Buying a home is one of the largest investments you will ever make! In order to make your home hunting experience the best it can be, there are a few key mistakes to avoid and be aware of before you start your journey:
Not Getting Pre-Approved: One of the most important aspects of buying a home is the mortgage application and approval process. No matter what type of home you are looking for, you will need a mortgage. One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to the home-buying process is NOT getting pre-approved prior to starting your search. Getting pre-approved determines the actual home price you can afford as it requires submission and verification of your financial history to ensure the most accurate budget to fit your needs.
Not Setting or Following a Pre-Determined Budget: Another mistake that people make when home-hunting is not setting, or following, a pre-determined budget. It can be tempting to start looking at the top of your budget, or even slightly over, but when you consider closing costs and the long-term financial responsibility of home ownership, it is best to avoid maxing yourself out. Getting pre-approved will help determine what you can afford, as well as making an appointment with your mortgage broker to determine your financial situation and the best options for you now, and in the future.
Not Hiring a Real Estate Agent: Your mortgage broker and your real estate agent are two of the most important members of your homebuying A-Team! In today’s competitive real estate market, it can be very difficult to acquire property without the help of a realtor. One reason is that realtors can provide access to properties that never even make it to the MLS website! They can also gain access to information about homes that may come onto the market, before a listing is even signed. Most importantly though, a realtor understands the ins-and-outs of the home buying process and can tell you how to be successful in your endeavors to purchase a home by guiding you through the process from the first viewing to having your bid accepted.
Focusing Too Much on Aesthetics: While we understand that bad interior design can really affect the perception of the home, you don’t want to be blindsided by it. At the end of the day, aesthetics can always be updated! Giving up the perfect price or location or size for a few aesthetic details (such as paint color, flooring, or even outdated appliances or light fixtures) is one of the biggest mistakes people make! Most homes have incredible bones that only need some minor tweaks to become your perfect space.
Not Thinking Ahead: What you want and need in a house today, could be very different from what you want and need in a house in the future. It is important to be able to look ahead – are you planning on having children? Are your parents getting older and in need of a retirement space? These are things that are good to take into consideration when buying a new home. Buying a home isn’t a permanent decision as you can always sell your home later on if it doesn’t work for you in the future, but it is almost always easier to plan ahead so you can grow with—and not out of—your home whenever possible.
If you are looking to purchase a new home, whether your first space or a step-up from your current living situation, I would be happy to help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to set up a virtual appointment and discuss your mortgage options, pre-approvals and everything you need to know BEFORE you get started.
When it comes to the Canadian housing market, there are lots of options for where to live! From renting an apartment to owning a single-family home, it all comes down to where you see yourself living and what you can afford! The beauty is, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to renting versus buying but let’s break down the pros and cons of both and hopefully help you to decide which is best for you!
Why do people rent?
One of the most common answers to this question is affordability. Most people rent because they believe it is cheaper than owning a home. This can be true in some cases, but there are also times when monthly rent costs are higher than monthly mortgage payments. Of course, there are also cases where rent is far more affordable than buying, especially when you factor in the cost of a down payment and maintenance on a home you own, rather than one you rent. Affordability is fairly dependent on an individual’s situation, but it is not the only decision factor for choosing to rent.
Another reason individuals may choose to rent is that they simply aren’t sure where they want to live, or maybe they cannot find a place that fits their needs. If you are new to an area, you may want to rent in the meantime so you can get to know the neighbourhoods and determine which area is the right fit for you. In some cases, you simply may be unable to find a home that is affordable to buy in the area you want or within a reasonable commute from your work.
For individuals who travel a lot for work or like to be free-floating, renting can be the perfect option but if you simply believe buying a home to be out of the question, it is time to take a hard look at your options because it may not be so far fetched!
Pros and cons of renting:
To help you decide if renting is right for you, we have put together a little list of pros versus cons to help you see if it is the right fit.
Pros of Renting
Cons of Renting
Lower upfront costs
Short-term commitment for people unsure of where they want to plant roots
Protection from potential decrease in property values
Monthly payments may increase
Potential for being evicted / lease renewal not being approved
Paying to someone else’s mortgage instead of building your own equity
Requiring permission to paint or remodel
Why do people buy?
According to the most recent data, Canada boasts an overall homeownership rate of 67.8%. Even for those Canadians aged 35 and under, more than 40% of households own their own homes. This is quite an impressive statistic! So, let’s look at why people choose to buy.
One of the main reasons that people choose to buy a home is to have the stability and peace of mind of owning the place you live. This means you are not at risk of being put in a situation where the landlord wants to move their parents into the basement suite and you have to leave or having to deal with increased costs if you go to renew a lease agreement.
For others, the benefit to buying comes in building up equity and ensuring that nest egg for your future. When you choose to rent, you are paying into someone else’s mortgage and into their future but when you work towards buying your own home, suddenly all that money you invested is going to your future instead. This is an extremely important aspect to consider in today’s age when many are having trouble with the idea of saving for retirement.
