Buying a Home

The Pros of Buying a Home Warranty

For $600 or so a year, plus a service fee of around $75 every time you ask for repair, a home warranty can be an inexpensive way to have peace of mind as a new homeowner.

Home warranties cover breakdowns in a home, from HVAC systems to appliances. A broken water heater can be repaired within hours, but if it can’t be fixed, a home warranty can pay for a new one to be installed.

For homeowners with an older house, they may want more things covered than a newer home would need—such as older appliances—and will likely pay more for it. If you just bought new appliances and have a manufacturer’s warranty for a year or more, you won’t need this coverage. You may be able to exclude new appliances from a home warranty to cut down on costs.

Things that can be covered by a home warranty...

4 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Should Avoid

Buying your first home is full of challenges you’ve probably never faced before, and they go well beyond finding a home you like.

Here are some mistakes to avoid as a first-time homebuyer:

Not considering costs beyond the mortgage. Knowing that you can afford the monthly mortgage payment is important when deciding if you can buy a home, but don’t forget to factor in the other costs that can add to your monthly bills.

These include property insurance, property taxes (which can go up every year), maintenance, and higher electric and water bills. Some homes also have homeowners association (HOA) fees that need to be paid.

Shopping for a loan after you find a home. Searching for a home can be fun, but it isn’t where you want to start as...

Things to Consider When Co-Owning a Property

Co-owning a property—for example, owning in partnership with a friend, family member or other acquaintance—is gaining popularity. Rising purchase prices have encouraged this, but the truth is, co-owning an investment property has many benefits. Not only do you have other people to share responsibilities and upkeep with, but splitting the costs makes investing in real estate a much more attainable goal for some people.

That being said, just like any business relationship, you need to set some boundaries and have a strategy in place first. Here are some things you should consider:

What is your end goal? There is more than one way to make money from an income property, but you both need to be on the same page in terms of strategy. Some people opt to renovate and sell in a relatively short...

Choosing the Best Home for a Property Flip

For many aspiring homeowners, finding an undervalued property, gutting it and turning it into the upscale home of their dreams is, well, a dream. Flipping a property, however, is a large-scale undertaking that’s not for the faint of heart! Here’s how to make sure the property you buy is a good option for a flip.

Opt for a smaller property. Flipping a home is not an easy job, so a small home in a great location is often the best bet. This also makes it more likely that when the home is finished, it won’t surpass the neighbourhood value, which can make it difficult to sell.

Focus on the structure, not the aesthetics. If you’re about to rip a property down to the studs, things like exterior siding or outdated...

Which Mortgage Type Is Right for You?

Most people who want to purchase a house can’t afford to pay cash and therefore need to take out a mortgage. The type of loan you choose will depend on your financial circumstances and plans and can have a significant impact on your monthly costs, so it’s essential to understand all your options.

Government or Conventional?
The federal government administers several programs to help homebuyers in specific circumstances. The Federal Housing Administration offers loans with down payments as low as 3.5 percent for first-time buyers. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs provides loans for current and former servicemembers that require little or no money down. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans for people to purchase homes in...

The Importance of Considering Property Taxes When House Hunting

City, town and county governments assess property taxes to fund public goods, such as schools, road repairs, and police and fire departments. In some areas, homeowners pay taxes to the city or county, as well as separate bills for schools, water and sewer services. If you’re looking for a new house, be sure to take property taxes into consideration so you don’t go over budget. If you failed to pay your property taxes, the local government could take possession of your home to cover the debt.

How Are Property Taxes Calculated?
Property taxes are determined by multiplying a property’s assessed value by the local tax rate. The assessed value is generally less than the purchase price or appraised value. Local tax rates vary...

3 Things You Shouldn’t Do Before House Hunting

There are some obvious things you shouldn’t do as you prepare to buy a home in Canada, like racking up wild credit card debt or quitting your job. However, there are some other things that are surprisingly common and can really impact your ability to get the home you’re looking for. Make sure you don’t fall into any of these traps.

Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to make a budget. Some people think it makes sense to find a home, look at your monthly carrying costs and then make a budget to match. However, having a budget in place beforehand not only gives you a better sense of long-term goals, but helps you get a clearer picture of what kind of home you can afford. If it’s reasonable, you can even budget your carrying costs and put them into savings, like practice...

4 Things to Consider Before Building a Home

You’re probably excited at the prospect of building a brand-new home from scratch. It will be exactly to your design and layout, in the location you desire and every inch of it will be brand new. Sounds like a dream, right? It is, but it doesn’t come without multiple considerations that are best thought through before you start hiring contractors and buying land.

How much will it cost? While it might seem potentially cheaper to build a home from scratch than to buy an older home in need of constant upgrades and repairs, the reality is, there are a ton of hidden costs when building a new home. In Canada, permits, legal fees, inspections, delays and inflation can all raise the price beyond what you might initially budget for. It’s always a good idea to make a budget and add at least an extra 10-15...

Need a Mortgage Loan? Understand What Affects Your Interest Rate

The mortgage process can be complicated if you jump in without any prior knowledge on home-buying and lending. The best tool you can arm yourself with is an understanding of how your mortgage interest rate is calculated.

Credit Can Make or Break You

Your credit score will determine how reliable you are in the lending world. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate will likely be. Check your credit on one of the three major credit reporting agency sites—TransUnion, Experian and Equifax—or your credit card company may have a free credit report service (although these aren’t as reliable). Take steps to improve your FICO score for a better chance at a lower interest rate.

Size and Location Matter

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