Buying a house is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. It's never too early to start your search for buying a home in Alberta! Consider these steps before buying!
It's vital to think carefully before getting into the procedure and committing to the home buying adventure. This might include:
Before you can even think about purchasing a house, it's best to make sure you're in a stable financial position. Through CMHC mortgage insurance, Alberta homebuyers can have a minimum 5% down payment for houses under $500,000. However, CMHC requires a 10% down payment on any value between $500,000 and $1,000,000. CMHC is not applicable for houses over $1,000,000, so you need a 20% down payment. You can also use a down payment calculator to determine how much savings you need.
Homebuyers with a high-ratio mortgage (less than 20% down payment) must obtain CMHC mortgage insurance. This is a federally mandated default insurance that will protect your lender if you stop paying your mortgage. Your CMHC fees decrease as your down payment percentage increases. The fees are added to your total mortgage balance. You can also use a CMHC mortgage insurance calculator to determine your costs.
Although a conventional mortgage costs more upfront, it will save you thousands of dollars in interest payments and CMHC fees. If you are having a hard time finding money for a conventional mortgage, you may benefit from one of the down payment assistance programs mentioned below.
If you have a hard time saving for your down payment, you can receive down payment assistance. However, most of these programs are designed for first-time buyers. These are federal, provincial, and municipal programs designed to help you:
Alberta mortgage lenders want to ensure your ability to make mortgage payments. There are two initial variables they review. To appear as a reputable borrower, you must:
Building your credit score is a long process. You must demonstrate consistently healthy financial habits over an extended period. Additionally, a quick mistake can send your score tumbling. To improve your credit score, make sure to:
In addition to your down payment amount and credit score, there are a few variables that determine your maximum mortgage amount:
In addition to your down payment size and credit score, these three factors are the most important considerations for mortgage lenders. You will be subjected to a mortgage stress test to determine if you can handle a rise in interest rates. A stress test will evaluate your financial stability with a mortgage interest rate of the higher of 5.25% or your current rate plus 2%. If your debt service ratios are still below the threshold after a stress test, you have passed.
The quickest way to find out your maximum mortgage is to use a mortgage affordability calculator. In addition, while it's essential to understand how much you can afford, you must also determine if you feel comfortable with the payments.
After spending the last three steps building your homebuying foundation, you can now begin to narrow down on locations where you want to buy. For example, is it vital for you to live near the Edmonton River Valley, or do you want to be closer to work in Calgary? Some buyers may even read housing market reports such as our Calgary housing market report and the Edmonton housing market report.
Some important neighbourhood considerations should include:
After determining the features you want in a neighbourhood, you can compare locations. If you discover the communities aren't meeting your criteria, you may want to broaden your range of locations.
A good rule of thumb when buying a house in Alberta is to budget 3-4% of the purchase price for closing costs. Closing costs are additional out-of-pocket expenses you must pay when finalizing a real estate transaction. They are one-time fees that can't be added to your mortgage. As such, you must make sure to have sufficient cash to complete the deal. Typical closing costs include lawyer fees, home inspections, and taxes. You can use a closing cost calculator to estimate and budget accordingly. In Alberta, there is a lack of land transfer taxes which is typically one of the highest closing expenses.
Always obtain mortgage pre-approval before searching for homes because it allows you to close a deal quickly. Pre-approval acts as a written contract between your lender that will enable you to lock in an interest rate for up to 130 days. Additionally, pre-approval helps you determine your maximum mortgage and monthly payments.
Receiving pre-approval from one lender doesn't stop you from shopping around for the lowest mortgage rates in Alberta. Ensuring you have the lowest rate can save you thousands of dollars in monthly interest costs over your mortgage period. Working with a mortgage broker is an excellent method to find the best mortgage for your situation. Their industry knowledge and connections can help you access mortgages that are unavailable to the public.
Finding a home is one of the most important purchases of your life; make sure you are doing it right. It's best to connect with an agent that has a deep understanding of your market. First-time buyers especially should work with an experienced agent to minimize mistakes.
Our real estate agent matcher will streamline the process of finding an experienced agent nearby. You will see recent sales and ratings for local agents to verify their experience. It's best to meet multiple agents to cross-check information and find the best for your individual needs.
Although it's tempting to broaden your search and increase your budget, it's critical to keep looking for houses that you can both afford and picture yourself living in. This hunt begins online, with sites like MLS and what your real estate agent discovers to show you.
When reviewing properties, it's essential to have a list of "must-have" and "nice-to-have" features. This will help you communicate with your agent to find the best properties for your needs. If you can't find homes that meet your criteria, you can always change your search.
Lately, the real estate market has been very competitive due to low record low interest rates. Many buyers compete over a few properties; this is known as a seller's market. As a result, you must understand it's unlikely your first offer will be accepted. You will need to make many offers with few conditions. Offers with fewer terms are more likely to be accepted by a buyer. It's essential to move quickly to close a deal.
Congratulations, moving into a new home is a significant milestone! At this moment, closing costs are due. However, if you followed step five and used our closing cost calculator, there should be no surprises. Additionally, if you couldn't sell your house before buying this property, then you may need bridge financing in between.
Additionally, other important tasks to consider include:
Although the process may seem time-consuming and anxiety-inducing, having knowledgeable and experienced contacts on hand is critical. Your real estate agent, mortgage broker, and family are all on your side to assist you, so it's essential to have faith in the procedure.
The process will work out in the end, as long as you stick to the steps of saving for a down payment, deciding where you want to buy, obtaining pre-approval, finding an agent, compiling an offer, and closing.