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Home Buyer's Guide

  • Is homeownership right for you?

    Buying a home is one of the biggest emotional and financial decisions you’ll ever make. Prepare by learning about the process of homebuying and the responsibilities of homeownership. The differences between renting and buying a home are vast, and there’s a long list of pros and cons for both options. And,  remember – there is no one best decision for everyone. Before moving forward, though, here are some questions to consider:

    • Do you have the necessary financial management skills?
    • How financially stable are you?
    • Are you ready to take on the responsibility of all the costs involved in homeownership, including mortgage payments, repairs, and maintenance?
    • Are you able to devote the time required for home maintenance?
  • Are you financially ready?

    How can you know if you are financially ready to become a homeowner?

    This step guides you through some simple calculations to figure out your current financial situation, and the maximum home price that you should consider. How Much are You Spending Now?

    The first thing you need to figure out is how much you are spending now.

    To figure this out you’ll need to calculate:

    • Your monthly household expenses
    • Your monthly debt payment

    Calculate Your Household Expenses

    • What is your present household budget? How much are you now spending each month on household expenses?
    • The Current Household Budget worksheet on the next page helps you take a realistic look at your current monthly expenses. Fill in all the figures that apply to you, and add them up.

    Calculate Your Monthly Debt Payments

    • Do you know how much debt you are carrying? You need this information to figure out whether you are financially ready for homeownership. If you decide to buy a home, mortgage lenders will ask for this information.
  • How Much Can You Afford?

    Before you begin shopping for a home, it’s important to know how much you can afford to spend on homeownership. You will want to plan ahead for the various expenses related to homeownership. In addition to purchasing the home, other significant expenses will include heating, property taxes, home maintenance and renovation as required. Two simple rules can help you figure out how much you can realistically pay for a home. You must understand these rules to understand if you will be able to get a mortgage.

  • Do Your Calculations Show Adjustments Are Needed?

    You may need to step back and make some adjustments. Did your calculations show that you might have trouble meeting monthly debt payment? If that’s the case, you may find it difficult to get approved for a mortgage. Here are some things you can do to improve your situation:

    • Pay off some loans first.
    • Save for a larger down payment.
    • Take another look at your current household budget to see where you can spend less. The money you save can go towards a larger down payment.
    • Lower your home price – remember that your first home is not necessarily your dream home.

  • Which home is right for you?

    Once you have a good idea about your finances, you’ll need to think clearly about the home you’d like to buy.

    Your Needs – Now and in the Future

    Try to buy a home that meets most of your needs for the next 5 to 10 years, or find a home that can grow and change with your needs.

    Here are some things to consider:

    Size

    • How many bedrooms do you need?
    • How many bathrooms do you need?
    • Do you need space for a home office?
    • What kind of parking facilities do you need? For how many cars?

    Special features

    • Do you want air conditioning? If so, what type?
    • Do you want storage or hobby space?
    • Is a fireplace or a swimming pool high on your list?
    • Do you have family members with special needs?
    • Do you want special features to save energy, enhance indoor air quality, and reduce environmental impact?
  • What Location Should You Choose?

    Location is a critical factor. A home with everything you need but in the wrong location is probably not the right home for you. Here are some things to consider:
    • Do you want to live in a city, a town or in the countryside?
    • How easy will it be to get to where you work?
    • How much will the commuting cost?
    • Where will your children go to school? How will they get there?
    • Do you need a safe walking area or recreational facility, such as a park, nearby?
    • How close would you like to be to family and friends?
  • What is a Sustainable Neighbourhood?

    A sustainable neighbourhood meets your needs while protecting the environment. Homes in a sustainable neighbourhood are located near shops, schools, recreation, work and other daily destinations. This helps reduce driving costs and lets residents enjoy the health benefits of walking and cycling. Land and services, like roads, are used efficiently. Sustainable neighbourhoods also feature a choice of homes that are affordable.

    In your search for a sustainable neighbourhood, here are some things to consider:

    Easy transportation

    • Are stores, schools, recreation facilities, restaurants, and health services within walking or cycling distance? Will your children need to take a bus to school? Can they walk to the park? Can you do most of your shopping without a car?
    • Are there nearby bus stops and cycling lanes? How long is the bus ride to work, or school? Can you safely bike?

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