Ask an Expert: Own a Home By Getting a Grip on Those Finances

At Avi Urban, we work with the experts to help you make the best decisions when buying your new townhome or apartment with us. One of these experts is Laura Parsons, Bank of Montreal Manger of Mortgage Specialists and Calgary Sun Columnist.

With so many people in the market for a new home this year, Parsons has tons of tips for ensuring that every aspect of your finances are in place to make it easier to afford your home. She explains: “Recently, a report by BMO Bank of Montreal was released that looked into the possibility of rising interest rates. The good news from the report is 57% of Canadian homeowners say they can mange their debt should interest rates rise by 2%.”

It’s good news, knowing Canadians have a better understanding of their debt levels and what they need to do to reduce them. “But when I ask about their other debt (such as credit cards and loans),” shares Parsons, “they have difficulty.  Worse, they don’t have an understanding as to how long this other debt will take to repay.”

What kind of debt are we talking about? For example, credit card debt can last forever if you are only making minimum payments. Some credit cards have great introductory rates but after the introductory offer, the interest goes up.

“The report also revealed 20% of Canadians said a 2% increase in rates would hamper their ability to afford their home,” Parsons notes, “so my advice to those Canadians is to review their full financial position, including their investments and debt load, with their mortgage specialist.”

A mortgage specialist can provide helpful strategies on how to manager your debt. This includes information on consolidating debt, which can then be put on one set repayment schedule.

“Don’t wait until you are faced with the problem – reach out to your mortgage specialist to start on a path of better debt management,” says Parsons. “At BMO, we have tools that can help you analyze your spending by monitoring your account and determining a savings and spending budget that fits your needs.”

Questions or comments for Laura? Drop her a line at laura.parsons@bmo.com, or comment below.