Homebuying Step by Step | Your Guide to Buying a Home | Contact Tara Kennedy
STEP 1 Is home ownership right for you? Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. To ensure that you make the best choice, ask yourself a few questions. What do you really want in a home? What is your current financial situation? What are your financial and lifestyle needs?
Upfront costs The initial amount of money you need to buy a home, including the down payment, the closing costs and any applicable taxes.
Ongoing costs The continued cost of living in a home you own, including mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utility bills, condominium fees (if applicable) and routine repairs and maintenance.
Major repairs Large and expensive repairs and renovations your home will eventually need, such as roof replacement or foundation repair.
STEP 2 Are you financially ready to own a home? It’s important to figure out how much you can afford to spend before you start looking for a home. Your mortgage payment will probably be the biggest expense, but there are other costs you should be aware of. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises! The more you know about your current financial situation, the more prepared you’ll be when you meet with your lender or broker. These calculations will clarify your current financial picture and help you figure out how much you can afford.
STEP 3 Financing your home It’s time to meet with your mortgage lender or broker to discuss your financing options and confirm that you are financially ready to buy a home. They will discuss mortgage terms and interest rates and will explain what you must do to ensure that you get approved for a mortgage once you find your home.
Get pre-approved It’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking for a home. But first you need to understand exactly what being “pre-approved” means. A pre-approved mortgage lets you know how much you can afford, what your interest rate will be and what your monthly mortgage payments will look like. Getting pre-approved can help you narrow your search down to a specific home type, size or neighbourhood. Getting pre-approved is not a guarantee of final approval for a mortgage. Once you find the home you want to buy, the property still has to be evaluated to ensure the price and condition of the home are acceptable to your lender.
Mortgage basics You will have many options when it comes to choosing a mortgage. Your lender or broker will help you find the mortgage that best matches your needs. Become familiar with the following terms and options to help with your decisions.
Amortization period: The length of time you agree to take to pay off your mortgage (usually 25 years). Payment schedule: How often you make your mortgage payments. It can be weekly, every two weeks or once a month.
Types of interest rates:
• Fixed rate—The rate doesn’t change for the term of the mortgage.
• Variable rate—The interest rate fluctuates with market rates.
• Protected (or capped) variable rate—The rate fluctuates but will not rise over a preset maximum rate.
Mortgage term: The length of time that the options and interest rate you choose are in effect. It can be anywhere from 6 months to 10 years. When the term is up, you can renegotiate your mortgage and choose the same or different options.
Open and closed mortgages:
• Open mortgage—Lets you pay off your mortgage in full or in part at any time without any penalties.
• Closed mortgage—Offers limited (or no) options to pay off your mortgage early in full or in part, but it usually has a lower interest rate.
Conventional and high-ratio mortgages:
• Conventional mortgage—A loan that is equal to or less than 80% of the lending value of a home. This requires a down payment of at least 20%.
• High-ratio mortgage—A loan that is over 80% of the lending value of a home. This means the down payment is less than 20% and will likely require mortgage loan insurance.
Pre-payment options: The ability to make extra payments, increase your payments or pay off your mortgage early without incurring a penalty.
Portability: An option that lets you transfer or switch your mortgage to another home with little or no penalty when you sell your existing home. Mortgage loan insurance can also be transferred to the new home.
Know your credit score Your credit score is a snapshot of your financial health at a specific point in time. It shows how consistently you pay off your bills and debts. A good credit score is incredibly valuable. Lenders and brokers will look at your credit history when deciding whether or not to approve you for a mortgage. Before you apply, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report to make sure there aren’t any mistakes or surprises.
Mortgage loan insurance If you have less than 20% saved for a down payment, you’ll probably have to get mortgage loan insurance. It protects banks and other lenders against the risk of mortgage default, just like property insurance protects you in case of loss. CMHC is a provider of mortgage loan insurance. Insurance premiums on mortgage loans are calculated as a percentage of your total loan amount. They’re based on factors including the size and source of your down payment. In general, the smaller the down payment is, the higher the insurance premiums will be. You can usually pay your mortgage loan insurance premiums up front or have them added to your mortgage loan. You may have to pay tax on the total amount of the premiums if your province charges sales tax.
STEP 4 Finding the right home Now that you have a clear picture of your finances and mortgage options, it’s time to start thinking about the kind of home you want to buy. Look for a home that will meet your needs not just today, but also 5 or even 10 years into the future.
What do you want or need in a home? Make a list of your requirements and preferences for a home. Consider the following factors and questions in your list.