Now I get it, you may be thinking “if I can’t afford to retire, how can I afford to buy a house” but if you can afford to pay the high cost of rent in today’s market, then home ownership isn’t as far out of reach as you think. This is especially true if you buy a two-story home and rent out the basement, giving you ample living space upstairs but also additional income to pay your mortgage.
Pros and cons of buying:
To further show the benefits and costs to buying, we have broken down some pros and cons to help you to determine if this is the right path for you.
Pros of Buying
Cons of Buying
Freedom to renovate or modify your home as you wish
You are building up equity in a safe, secure investment as you pay down your mortgage
Potential for additional income if you have a rental suite
Stability and peace of mind from being in control of your investment and owning the place where you live
The risk of losing your home value when you sell
Responsibility for all ongoing costs, including mortgage principal and interest, property taxes, insurance and maintenance
Monthly payments can increase if interest rates go up at renewal time
Possibility of unexpected and potentially costly repairs
To rent or buy, that is the question!
Did you know? 4 in 10 households spend more than 30 per cent of their pre-tax income on rent, which is above the commonly accepted affordability threshold.
The latest National Bank report revealed that monthly mortgage costs for median-priced condos was higher than the average monthly rent for a similar unit in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Victoria and Hamilton. At the same time, monthly mortgage payments were lower than rents in Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg and Ottawa. While this data does not include suburbs, it shows a staggering difference between mortgage payments and rent payments.
If someone can rent for $900 a month or pay a mortgage of $1200 a month, it may seem like a no brainer but it is important to remember that paying rent does not build equity! However, if you are unsure of where you want to live or cannot find a suitable and affordable home with a close enough commute to work, renting may be your only option. This is where checking listings and discussing with a real estate agent may open doors and where a mortgage broker can come in handy to help you determine if purchasing a home is viable in your near future.
Yes, you can buy!
The reality is that in the long run, homeowners often fare financially better than renters because homeownership enables forced savings that accumulate over the years, growing into a sizeable nest egg.
If you are unhappy renting or really prefer the idea of owning your own home, you CAN. It is time to stop assuming you cannot make the leap from renting to buying – all you need is the right information and the right preparation!
To determine if you are able to purchase a home, a good place to start is the My Mortgage Toolbox app from Dominion Lending Centers. This app is perfect for seeing what you can afford. Using the app to calculate minimum down payments and monthly mortgage costs can help you to get a good picture of the financial landscape and your options. Looking at your budget and evaluating your current rent costs and other monthly expenses can also help you to determine your affordability bracket.
Some other things to consider before buying include:
Your credit score – do you have good financial standing to be approved for a mortgage?
Your savings – do you have any money put away for a downpayment? If not, do you have wiggle room in your budget to start saving?
Your time – do you have the resources to maintain a home from the yard to any necessary repairs?
If buying a home to live in is out of the question due to the availability in your area or cost of homes close to work, another option is to consider an investment opportunity. Maybe you cannot afford to buy in the area you want so you rent in order to keep your commute short and be in a neighbourhood you love. However, you can still reap the equity benefits by investing in a vacation or rental property which would give you the necessary nest egg and help you feel more secure about your future financial situation. You could keep the investment property as long as you want! If you end up finding the perfect home in your area down the line, you could always sell your investment property and take the earnings for a down payment on the right home – or keep it as an extra security blanket!
Regardless of whether you choose to continue renting or make the leap to owning your own home, the most important factor is your financial security. What works for your friend or your parents may not work for you – and that is okay! However, educating yourself and looking into all the options will ensure that, at the end of the day, you are in the best situation for yourself.
When it comes to finding your perfect home, there are so many more options for potential homeowners! From a single-family dwelling to a townhouse to a modular home, the choices are seemingly endless. But, before you start widening your search, let’s take a look at what makes these home types different – and which one is perfect for you!
Not surprisingly, almost half (53.6%) of Canadian households occupy the classic single-family detached house. In a distant second are condominiums with over a quarter of homeowners (27.9%) opting for this type of home (especially in metropolitan areas such as Toronto and Vancouver). Next come duplexes at 5.6%. The remaining homeowner choices are other housing options, such as semi-detached houses, mobile or modular homes and other single-attached dwellings such as urban infill homes, which come in at 12.9%.
So, which of these options is right for you!? Let’s take a look starting with the most popular option.
This is a single-family, stand-alone house that sits on its own lot and is the most common type of home you will find. As these are detached dwellings, they provide more privacy with less noise from neighbors. They also tend to be larger dwellings (complete with a yard!) which gives you the space and freedom to really make it your own. Due to the popularity of these homes, there is often high demand in them which can drive up selling prices. In some cases, this can lead to bidding wars and houses that sell for well over the asking price.
These homes are suitable for a single family and are typically attached to another house on one side. When compared to single-family detached homes, their semi-detached cousins are often more affordable to both buy and maintain. With this affordability does come somewhat less privacy and protection from noise due to the shared walls on one side. However, these homes typically have separate entrances and retain most of the privacy of a fully detached home.
