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Home Buying Guide: Getting Started

Make a Wish List
Before you begin shopping for a home, make a detailed "wish list" of what you need and want in a home. Your Realtor will help you prioritize this list and suggest features that you may have overlooked. First, you need to decide upon a location. Think about factors such as school quality, crime rate and proximity to public transportation, shopping areas, work, parks, etc.

Second, you need to choose the type of housing you want (i.e., condominium or house; new or resale) and the amount of space you need.

Determine what you can afford

Before you start looking for a home, you and your Realtor need to determine how much you can afford. The main home buying expenses are the down payment, the mortgage and the completion costs. Current interest rates will effect the amount you can afford. Talk to your Realtor about various homebuyer incentive programs that can assist you with your purchase.

Down Payment
For a conventional mortgage, you will need to pay at least 25% of the purchase price as a down payment. However, if you qualify for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) 5% down payment program you can get a high-ratio mortgage where you receive up to 95% financing.

Although your down payment can't be borrowed, gifts from friends or relatives are fine. You can borrow up to $20,000 from your RRSP if you are eligible.

Mortgage
Most people buying a home need to borrow a portion of the money from a bank or other lending institution. Ask your Realtor to calculate how much you are eligible to borrow based on your income and level of debt.

Completion and Other Costs
There are additional costs involved in buying a home. These include mortgage insurance, taxes, legal fees, house insurance, inspection reports, appraisal and survey fees. If you are a first time homebuyer, you may be exempt from the Property Transfer Tax.

Source: www.realtylink.org