7 Tips For Buying Your First Home

Mortgage Tips Cindi McLean 26 Oct

As a licensed Mortgage Broker, I am often asked “what do I need to know when buying my first home?”
Everyone has their own aims and objects when buying their first home. As a Mortgage Broker, I specialize in making sure your financing is in order to facilitate your dreams of owning a home.

Buying your first home is very exciting, but it can easily be overwhelming. Being prepared is the first step. The decision to purchase your first home can be a huge, life-changing event and you need to know exactly what you are getting into.

To get you prepared with the knowledge you need, here are my 7 tips to consider when you buy your first home:

1. Strengthen your credit rating.

It’s pretty simple: the higher your credit score, the lower your mortgage rate will be.

Spend the time now to improve your credit. Check your credit report. Many credit reports have errors, so you need to ensure that your credit bureau is current and correct.

ALWAYS pay every single one of your bills on time. Set up automatic payments if you have had any late payments over the last couple of years.

Stop applying for any new credit a year before you are considering buying and continue until you sign the closing papers on your home. Spend only 30% of credit limits on credit cards.

2. Find a Mortgage Broker and figure out how much you can afford to spend.

The home buyer’s mantra: Get a home that’s financially comfortable.

Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional. We work with you up to a year in advance to analyze your situation, and tell you how much mortgage and monthly payments you can afford.

Lenders like to see that you spend a maximum:

1.       32-39% of your Gross income on mortgage payments, maintenance fees (if applicable), heat & property taxes

2.       38-44% of your Gross Income on all debts
Including #1 above PLUS loans, credit cards, additional financing etc.

1 year+ prior to going home shopping, calculate the mortgage payment for the home in your intended price range, along with the increased expenses (such as taxes, insurance and utilities). Then bank the difference between the home payments and what you’re paying now. Not only will that simulate ownership, it also helps you save for your down payment!

When you are ready to start shopping for your home, as your Mortgage Broker, I gather all your financial documentation that the lender requires, in order to figure out much you can afford to spend. Then I work with you to get a pre-approval and lock in a low interest rate to protect you in case rates rise between now and the time you by your new home.

3. How long will you live in your new home?

The transaction costs of buying and selling a house are substantial including: real estate fees, legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, selling in a down market, moving, etc.

If you don’t plan to live in your new home for at least 3-5 years, you may not gain enough equity to make selling worthwhile.

Short-term home ownership can be a pretty expensive proposition. If that is the case, holding off on purchasing could be your best option.

4. How much house you need?

Buying a cheaper, smaller home might sound like a good place to start, but could end up costing you more if you need to move due to changes in your lifestyle, including a growing family. Then again, buying more house than you currently need will cost you more with higher mortgage payments, higher maintenance, energy and tax costs.

Prioritize your housing wish list. They say that the 3 most important things to think about when buying are home are location, location, location.  You also need to think about how the new home space will be used and whether it will fit your lifestyle now and in the future.

5. Build a savings account.

Start now to build a healthy savings account. To avoid paying CMHC Mortgage Default Insurance you need to prove you have a 20% down payment.

Building your savings account, over and above the money you will require for the down payment and closing costs. Lenders want to see that you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. If you have three to five months’ worth of mortgage payments in your savings, that makes you a much better loan candidate.

6. Remember closing costs.

While you’re saving your down payment, you need to save for closing costs too. They’re typically 1% to 3% of the purchase price and due on the completion date.

7. Shop for a Realtor that has your best interests in mind.

Interview at least three Realtors. Get referrals from people you trust who have recently bought or sold, including me, your mortgage broker. I work with a lot of realtors, some of whom are outstanding in their field. Once you’ve decided which Realtor is the best fit for you, they can help you focus your search to find your perfect home. There is no cost for the Realtor for the home buyer since the home seller pays the commission.

Besides the 7 tips I’ve listed above, there are many other things you should need to be aware of prior to buying your first home.

Mortgages are complicated… BUT they don’t have to be! Engage an expert!

Article Written by Kelly Hudson

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Kelly is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Richmond, BC.

BRIDGE FINANCING – HOW DOES IT WORK? Bridge Financing? Private Lender? Give me a call to discuss. 705-783-8383

Mortgage Tips Cindi McLean 25 Sep

Rarely in life do things go as planned, especially in real estate.
In a perfect world, when buying a new home, most people want to take possession of their new house before having to move out of the old one. This makes moving a lot easier and allows you time for painting or renovations prior to moving into your new home.

Where it gets complicated; most people need the money from the sale of their existing house to come up with the down payment for the new house!!
This is where bridge financing comes in.

Bridge financing allows you to bridge the financial gap between the firm sale of your current home, and the firm commitment to purchase your new home.

Bridge financing allows you to access some of the equity in your existing property, which you can use towards the down payment on the new property you are buying.
Where many people get confused is that in order to secure bridge financing, you must have a firm sale on your existing house. That means all subjects have been removed!!
If you haven’t sold your home, you won’t get the bridge financing, because there is no concrete way for a lender to calculate how much equity you have available and if you can afford your new home.

For most people, unless you can qualify and pay for two mortgages, you should always sell your existing home before purchasing a new one. Why?
• With today’s property values constantly changing, you won’t know how much money you have until you sell your home. Your home is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it NOW! Past sales and future guesses don’t count!
• You need the proceeds from your existing home to help pay for your new home’s down payment, renovations, moving costs and (if required) how much mortgage you qualify for.

If you have sold your existing home but your closing date is after the closing date of the new property you just purchased, then bridge financing is your best option:
• Your new lender must allow for bridge financing (not all banks allow bridge financing as an option). Your mortgage broker can work with you to find a lender who offers bridge financing.
• Bridge financing costs more than your traditional mortgage (i.e. Prime + 2-4% plus an administration fee).
• Typically bridge loans are restricted to 90 days.
What happens if I don’t sell my home?
Banks will not provide you with a bridge loan if you don’t have a firm sale agreement for your home since the loan can’t be open-ended. If you don’t have a firm selling date you may need to consider a private lender for the bridge loan.

Private Financing

If you have purchased your home and it is closing and your existing home has not sold, then you may have to take out a private loan:
• This option is expensive and is based on you having enough equity in your current property to qualify.
• Typically, private financing comes with a high interest rate 7-15% plus an upfront lender fee + broker fee. These amounts will vary based on your specific situation, such as time required for loan, loan amount, loan to value, credit bureau, property location, etc.
• Private financing is expensive, but it could be cheaper than lowering the purchase price of your existing home by tens of thousands of dollars to sell your existing home quickly.

Your bank doesn’t do this type of financing. You must use a specialized mortgage broker who has access to individuals that lend money out privately.
Bridge financing & private financing are solutions when your buy and sell days don’t work.

Don’t waste your time trying to sort all this out on your own. Give a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist a call and let’s figure out what your best option would be.

KELLY HUDSON
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Kelly is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Richmond, BC.