Location Do you want to live downtown, in the suburbs or in a more rural environment? Does the neighbourhood have a look and feel that suits your style? Do you want to live close enough to work, school, shopping, recreation facilities, health services and public transit that you won’t need a car to get around?
Size How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? Do you need space for a home office or for extra storage? Do you need a garage?
Special features Is an air conditioner or a swimming pool on your list? Do your family members have allergies, environmental sensitivities or other special needs? Is it important that your home be energy efficient and environmentally friendly? Will you need it to adapt to changing needs as you age?
Lifestyle Are you planning to have children? Do you have any teenage children who will be moving away soon? Are you close to retirement? Do you want to live where you can go for walks or take your kids to a park? Do you want to live close to a community centre or place of worship? Is it important that you live close to family and friends?
The home you choose today will have an impact on your lifestyle and your finances for years to come. Take the time now to make the best decision for you and your family. If you are considering living in the suburbs, you may be able to buy a larger home, but you may also have a longer commute to work or school. Be sure to weigh each decision carefully.
Forms of homeownership One of your biggest decisions when looking for a home is what kind of ownership suits you. Options vary slightly between provinces, but the following are some of the most common ownership types in Canada.
Leasehold You own the building or unit and rent or lease the land it sits on. This type of ownership is common for townhouses or apartments built on city-owned land and mobile units on leased land.
Co-operatives (co-ops) Instead of purchasing a specific unit, you buy a share in the entire building and are assigned a unit to live in. When you decide to sell your share, the co-operative’s board members can reject buyers they feel will not be an asset to the community. Mortgage loan insurance is not available for co-operatives, so you’ll need a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price.
Freehold You own the building and the land it rests on. You are responsible for the costs and maintenance of the property, but you also have full use and control of the land and the building. This is subject to any rights of the Crown, local bylaws and any other restrictions in place at the time you purchase the property.
Condominium (or “strata”) You own your unit and share ownership of the common areas with other unit owners. Common elements can include exterior walls, windows, gardens, driveways, hallways, elevators, lobbies and social areas. The condominium corporation is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the common property. The corporation may also regulate the types of changes you can make to your unit.
Your home buying team:
Who should you call? Whether it’s your first time buying a home or you’ve done it before, it’s good to have a team of experienced professionals to help you along the way.
Real estate agent An agent can help you find a home, tell you about the community, make an offer for you and negotiate the best deal. They can also help you find qualified professionals to fill the other positions on your team. When looking for an agent, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Normally, the seller pays a commission to the agent, but some agents also charge buyers for their services.
Home inspector Whether you’re buying a new or a resale home, you should have it inspected by a professional home inspector. The inspector will assess the condition of the house and tell you if any major repairs or replacements are needed.
Appraiser An appraiser can make sure you don’t pay too much by telling you how much a property is worth before you make an offer. In some cases, your lender may ask for an appraisal before approving you for a mortgage.
Land surveyor You will probably need a survey or certificate of location as part of your mortgage application. If the seller doesn’t have one, you’ll need to hire a surveyor and get permission from the seller to go onto the property. If you have title insurance, you may not need a land survey.
Builder or contractor If you’re building a new home or your home needs extensive renovations, you’ll need to hire a builder or contractor. Ask candidates for several references and check them carefully. You can also visit other homes they’ve built and ask if they are members of a homebuilders’ association.
Lawyer will protect your legal interests. They make sure that the property you want to buy is free of any liens, charges and work or cleanup orders.
STEP 5 Making an offer and closing the deal Congratulations! You’ve chosen a mortgage that works for you, found a home that fits your budget and put together your home buying team. Now it’s time to make an offer and close the deal!
Making an offer Once you’ve found the home you want to buy, you need to give the seller an offer to purchase (also called an “agreement of purchase and sale”). An offer to purchase is a legal contract that should be carefully prepared by your real estate agent.
Your offer should include:
• your legal name, the name of the seller and the address of the property
• the purchase price (the amount you’re offering to pay)
• the amount of your deposit
• any extra items you want included in the purchase such as window coverings or appliances
• the closing date, which is the date you want to take possession of the home (usually 30 to 60 days after the agreement is signed for existing homes and longer for newly constructed homes)
• a request for a current land survey of the property
• the date the offer expires
• any other conditions that must be met, such as a satisfactory home inspection or lender approval of your financing The contract will only become final once all the conditions have been met.
Closing day Closing day is an exciting time. It’s when you finally get to take legal possession of your new home. The final signing generally happens at your lawyer or notary’s office along with the following events.
