Buying a Home

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...

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...

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...

How to Choose the Right Mortgage Lender

Taking out a mortgage to buy a house is a huge step. The amount and terms of the loan will have a major impact on your financial picture for decades. That’s why you should choose a lender carefully.

What to Do Before You Apply

In order to qualify for an attractive interest rate, you need to prove to lenders that you are a good risk. That means you need to get your financial house in order before you start applying for a mortgage. The first step is to get copies of your credit reports and have any errors corrected. If you have a lot of credit card debt, work to pay down the balances and lower your debt-to-income ratio.

Take a hard look at your budget and figure out how much you can afford in monthly mortgage payments. A lender may approve you for a bigger loan than you can realistically handle....

The Ultimate Deal-Breaker Checklist for Homebuyers

How many times have you heard the story about people who move into their dream home only to find out that there’s a huge plumbing issue or noisy neighbors next door? Learn from their mistakes, and reconsider certain factors before signing on the dotted line. Here’s a comprehensive checklist for homebuyers when it comes to deal breakers:

  1. Plumbing: If the plumbing isn’t working, guess who has to spend money fixing it? You got it: the person who signs on the dotted line. Plumbing issues can be even harder to address in older homes that have an outdated set-up. Be sure your inspector conducts a thorough evaluation before closing.
  2. Electrical System: Whatever’s not there has to be added, and whatever is not working has to be fixed. And...

Is It Better to Move on a Weekend or a Weekday?

Moving is a massive undertaking that many people dread. The day of the week you choose can have a significant effect on your overall experience. If you have some flexibility, consider the pros and cons of moving on a weekend vs. a weekday.

Convenience
Many families choose to spend the weekend moving because it’s often impossible for parents to take time off during the week without losing money or falling behind on important projects. Since most people move on a weekend, moving companies tend to fill up their schedules quickly and charge higher rates. If you need to move on a weekend, call around to compare prices and book a moving van as far in advance as possible. If you move during the week and save money on the cost of the moving van and workers, you can use the money you save to pay them to...

Your New Homeowner To-Do List

You’ve handed over a sizable chunk of cash in return for those shiny new keys—and in the first flush of happiness over owning your own home, you want to be ready to show it off. But money may be tight, and you are facing bills—like water and trash pick-up—that you’ve never had to pay before. The financial advice team at Investopedia.com suggests five steps new homeowners should take:

Watch your wallet. Don’t overspend on furnishings or remodeling during your first few months as a homeowner. Give yourself time to adjust to a new budget and to rebuild your savings. Friends and family will understand if you take your time to fix-up and decorate—and the stores will still be filled with new furniture when you are ready to spend.

Don’t ignore maintenance...

The Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

Financially, there’s more to buying a home than the purchase price—sometimes much more.

After the down payment, and once your closing costs and monthly mortgage payments are added up, it can be easy to forget some of the costly and hidden costs of owning a home. Take these added charges into consideration:

Property Taxes
Property taxes are set and collected by the state, county and local agencies. Sometimes multiple agencies collect funds through a property tax for services such as water, sewer, schools and fire and police departments.

The taxes can go up annually in some areas, depending on a city’s services, so the following year’s cost may be difficult to predict. You’ll still want to find out what the current property taxes are on a...

To Rent or to Buy? That Is the Question

Many renters, especially young couples planning to settle down and start a family, debate whether to keep renting an apartment or buy a home. Depending on your financial situation and long-term goals, though, one option may be better than the other. To determine if it’s the right time for you to start searching for a house, consider the following:

Money
Some renters think they’re throwing away money on rent. It’s true that you might be able to find a monthly mortgage payment that is similar to, or even lower than, your current rent; however, be careful not to overlook the additional costs of homeownership.

As a homebuyer, you’ll need to save up thousands of dollars for a down payment and closing costs. After the purchase, you’ll also need to budget for the mortgage, insurance, property taxes...