The May 24 weekend is the unofficial start of summer in Canada, a time when some of us head to a cottage, while others are in a real-estate of mind.
Are you planning to spend the long weekend cruising your dream neighbourhood, or perusing listings online in search of your future home? If so, we suggest you also put a little effort into tackling some of the less glamorous – but equally important – tasks associated with home buying.
Here are a few tips to help you improve your chances of getting approved for a mortgage, securing the right financing, and landing the home you might just fall in love with this holiday weekend.
Things to remember when buying a home
#1. Fixed vs. variable? Find a mortgage rate that works for you
With interest rates on the rise in Canada, now is the right time to do a personal finance audit to see what you can afford in the long term, and calculate your minimum, median, and maximum monthly payments based on current rates.
Once you’ve figured out what kind of mortgage works best, be sure to shop around at a few different lenders, as rates can vary significantly among them. A difference of even 0.5% can have a huge impact on your monthly payment amounts over the course of paying off a long-term mortgage.
Don’t forget: In addition to the recent interest rate hike to 1% in April, the Bank of Canada is also planning additional increases in June and July, so don’t forget to factor that into your calculations – and home buying timeline.
#2. Check your credit and keep your credit in check
If buying a new home is on the horizon for you, one of the best ways you can set yourself up for financing success is to closely manage and monitor your credit score. The better your credit score, the better your rates will be.
Here are a few tips to maintaining a good credit score in the months leading up to your mortgage application:
- Avoid maxing out credit cards, or running up a line of credit
- Keep your credit utilizations under 30%
- Avoid late payments on credit cards and other bills, like utilities and cable
Not sure where your credit currently stands? Use a free credit check tool like Borrowell to access, and keep an eye on, your credit health without impacting it.
#3. Don’t forget your mortgage pre-approval letter
Put your best foot forward to sellers by securing a pre-approval letter. Listing your loan amount, interest rate and loan program, as well as your estimated down payment amount, a pre-approval letter shows a seller that you’ve done your homework. It also helps to give them the confidence that you have the means and motivation to commit to the purchase of a home and may help you stand out amongst the rest when you put in an offer.
#4. Connect with the right agent (for you)
Feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of buying or selling your home? We get it. Purchasing a home is a monumental and deeply personal process but finding a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent can help.
Find an agent that vibes with your needs, location, preferences and your stage in the buying or selling journey. Whoever you work with, make sure they’re offering you informed advice, ongoing professional support, and ways to ensure that your move is as stress-free as possible.
Market conditions are changing frequently but, with a little planning, and by keeping the above steps top of mind, you can set yourself up for an easier home buying experience.
To help inspire your home search this long weekend, we’re sharing a few of our favorite listings to hit the Toronto market below. Happy house hunting!
Boasting a bright and open 1,065 sqft floor plan and unobstructed views of Lake Ontario, you’ll fall in love with all this unique unit has to offer.
This fully renovated home in Caledon features the finest finishes on our list – inside and out! You can call this glamorous four-bedroom, six-bathroom house ‘home’ for a pretty penny, but the detailed décor might just be worth it.
There’s lots to love in this uber cool, extra wide, bright and updated semi. Marrying the perfect blend of modern finishes and classic charm, plus a two-level outdoor entertainment space that will make your friends green with envy, this one has that Fall in Love factor.
Feel right at home in this meticulously maintained 3-bedroom, 3-bath townhome in the coveted Sandringham-Wellington community in Brampton. The best part? It overlooks a beautiful ravine that’s sure to inspire your love of nature.
This Whitby townhome has a lot to offer, including no monthly maintenance fees. And coming in at over 1,700 sqft, the bright and open concept layout is big on charm, too. Move now and you could be enjoying all summer has to offer in your very own walkout backyard.