New car before or after home purchase, Expanding a bathroom, Commercial lease


Dear David,

We’re thinking of buying a new car. Should we do it before or after we buy our house? – WHEELIE

DEAR WHEELIE: If buying a new home is in your immediate plans, it’s important to be cautious about making other major purchases. Because your mortgage approval will be based on your debt servicing ratios (a.k.a. “monthly obligations”), adding new financial commitments right now could have a significant effect on your home-buying power.

While I don’t have access to your financials, a quick ballpark estimate tells me that adding a $500 car payment to a typical monthly budget could potentially reduce your housing budget by about $100,000. My advice would be to keep the new car out of the equation for now. Those decisions are sometimes best left until after you’re settled in your new home, if you can afford it.


Dear David,

We saw a house we like with a 2-piece bathroom in the basement, but we really need a 3-piece. How complicated is it to add an extra fixture? – DRAINED

DEAR DRAINED: Provided that there is room available to accommodate that extra shower or tub, you can certainly install the necessary plumbing under the floor. While this may sound like a big job, it’s fairly minor in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention, it will add tremendous value for families that have numerous people to get through the bathroom in the morning (like we do at our house)!


Dear David,

We own a small business. Currently, we have two years left on our lease. Any advice on what to do next? – MOM AND POP

DEAR M&P: If your business is going well and your current location suits to your needs, you might want to consider an early renewal if that option isn’t already built into your lease. Unlike a residential lease, a commercial lease doesn’t automatically grant a tenant the right to stay if it expires. If your business would benefit from a larger or smaller location, you’ll need sufficient time to relocate. You may even want to check with your current landlord to see if there are larger or smaller units that will become available at your current complex. While moving locations is sometimes necessary, it is often not ideal.