These are considered structures with two single-family units on separate levels. These are great options for individuals looking to reduce home purchase and carrying costs – live in one unit, rent the second! This type of home also provides unique flexibility for older families, giving you the option to move adult children or aging parents into the second unit as needed.
As expected, these units offer less privacy than a single-family detached home and can sometimes have increased noise through the floor or ceiling.
Townhouse or row house
Another popular home option are townhouses or ‘row houses’ as these are a row of single-family homes, which are connected on both sides to the next home (excluding the end unit, which is only connected on one side). Townhouses typically have private yards but, in some cases, it may be freehold or condo-style with shared ownership rights and responsibilities.
Due to the nature of these homes, they are typically more affordable than detached or semi-detached homes and also easier to maintain. Similarly, to duplexes however, these home types have less privacy and may have noise from shared walls. There are also monthly maintenance or strata fees to consider for the unit.
These are low- or high-rise buildings containing multiple apartment units. These units are individually owned, with shared ownership rights and responsibilities over the building and the common area. Condos are excellent starter homes for single adults, or couples, as they are affordable and require minimal maintenance. Some buildings even have shared amenities, such as a fitness center or swimming pool or party room.
Always check for these amenities and if you would be interested in using them. If not, why pay for them? In this case, you might be better off finding a condo with less amenities and lower strata fees. Additional considerations for condos are that these are typically much smaller than detached or semi-detached homes and there is generally more noise (depending on your buildings structure and soundproofing) and less privacy due to common areas.
Modular or mobile home
Growing in popularity are modular homes, which are prefabricated homes delivered to a home-site for installation. These homes are owned by the individual, while the land it sits on could be rented or owned outright. Similar to modular homes, are mobile homes such as campers and RVs.
These types of homes are highly affordable and extremely flexible; if you relocate, you can sell the mobile home with the property or keep the home and relocate it! As these are less common and somewhat newer home types, there is less resale demand than other housing types and they are much smaller than a detached or even a condominium. If renting land in a mobile home community, there are also those costs to consider.
Carriage house or urban infill
A carriage house is located on the periphery of a single-family detached house. Similarly, are urban infill homes which are a modern solution to crowded cities whereby existing space in established residential or commercial areas has been repurposed to maximize density and reduce urban sprawl.
These homes are unique in that they are often located in interesting, urban environments and have their own character when compared to other homes. They are also generally less expensive than a single-family detached home and some of the other types on our list. That said, there is potential for noise pollution if you are in a busy location. Due to the size, there is also limited inventory and limited or non-existent yard space. But if you’re looking for something affordable and unique, these are perfect for you!
Finding the right home to suit your needs means considering your lifestyle and budget now, as well as where you’ll be a few years down the road. Want more information or need help deciding the best option for you? Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional to learn more about your options when it comes to buying and owning a home.
Have you ever checked out an open house in the neighborhood, which you had no intention of buying? Or checking out listings online for your dream home? Of course you have! We’ve all looked at houses for fun, even just to examine the possibilities! In reality though, it can actually be quite stressful when you start legitimately house hunting for a place for yourself.
To help minimize the stress, it is important to get past the excitement and narrow down what it is you really need in a home. One way to do this is to consider the long-term; what will you need in a house five or ten years down the road?
Some things to consider when you’re finally ready to pursue a new home, should include:
What type of home you are looking for (single-family dwelling, condo, townhouse). This can be determined by your budget, as well as your needs.
The size of property. Be honest about how much maintenance you’re willing to do.
The location and neighbourhood. Is your commute reasonable? Is the neighbourhood safe? Is it the right level of bustling or peaceful that you’re looking for?
Any special features you might need, such as accessibility upgrades.
Another point of consideration if you are looking for a condo or apartment, is the view. It is important to remember that it is not protected; there is nothing to stop another building from going up and obstructing this. It is not a bad idea to ask your realtor if they know about any current or future developments in the area, or even check out future plans at your local city hall. You’ll also want to make sure you examine all the financial and technical minutes for the condominium corporation to avoid and issues or special assessments in the future.
In a hot housing market, there is a temptation to act quickly and make an offer after one visit. But if you can, take a second look a few days later before making any offer. You would be surprised how much detail you miss in the first showing! You may be living in this home for decades, so an extra 30 minutes to take a second look won’t hurt.
If you do find a home that you really love, we have put together a house hunting checklist to help you evaluate the home! This list includes a few of the major items that you should consider when looking for your dream home and is designed to help you determine what areas may require attention, and whether or not it really fits your needs! Want another copy? Ask your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional to send you a print ready version for your next showing or open house!
My Home Buyers Guide contains everything you need to know about the mortgage process!
It not only explains the mortgage process; but, it also offers planning tips, what to expect and what you will need to have ready, explains the different types of mortgages, lists common costs involved and contains a glossary of common terms!
Simply scan the QR code above to download the guide; or click here!