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First Time Homebuyers 101

Written by Stephanie Fereiro  |  Published on: August 8, 2017  |  Updated: April 2024

💡 WAVE Tip: Thoroughly research and understand your budget, including not just the purchase price but also additional costs. Beyond the mortgage, consider property taxes, homeowners insurance, maintenance, utilities, and potential homeowners association (HOA) fees.


1.Sort out your dollars and cents. In today's competitive housing market, it's easy to jump into a purchase when you think you're ready but buying a home before you have your financial ducks in a row can get you into trouble. Here are a few to-dos to check off your list before you buy your own place:

  • ✅ Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Visit your bank or a licensed mortgage broker to find out exactly what kind of home you can afford based on your financial situation. If you get pre-approved before you hit the open houses, sellers will know that a bank has already committed to lending you money, and you'll have a clear picture of your budget as you start to house hunt.

  • ✅ Do your research. Check online real estate listings, the real estate section of your local newspaper, or your city's real estate magazines to find out how much properties are selling for in your neighborhood of choice. Then try out a few mortgage calculators online to estimate your monthly mortgage payments. This should give you a good sense of what you can afford and where you can realistically buy a home.

  • ✅ Keep your credit in check. Your credit score can have a significant impact on the interest rate you'll be offered on your mortgage, with a higher score often leading to a much better rate. Depending on your insurer opens a pop-up with definition of insurer, your credit score could also affect your home insurance premium. Prior to buying a home, focus on maintaining or improving your credit score by paying off debt and keeping your credit card balance low.

  • ✅ Take advantage of government assistance. With its First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC), This is an external link GST/HST rebate This is an external link, First-Time Home Buyer Incentive This is an external link, and Home Buyers' Plan This is an external link (which allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 from your RRSPs, tax-free), the Canadian government can help put some of your hard-earned cash back in your pocket. Certain provinces and cities also offer land transfer tax rebates. When you're thinking about buying your first home, it's worth researching the financial programs available in your location.

  • ✅ Remember: it's about more than just the down payment. While it can be tempting to buy a house as soon as you've saved up enough for a down payment, keep in mind that there are other expenses associated with purchasing a home and moving in. Plan to have some extra cash for a professional home inspection, property valuation fees, legal fees, land transfer taxes, moving expenses, and any other unexpected costs that might come up while you're sealing the deal. Many mortgage lenders will require you to have closing costs in hand prior to the sale of the home — so be prepared!

2. Look out for things that could affect your insurance. When it comes to purchasing a home and planning your budget for down the road, it helps to know which parts of your humble abode could potentially increase the cost of your home insurance, and which ones could help you save. Learn how things like the home's wiring, plumbing, and heat source can have an impact on your premium before you take the plunge. Then ask your broker if your new home qualifies for any of the top 10 home insurance discounts.

3. Talk to a real person. Even if you love a good DIY challenge, shopping for a house or condo can be overwhelming when you go it alone. A professional real estate agent can take your list of must-haves and deal-breakers and help you find the perfect place to call home — and they'll be there to help you through the deal-making process and paperwork, too.

When you're ready to make your dream home your own, remember to reach out to your licensed insurance broker opens a pop-up with definition of insurance broker. Your broker can help you find the right home insurance policy to suit your needs before you seal the deal.


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