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A Homebuyer’s Guide to Applying for a Mortgage

One of the best things homebuyers can do before committing to a mortgage is to determine a ceiling for their monthly mortgage payment, and sticking to it no matter what

Shopping for a mortgage may not exactly be considered a task that people love to carry out, but just how loathsome British Columbians find it may come as a surprise. 
Fifty-seven per cent of residents would rather do their taxes than look for a mortgage, according to a recent Ipsos Reid study conducted on behalf of Coast Capital Savings Credit Union. Fifty-six per cent would rather have a flu shot, and 54 per cent would prefer to age by an 
entire year.
The survey delved deeper into mortgages in general and found that many British Columbians are neglecting other important financial goals and obligations, such as saving for retirement or building their emergency fund, because of the burden of high housing costs. 

The results all point to the need to make sure that your mortgage fits into a comprehensive financial plan. 
“We only have so much money and it has to go to different places, but life shouldn’t be just about paying the mortgage,” says Jason Peters, director of retail and investment at Coast Capital Savings. “We want to talk about the bigger picture and your long-term goals, not just the mortgage rate, to create a plan so that the rest of your financial picture isn’t forgotten.”
The study found that the bigger picture is getting short shrift among homeowners in B.C. Sixty-eight per cent of first-time homeowners said mortgage payments are preventing them from investing as much as they would like. Those with families are feeling especially squeezed. Seventy per cent of homeowners with kids said they put so much money toward their mortgage that they can’t save as much for retirement, while 66 per cent said mortgage obligations take away from their ability to save as much they would like for their children’s education or their own. 
To help people establish a mortgage amount that aligns with their goals, Peters suggest they sit down and draw up a budget. But it’s not just about the numbers. 
“Initially, homebuyers think about getting a pre-approval for a mortgage, but I find what helps people in real life is a ‘me-approval,’” he says. “How much of a mortgage payment actually works for me and fits with my lifestyle and other costs? How comfortable and confident are you feeling about your financial situation?” 
Keep in mind, too, that if you’ve been pre-approved for $500,000 it doesn’t mean you have to buy that much home.
To help with the financial burden that a mortgage can bring Coast Capital Savings offers members cash back options with its Members Get it Mortgages program, and through the Where You’re at Money Chat  helps them establish a firm financial footing in all areas of their life. Using simple terms, it looks at four key areas: money management, saving, growth of investments and protection of your finances in case life throws a curveball. 
“Applying for a mortgage can be an anxious time and an emotional time, but it doesn’t have to be,” Peters says. “It can open the door to conversation about other things: maybe I should have a look at my budget or set up a tax-free savings account; maybe I should look at RRSPs.”
Because after all, as Peters states, “There’s more to life than mortgage payments.”