Purchasing your first home marks a major life milestone and long-term investment. However, saving enough cash to buy outright proves difficult for most first-time homebuyers. This makes financing through a mortgage essential. While navigating homebuyer loans seems complicated, this guide outlines key steps to simplify securing the best rate and terms for your unique situation.
Check Your Credit Score and Reports
Well before starting your home search, order copies of your credit reports from Equifax and TransUnion. Check your credit scores as these impact the mortgage rates and terms lenders offer.
Taking time to improve your credit score now means better mortgage rates saving thousands over time. Monitor your reports until you apply for homebuyer loans.
Calculate Your Housing Budget
Crunch the numbers to set your home budget. Factor in not just the purchase price, but additional costs like:
- Legal fees
- Home inspection
- Appraisal fee
- Land transfer taxes
- Title insurance
- Initial utilities, repairs
- Ongoing property taxes
- Homeowner’s insurance
Tally all costs to determine the mortgage amount and payment you can truly afford. This housing affordability calculator simplifies estimating your all-in budget.
Save for a Down Payment
While low down payment homebuyer loans exist, putting at least 20% down has advantages like avoiding CMHC insurance and getting better mortgage rates.
Saving an adequate down payment takes planning through RRSP withdrawals, budgeting, and diligent monthly transfers into your home nest egg. Determine your target and start saving aggressively.
Compare Mortgage Rates for First-Time Homebuyer Loans
Homebuyer loans and rates vary significantly between Canada’s big banks, online lenders, mortgage finance companies, and private mortgage investment entities. As a first-time homebuyer, it’s essential to compare both fixed and variable rate options.
Pre-approval from multiple mortgage lenders ensures you secure the most competitive financing rate for your particular financial profile. When navigating homebuyer loans, never settle for the first rate quoted.
Know Mortgage Term Options
Standard mortgage terms in Canada are 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, 5 years, 7 years and 10 years. Longer terms come with slightly higher rates but avoid renewals. Consider both rate and term length carefully.
Understand Mortgage Fees
Beyond interest, first-time homebuyers face mortgage fees like:
- Application/processing fees
- Appraisal fees
- Loan insurance premiums
- Legal fees
- Discharge fees when paying off your mortgage
Ensure all costs get factored into your mortgage budget for homebuyer loans so no surprises arise. Read fee disclosures closely.
Get Pre-Approved for a Homebuyer Loan
Having a pre-approved homebuyer loan in hand before shopping simplifies negotiations with sellers. Pre-approval involves fully qualifying for a mortgage based on credit, income, down payment funds etc.
It also locks in an interest rate giving certainty your desired home fits affordably within your pre-approval amount and payments.
Pick the Right Property Type
Look beyond just single family detached homes. Other property types like condos, townhomes, or duplexes may meet your needs while requiring smaller down payments and homebuyer loans that fit your budget better.
Make Sure Your Job is Stable
Lenders want assurances you’ll repay your mortgage for years to come. Having stable employment in your current role for at least 2 years reduces concerns. Avoid changing jobs or careers during the application process.
Get Insured if Needed
Mortgages with less than 20% down require purchasing CMHC insurance protecting the lender against default. Build this non-refundable premium into your upfront costs. CMHC also pre approve purchasers.
Get Approved for a Homebuyer Loan with Get Approved Canada
Armed with this knowledge, securing your first mortgage doesn’t need to be overwhelming. There are home financing solutions for every Canadian. Let us match you to the ideal first-time homebuyer loan for your situation.