Brandon Scott is a Sherwood Park / Edmonton Mortgage Broker and the author of a weekly column entitled Real Estate Solutions in the Sherwood Park News. This article was originally published on August 2, 2013

The Royals have captured much of the world’s attention but you don’t have to look to the British Monarchy to see opulent lifestyles. Our society here in North America is no different than others; it has a love affair with nice things. And no wonder – we are constantly inundated with images of those living glamorous lifestyles in magazines, on television, and the internet.  The truth of the matter is we all can’t have jet planes, private islands, or exotic animals on a gold leash. So instead we are tempted to overspend on our real estate.

When looking for a place to settle down and call your own it’s hard not to let the mindset of ‘bigger is better’ get the best of you. Here are two tips to avoid postal code envy:

First set a budget in advance for your monthly housing expenses. Even if you are pre-approved for a maximum home price be sure you are comfortable with the payment. For instance rather than asking how much you are qualified to spend you may consider asking your mortgage consultant to work the numbers in reverse. As an example, if you know you are comfortable spending $1500.00 a month you can ask what the purchase price would be so that the payments do not exceed that amount.

Next do not despise small beginnings. When considering homes within your budget acknowledge in advance that there may be things you do not like about a home. There may not be artisan arches, or a double steam shower but it will still be ok.  Look at the big picture. Does the home meet your basic needs; is it well priced and adequately maintained? Anyone who has been in the real estate business long enough has a story of a client that couldn’t find a house to buy in their price range because they were focused on something more expensive (that they could not afford). They ultimately decide to hold-off on a purchase until they earn more money or have a larger down payment. By the time that happens homes have increased in value all the while they continue to pay rent and lose the opportunity to create equity.

I know many will agree that a home is what you make it regardless of whether you are in an older established neighborhood or a newer subdivision. So while you may never be a Royal with their money or their position the beauty of being a homeowner is that no matter what the price tag is on your house, you can still be a ruler and your palace the place you call home.

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