Let me tell you something about my educational experience thus far in regards to my adult experience. It’s as simple as this: I can definitely tell you the surface area of an obtuse triangle, but I absolutely cannot tell you how to set up Hydro, pay bills online or how an RRSP actually works. Do the hydro people just find you? Do you find them? Do they come to your house? How do I pay them? Are there different kinds of hydro companies? Send help.
Recently my boyfriend managed to drag me out of the house to do some adulting. He’s old (he’s four years older, but in my youthful, sparkling pre-graduate eyes, he’s a senior citizen) and so for him, it’s time to start looking into these things (meanwhile I’m sitting in my basement apartment eating Cheetos and hating Freud). He asked me if I wanted to attend a presentation at RBC about first time home buying, how to get approved for a mortgage, how to financially begin to prepare for the process of buying a house, among other things.
Upon arrival, we had the privilege of getting an individual presentation from a mortgage specialist, a London realtor, as well as a home inspector. A lawyer was also supposed to be present but couldn’t make it that day. The presentation was around a few hours long and I was shocked at just how much I enjoyed it.
I had no idea what the process was behind getting a mortgage and further, buying a house completely. We learned on a step by step basis, hearing first from the mortgage specialist. During this presentation, we learned exactly what the bank is looking for when you are trying to buy your first home, as well as what we can do to begin financially preparing for this investment right now. It was incredibly informative, and I can now comfortably say I know exactly what to do when the time comes for me to purchase my first home. There were a lot of steps and important calculations to be made— however, the specialist actually created and emailed everyone a template for calculating your debt to income ratio specifically in regards to getting approved for a mortgage, an important tool in knowing if you are financially ready for a home. The realtor talked about the current market in London, addressing concerns with the market, how to look for your first house, and what some common mistakes look like (for example, you should never look before being pre-approved for a mortgage)! Finally, the home inspector talked about the importance of having a home inspected before closing a deal and what some common faults are regarding the inspection.
Though the presentation was extremely valuable in terms of buying a home someday, I actually learned a lot outside of home buying. Did you know there is a website that calculates your credit score (with your OSAP, Student Lines of Credit and Credit Card all included in this calculation) that you can check whenever you want? I SURE DIDN’T! Do you know the difference between a hard credit check and a soft credit check? Do you know what factors are included in your credit score? Do you know what a perfect score is? Do you want to know exactly how much student debt you have, to the dollar amount, right at this very moment (I actually don’t recommend looking at this—I needed a nap after)? Did you know you can make money on your tax return by investing into an RRSP?
Maybe I’ve been living in some kind of cave for the last 21 years of my life, but I didn’t know a lot of the information I was presented about the financial position that homebuyers need to be in. Sure, I had heard all of the terms mentioned before and had a loose understanding of them—but I didn’t fully understand. Receiving this information provided me with extremely informative information not only on how to buy a house, but how to take advantage of my time as a student to begin financially setting myself up to be debt free someday, with a great credit score (#goals). I left this presentation feeling two very distinct feelings. First of all, I felt angry. It saddens me that as students, even at a university level, we are not taught these processes. My savings plan would have definitely been LARGELY different had I known the different factors in being approved for a mortgage far into my future. I would have loved to have been equipped with this information at a much younger age! I’m extremely thankful that I attended this presentation so that I can begin to set myself up on the right track to one day investing in a home.
Secondly, I felt extremely motivated following this presentation. It’s a really great kick-in-the-ass to know exactly what it is going to take to own a home someday, and having a wealth of information under my belt about the process really took away some of the fear of the lurking adult-future coming up after I graduate. I highly recommend that university students look into presentations such as the one I personally attended at RBC, as it cannot hurt to prepare yourself with the tools you need to one day not only invest in a home but also to learn about RRSPs, credit scores and the importance of becoming debt free.
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