BUYING A HOME

Seven steps to buying a home

Do you want to leave apartment life behind and buy a home? 

Buying a home is one of the most important transactions you will ever make. Being prepared will make the process easier and help you make educated choices.

Down payment

Minimum down payment
When buying a home, a minimum 5% down payment is required for a single-family home. A down payment is an amount of money not financed by your mortgage that you must pay to purchase your home. The minimum down payment varies based on the purchase price. If the purchase price of the desired property is $500,000 or less, the required minimum down payment is 5% of the purchase price. If the purchase price of the desired property is between $500,000 and $999,999, the required minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000 and 10% for the amount over $500,000. If the purchase price of the desired property is $1,000,000 or more, the required minimum down payment is 20% of the purchase price.

Mortgage insurance
If you make a down payment of less than 20%, your loan must be covered by a mortgage insurer like CMHC or Genworth. This insurance will cover the lender’s risk with respect to repayment of the loan. The insurance premium will be financed by your loan and is calculated based on the percentage of your down payment.

Important decisions

Once you choose your mortgage lender, you will be required to make important decisions about amortization, term and type of interest rate.

Amortization - The maximum period for paying back your mortgage is 25 years, but it can be reduced during the loan based specifically on the type of interest rate or method of payment chosen.

Terms - It can vary between one and five years. Closed terms offer better interest rates. Open terms are usually used for the short term. The difference between the two is as follows: an open-term loan can be repaid at any time penalty-free. However, the interest rate for an open term is higher than for a closed term.

Fixed or adjustable rate mortgage? - A fixed rate guarantees that you pay the same rate and make the same payment for the duration of the term. An adjustable rate is based on the Bank of Canada’s prime rate less a discount established with your lender at the start of the term.

Home insurance 

Home insurance protects you against damages to your home and provides legal liability coverage that protects you against accidental physical injury to or damages to property belonging to another person. In general, if you take out a mortgage to buy your home, your lender will require you to take out home insurance. 

There are different coverage options available to you, including named-peril and all-peril coverage (covers most incidents that can damage your property).

In the event of disability or death

Most lenders recommend that you take out mortgage loan insurance (term life insurance) that will enable you to meet some or all of your financial obligations in the event of early death. 

This type of insurance the option of financial protection in the event of disability or critical illness, and covers you for the duration of the loan. Thus, you property will never become a financial burden on your family.