Where to start when buying your first home by Kelly Hicks
May 04, 2021
You’re thinking about buying your first home (exciting!), but where do you start? Finding a realtor? Looking at houses? Saving money? All of the above?
Financing is a big part of buying a house, so, I suggest you start by talking to a lender (like me). You want to be sure you can afford the houses you are looking at, save for expenses that aren’t included in your mortgage, and have funds to spare. Your lender will be able to help you with all of that.
First, if you’re buying your first home, you likely will need to save some money as there are some upfront costs to cover.
- Down payment – this can be a minimum of 5% of the purchase price and can come from savings, gifts, or in some cases, your RSP.
- Closing costs – these are collected by your lawyer and include fees like title insurance, land transfer tax, and of course, lawyer fees. We recommend budgeting approximately 2-3% of the house total for closing costs. Learn more about closing costs (and detailed dollar amounts) here.
Once you have some savings in place, you’ll want to get pre-approved. It’s not mandatory, but it is helpful to know what you can afford before you start shopping. That way, you’re not going to look at homes that are out of your price range.
To get a mortgage pre-approval, you’ll need to provide some information to your lender, including income info, a list of assets (like savings or vehicles you own), a list of liabilities (any debts), and confirmation of your down payment.
Finally, it’s time to start shopping with a realtor (if you don’t have one, we can recommend a few that our members often work with.) Once you find the right house, make an offer, and it’s accepted, your lender will finalize your mortgage and work with the realtor and lawyer to transfer the house to you.
Buying your first home can seem daunting, but with the help of a great lender, you’ll have access to all the answers to your questions (and more!) and be in your first home in no time.
I have been in the banking industry for 12 years and enjoy making people’s financial dreams come true! In my spare time, I enjoy going on adventures with my husband and our dog Frankie at Birds Hill Park, going to the lake with family, or hopping on a plane to travel for a getaway. One of my favourite destinations is Las Vegas — we have been there eight times and don’t even gamble! We love it so much that on our seventh visit we got married surrounded by family and friends. I have been in the Oakbank area for almost six years. I love our community and am looking forward to volunteering and meeting more people who make this place so great when it’s safe to do so.