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1. You are familiar with the market; you have been paying attention to how much houses are listed for and have a realistic view of how much a house will cost you.

2. You have the money for a down payment and closing costs.

3. You have been to your bank (mortgage broker, etc.) and have been pre-approved. You know how much you can afford and you realize that your income, debt and credit history go into determining how much you can borrow.

4. You know what additional expenses will come with owning a home such as homeowners insurance, utility bills and maintenance costs — roofing, plumbing, heating and cooling.

5. Your credit is in good shape. Potential lenders will view your credit history — how much debt you’ve accrued, how many accounts you have open, whether your payments are made on time, etc. — to determine whether they’ll give you a loan.

6. You haven’t made any recent major purchases, particularly a vehicle. If you have, it may be a little more difficult to obtain a mortgage or it could possibly lower the amount you will be approved for.

If this sounds like you, then perhaps you are ready to make a home purchase!

The options for mortgages available can be very confusing for most mortgage shoppers. Terms for mortgages vary between variable and fixed rate, 6-month terms to 10 year terms. Taking a variable or floating rate mortgage can have savings. Typically the shorter the term or guarantee of the rate, the lower the rate will be. This does not always happen, depending on the market place and the economy, but history has shown that short-term rates tend to be lower than long-term rates. The up side of variable rate is the strong potential for interest rate savings. The down side is the fact that you are accepting the interest rate risk without a guarantee. If you are considering a variable rate mortgage you need to look at your own risk tolerance, and your cash flow available to deal with potential increased payment. Considering projections of rates and where we see interest rates heading can also be important in this decision. Make sure you talk to an expert when you are making this decision.

Biweekly and weekly payments

Most mortgages have the option to allow payments to be made on a weekly or biweekly basis. This option may be desirable for two reasons. The first is it can save you money as you can expect to pay off your mortgage about 4 years sooner. This can save you dramatically over the life of your mortgage. The other reason why these options are so popular is that if your employer pays you on a weekly or biweekly basis, you can simplify your budgeting by making the payment line up with the way you paid.

Making Extra payments

Paying extra amounts on your mortgage can make a big interest saving over time. When we select a mortgage company, privilege payments options are something that we look for. A 20% privilege payment will allow you to pay off up to $20,000 per year on a $100 000 mortgage. It is important that the privilege payment also be flexible to allow you to pay smaller payments on the mortgage and as often as you wish. An extra $1000 periodically paid on a mortgage can help you become mortgage free faster.


• Arrange to have your mail forwarded to your new address.
• Forward or cease all deliveries to your home, and forward or cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
• Disconnect or take care of utility, cable and phone services and accounts.
• Arrange for utilities to be connected at your new house.
• Cancel pre-authorized bill payments.
• Begin going through closets and discarding any unnecessary items.


1- Plan your packing.

Start by purchasing or acquiring suitable containers. Most moving companies have specialized containers you can buy. Also, speak with others who have recently moved—they may be looking to get rid of boxes. You’ll need the following: small boxes for heavy items (books, tools, etc.); large boxes for bulky items (bedding, stuffed toys, etc.); medium boxes for bulky but less heavy items (towels, small appliances, etc.).

2- Begin to collect other packing materials.

Decide which items you’ll need from the following checklist:

– White paper
– Tissue paper
– Paper towels
– Newspapers
– Non-printed paper
– Packing tape or twine to seal boxes and containers
– Scissors
– Labels and stickers (available from your moving company)
– Felt marker to label boxes
– Notebook and pen for listing contents

3- Set goals and deadlines for yourself.

Aim, for example, to pack one room per week.

4- Attach a list of contents to each box.

Separate and label boxes to be placed in storage.

5- Consider holding a garage sale to rid yourself of excess belongings.

6- Begin to use up the food in your pantry and freezer.

Let the food you already have dictate your menus.

7-  Have rugs cleaned that are to be moved, then roll and wrap them.


• If needed, transfer medical and dental records, and fill prescriptions.
• Change the address on your driver’s license.
• Change the billing address for credit cards.
• Change the address for banking statements.
• Leave a record of security codes for new tenants.

Insurance and Legal Matters

• Visit your lawyer and ensure all documents are signed.
• Notify your insurance company well in advance of the move and ask them to review your policy.
• Transfer insurance to your new home, or acquire new insurance.
• Review your moving company’s insurance policy. If it doesn’t cover as much as you’d like it to, obtain your own.
• If you are currently renting a house or apartment, give written notice to the landlord.
• Have all keys to your old home delivered to your lawyer or realtor.

7 Things to Look for in a New Neighborhood

Budgeting for a new home can be tricky. Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected—expenses to add to the equation. The last thing you want is to be caught financially unprepared, blind sided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.

These expenses vary: some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of monthly or yearly installments. Some may not even apply to your particular case. But it’s best to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so you will be prepared for any situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your move. Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget:

1. Purchase offer deposit.

2. Inspection by certified building inspector.

3. Appraisal fee:

Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property. The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility.

4. Survey fee:

If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request an updated property survey. The cost for this survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000.

5. Mortgage application at your lending institution.

6. 5% HST: this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations.

7. Legal fees: A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire.

8. Homeowner’s insurance: Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan.

9. Land transfer (purchase) tax: This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly.

10. Moving expenses.

11. Service charges: Any utilities you arrange for at your new home, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee.

12. Interest adjustments.

13. Renovation of new home: In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon moving in to their new home. If this is your plan, budget accordingly.

14. Maintenance fees: If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.