Homebuyer Guide by CMHC


Market Smarts: Homebuyer Guide.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is one of Canada’s three mortgage insurers. Beyond insuring mortgage, CMHC also offers consumer guidance in the form of a unique step-by-step guide for home buying Canada, which the organization has dubbed the “roadmap” to home ownership.

The 27-page guide, Homebuying Step By Step is available on CMHC’s website. This guide is a manual for homeownership, breaking down the phases potential buyers will need to consider when looking to get into the housing market.

What Homebuyers Should Know

This guide focuses on preparation being the key to homeownership success, and touches on many things for homeowners to keep in mind. A few good guidelines when considering purchasing a home, including debt management, necessary documents, pre-approval, and more!

Debt-to-Income Ratio

According to the CMHC, a homebuyer’s monthly housing costs should never exceed 32 percent of their average gross monthly income. This includes monthly mortgage payments, property taxes, condo fees and heating expenses. It is also recommended that a family’s debt load, such as car loans and credit card payments, should never exceed 40 percent of the average monthly income. While this recommendation may be somewhat conservative, remaining within these guidelines will ensure that you will be able to afford your debts, while maintaining future financial stability.

Necessary Documents

This guide also includes a segment regarding the documents a home buyer will need for a mortgage. When you meet with your lender or mortgage broker it is recommended that you have these documents handy, which include things like personal identification, proof of a down payment, proof of income, proof of savings and investments and details of current debt.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

CMHC also recommends that people get pre-approved for a mortgage before they start looking for a home. Getting pre-approved can prevent future roadblocks when you find your dream home, and ensures that subject-to-financing clauses won’t be an issue. It also guarantees the rate for up to 120 days, so that you can access the best mortgage once you’ve found the right home.

Sources for a Mortgage

This guide also discusses the various sources for mortgages, which include: banks, trust companies, credit unions and pension funds. As always, it is recommended that you shop around before you make a decision. Hiring a mortgage broker is another great resource, as they are able to access rates for more than one lender. The guide advises asking real estate agents, friends or family members for recommendations on a lender or broker.

Along with the above, this guide also details information about your credit score, mortgage loan insurance, home considerations, the mortgage process and home management. There are also very detailed financial calculations, which factor in costs that many new homebuyers might not even think about, such as groceries, dining out and hobbies. In addition, you will find information about:

  • Principles that help buyers determine how much they can safely afford to spend on housing.
  • A list of the upfront and ongoing costs of homeownership.
  • Information on how to prepare for a meeting with a lender or broker.
  • Definitions of key terms to know when buying a home.
  • Explanation of mortgage basics and tips for how to manage your mortgage.
  • Tips on how to maintain your home and protect your investment.

The underlying theme of the guide is to prevent Canadians from getting in over their heads in debt when buying a home. This guide also shows just how far mortgage brokers have come in Canada, with them mentioned alongside banks throughout.

If you are looking to purchase your first home, contact a  mortgage broker today for expert advice! It is our job to help find the best mortgage product for YOU.

This post was originally posted on the Dominion Lending Centre blog here.

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