Your lender gives the mortgage money to your lawyer or notary
You give your down payment (minus the deposit) to your lawyer or notary, along with the closing costs (typically 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price) to cover legal fees, land transfer taxes and other costs.
Your lawyer pays the seller, registers the home in your name and gives you the deed and keys to your new home.
After you buy
Maintaining your home and protecting your investment Becoming a homeowner is a major responsibility. It’s up to you to take care of your home and protect what is likely your biggest investment.
Make your mortgage payments on time You can make your mortgage payments weekly, every two weeks or once a month. Whichever schedule you choose, always make your payments on time. Late or missed payments may result in charges or penalties, and they can negatively affect your credit rating. If you’re having trouble making payments, talk to your lender as soon as possible.
Plan for the costs of operating a home You will have several ongoing costs besides your mortgage, property taxes and insurance. Maintenance and repair costs are at the top of the list, along with expenses for security monitoring, snow removal and gardening. If you own a condominium, some of these costs may be included in your monthly fees. Live within your budget
Prepare a monthly budget and stick to it. Take a few minutes every month to check your spending and see if you’re meeting your financial goals. If you spend more than you earn, find new ways to earn more or spend less. Save for emergencies Your home will need some major repairs as it ages.
Set aside an emergency fund of about 5% of your income every year so you’ll be prepared to deal with unexpected expenses.
Words to know when buying a home
Adjustable interest rate mortgage: A mortgage where both the interest rate and the monthly payments vary based on changes in the market rates.
Amortization: The period of time required to completely pay off a mortgage if all conditions are met and all payments are made on time.
Application: A form used to apply for a mortgage. It includes all of the relevant personal and financial information of the person applying.
Appraisal: An estimate of the current market value of a home.
Appraiser: A certified professional who carries out a home appraisal.
Appreciation: An increase in the value of a home or other possession from the time it was purchased.
Approved lender: A lending institution, such as a bank, that the Government of Canada authorizes to make loans under the terms of the National Housing Act. Only approved lenders can offer CMHC-insured mortgages.
Assumption agreement: A legal document that requires a person buying a home to take over the mortgage of the builder or the previous owner.
Blended payment: A regular mortgage installment that includes payments toward both the mortgage principal and the interest.
Builder: A person or company that builds homes.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.
Certificate of status (or “estoppel certificate”): A certificate that outlines the financial and legal status of a condominium corporation.
Certificate of location (or “survey”): A document that shows the legal boundaries and measurements of a property, specifies the location of any buildings and states whether anyone else has the right to cross over the property for a specific purpose.
Closed mortgage: A mortgage that can’t normally be paid off or renegotiated before the end of the term without the lender’s permission and a financial penalty. Some closed mortgages allow for extra or accelerated payments, but only if specified in the mortgage agreement.
Closing costs: The legal fees, transfer fees, disbursements and other costs that must be paid when buying a home. These are in addition to the down payment and the GST, PST and HST if applicable. Closing costs are due on the day the buyer officially takes ownership of the home, and they usually range from 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price.
Closing date: The date when the sale of the property becomes final and the new owner takes possession of the home.
Commitment letter (or “mortgage approval): A written notification from a lender to a borrower that says a mortgage loan of a specific amount is approved under specific terms and conditions.
Compound interest: Interest that is calculated on both the original principal and the interest that has already been earned (or “accrued”) on that principal.
Conditional offer: An offer to purchase a home that includes one or more conditions (for example, a condition that the buyer is able to get a mortgage) that must be met before the sale can be officially completed.
Condominium (or “strata”): A type of homeownership where people own the unit they live in and share ownership of all common areas with the other owners. Common areas can include parking facilities, hallways, elevators, lobbies, gyms, swimming pools and the grounds or landscaping.
Contractor: A person who is responsible for the construction or renovation of a home, including scheduling, workmanship and managing subcontractors and suppliers.
Conventional mortgage: A mortgage loan equal to or less than 80% of the value of a property. (That is, where the down payment is at least 20%.) Conventional mortgages don’t usually require mortgage loan insurance.
Counteroffer: An offer made by the seller of a home after rejecting an offer by a potential buyer. The counteroffer usually changes something from the original offer, such as the price or closing date.
Credit bureau: A company that collects information from various sources on a person’s borrowing and bill-paying habits. They provide this information to lenders to help them assess whether or not to lend money to that person.
Credit history (or “credit report”): The report a lender uses to determine if a person should get a mortgage.
Curb appeal: How attractive a home looks from the street, including features like landscaping and a well-maintained exterior.
