Home Buying Goals? 5 New Year’s Resolutions to Keep

By Michelle Moon

Is home buying on your to-do list this year? here are some resolutions to tackle before you start your home search!

1. Start/Continue saving for your down payment
This is one of the biggest parts to the home buying process.  Start thinking about where you will come up with the money, how to access it and if there are any grant programs you are eligible for.  Take a look at your expenses over the past few months, and sort out the non-essential spending to decide which non-essential activities you can cut down on until you reach your financial goals. In order to avoid taking out a high-ratio mortgage you will want to aim for at least 20% as a down payment.

2. Have your credit in check
Lenders will use your credit score in combinations with other factors to determine your mortgage eligibility.  The lower your credit score, the higher your offered interest rate will be – a good credit score will indicate a trustworthy borrower and will be favoured by banks and other lending institutions. A credit score is a number between 300 and 900 that rates your credit-worthiness. If you’re not happy with your credit score, take some time to bring it up to par before you start the pre-qualification process. Some things you can do to improve your credit rating are: pay off your credit balance before the due date, don’t make any large purchases and don’t take out any new loans

3. Get Pre-Approved
Now is a great time to take advantage of the current low interest rates.  Pre-approvals lock in your rate for up to 120 days.  Its important to note that your are not obligated to buy within this time frame nor are your committed to the lender who gave you the pre approval.  Knowing what your qualify for is a big step and will allow you to determine the type of home, locations and several other factors you will want to know prior to shopping for a home. Additionally, in a competitive market, having a pre-approval could mean the difference between winning or losing a bidding war.

4. Work with a trusted real estate agent
An experienced real estate agent will save you plenty of money and time, steer you away from bad investments and negotiating on your behalf. Their market knowledge will come in extra handy, especially if you are competing with other buyers. Plus, buying through a real estate agent is free you will only benefit from their guidance.

5. Start Shopping
With your pre approval in hand, start exploring different neighbourhoods and home types to determine what best suits your wants, needs and lifestyle.  A good real estate agent can set up private appointments to show you the best properties for you and set you up on alerts to make sure you stay up to date on new listings