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A Canadian Exception To Going The Max

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 30 November 1999 00:00

Not all Canadians want their quality of life defined by the size of their home.

"What is the definition of what you can afford?," said Steven Schroeder, a computer programming analyst from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who recently became a homeowner. "We bought less than a financial institution said we could afford. We felt that what (they said) we could afford would be prohibitive on our lifestyle."

Canadian lenders will allow debt-free Canadians to spend between 28 and 30 per cent of their gross income on principal, interest and taxes. Buyers with personal debts may be able to arrange financing from a lender where the total monthly expenditures - principal, interest, taxes and personal debt payments - are approximately 34 to 37 percent of gross income.

But no one says you have to spend that much.

Mr. Schroeder and his wife, Natalie, an occupational therapist at the Health Sciences Centre, felt the mortgage they qualified for - over CDN$200,000 - would be too much of a debt burden.

"I couldn't see us going on vacations or doing any of the things we wanted to do with the mortgage [they said] we could afford," said Mr. Schroeder. "Fortunately for us, before we went to the bank, we sat down together and said, ‘What can we afford?' "

These first-time buyers decided on a price range - CDN$130,000 to CDN$135,000 - by working backwards from what they felt comfortable spending each month. "We were sick of living in an apartment. We were almost out of university debt and we felt ready for home ownership," he said. "I am glad we set a limit (because) we went to the maximum of our own set limit."

They bought a new 1250-square-foot, three-bedroom bungalow in Winnipeg and based their CDN$116,000 mortgage on one salary.

"With a mortgage based on my income, we feel that gives us a bit of a safety net for the future. This is a first house," said Mrs. Schroeder. "It doesn't have to be everything all at once. We have been renting for ten years. This is just giving us a change to get started and discover what we want. We don't want everything to have to go into the house."

Note: Want more ideas on how to have your home and money too? Check out PJ's new book "Have Your Home and Money Too "

More Canadian News & Issues:

  • Canadians Max Out on First Homes
  • Are Canadian Mortgages Too Safe?
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  • Beyond Interest Rates: What To Look For In A Mortgage
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