more insight.
4. See a “Counsellor”
A marriage counsellor already!? Please excuse the cheeky headline, but when we say “counsellor” we’re just referring to a mortgage broker. But a broker is just as important to keeping your union a happy one during the first home buying process. There is a LOT of stress attached to entering into your first mortgage and any attempt to go at it alone will result in a major headache for the both of you. A do-it-yourself (DIY) mortgage offers limited-to-zero access to preferred mortgage rates which limits your budget and as a consequence often results in you living in a home that you don’t even love. Not a great way to start your life together. Instead, bring in a partner who will work with the two of you through every step of the way. A broker will connect you to preferred lenders and rates, and remove the burden of negotiations, excessive paperwork, and more. With the right broker, all you need to do is focus on finding your dream home.
Family-man Ron Chan remembers what it was like to be a newlywed and is sensitive to all of your needs. Contact Ron today at 204.290.9950 for a friendly conversation about your Winnipeg mortgage.