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5 things to do before buying your first home

U.S.-home-house-property

Buying your first home can one of the most nerve-wracking purchases of your life. You’re committing all (or most) of your earthly worth to a deal that seems straightforward but actually has a lot of crucial (and sometimes hard to understand) details.

Here are some tips from Meridian Credit Union that can help you be more prepared for the big buy.

1) Save up for a down payment: It will help to cut down mortgage payments going forward. You should save up at least 5% of the price of the home for a down payment, but 20% is better, as you won’t have to buy mortgage default insurance.


2) Calculate your initial costs:  Besides your down payment, you have to factor in closing costs, moving costs, lawyer fees and taxes. The rule of thumb is to add 1.5% to 2% of the total purchase price to cover closing costs.

3) Consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage: Getting pre-approved will give you a sense of how much you can spend on a home. When getting pre-approved, make sure that you are accounting for all your monthly expenses, such as childcare, commuting costs and contributing to a savings account. It’s good to have some financial wiggle room for unexpected life events.


4) Know your options:  The Canadian government considers anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the last seven years a first-time buyer. If that’s you, you can use the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit. It’s worth up to $750, which you can later put towards a mortgage payment. It also allows first-time home buyers to borrow up to $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans tax-free to fund their purchases.

5) Shop around: Different financial institutions offer different solutions so find the mortgage that is right for you. Make sure that your mortgage is flexible and you understand what you are getting. If someone is offering you a very low mortgage rate it may be because the service charges on it are enormous, or that the mortgage is completely closed and you will be locked in until it matures.

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