Deed: A legal document that transfers ownership of a home from the seller to the buyer.
Default: Failing to make a mortgage payment on time or to otherwise abide by the terms of a mortgage loan agreement. If borrowers default on their mortgage payments, their lender can charge them a penalty or even take legal action to take possession of their home.
Delinquency: Failing to make a mortgage payment on time.
Deposit: Money that a buyer places in trust to show they are serious when they make an offer to purchase a home. The deposit is held by the real estate agent or lawyer until the sale is complete, and then it’s transferred to the seller.
Depreciation: A decrease in the value of a home or other possession from the time it was purchased.
Down payment: The portion of the home’s purchase price that is not financed by a mortgage loan. The buyer must pay the down payment from their own funds (or other eligible sources) before securing a mortgage.
Duplex: A building that contains two separate and complete single-family homes located either adjacent to each other or one on top of the other.
Easement: A legal interest in a property owned by another person or company for a specific limited purpose. For example, a public utility company may have an easement that lets them pass through a property.
Emergency fund: Money that a homeowner regularly sets aside to pay for emergencies or major repairs. Owners should usually save around 5% of their monthly income for emergencies.
Equity: The cash value that a homeowner has in their home after subtracting the amount of the mortgage or other debts owed on the property. Equity usually increases over time as the mortgage loan is gradually paid. Changes in overall market values or improvements to a home can also affect the value of the equity.
Estoppel certificate (or “certificate of status”): A certificate that outlines a condominium corporation’s financial and legal status.
Fixed interest rate mortgage: A mortgage with a locked-in interest rate, meaning it won’t change during the term of the mortgage.
Foreclosure: A legal process whereby the lender takes possession of a property if the borrower defaults on a loan. The lender then sells the property to cover the unpaid debt.
Freehold: A form of homeownership where the homeowner buys the right to have full and exclusive ownership of a home and the land it sits on for an indefinite period. Freehold is in contrast to leasehold ownership, which gives the homeowner the right to use and occupy the land and building for only a limited defined period.
Gross debt service (GDS) ratio: The percentage of a person or household’s gross monthly income that goes to pay the mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and heating costs, plus 50% of any condominium maintenance fees or 100% of the annual site lease for leasehold tenure if applicable. To qualify for a mortgage, the borrower’s GDS ratio must be at or below 32%.
Gross monthly income: Total monthly income of a person or household before taxes and other deductions.
High-ratio mortgage: A mortgage loan for more than 80% of the value of a property. (That is, where the down payment is less than 20%.) A high-ratio mortgage usually has to be insured against default with mortgage loan insurance provided by CMHC or a private company.
Home inspection: A thorough examination and assessment of a home’s state and condition by a qualified professional. The examination includes the home’s structural, mechanical and electrical systems. Home inspector: A professional who examines a home for anything that is broken, unsafe or in need of replacement. The inspector also checks if the home has had any major problems in the past. Home insurance premium: The amount homeowners pay on a monthly or annual basis for home or property insurance.
Household budget: A monthly plan that tracks household income and expenses to make sure household members are living within their means and meeting their savings and investment goals.
Insurance broker: A professional who can help homeowners choose and buy different types of insurance, including property insurance, life and disability insurance and mortgage loan insurance.
Interest: The cost of borrowing money. Interest is usually paid to the lender in regular installments along with repayment of the principal (that is, the amount of the original loan).
Interest rate: The rate used to calculate how much a borrower has to pay a lender for the use of the money being loaned to them.
Land registration: A system to record legal interests in land, including ownership and disposition of land.
Land surveyor: A professional who surveys a property in order to provide a land survey (or “certificate of location”). If the seller doesn’t have a survey, or if it’s more than five years old, the buyer will likely need to hire a surveyor before they can get a mortgage. A real estate agent usually helps coordinate the survey with the seller.
Land transfer tax: A tax charged by many provinces and municipalities (usually a percentage of the purchase price) that the buyer must pay upon closing. Lawyer: A legal advisor (usually replaced by a notary in Quebec) who is licensed to practice law and who will protect legal interests and review any contracts.
Leasehold: A form of home ownership where the homeowner buys the right to have full and exclusive ownership of a home and the land it sits on for a defined period. Leasehold is in contrast to freehold ownership, which gives the homeowner the right to use and occupy the land and building for an indefinite period.
Lender: A bank, trust company, credit union, caisse populaire, pension fund, insurance company, finance company or other institution that loans people money to buy a home.
Lien: A claim against a property by another person or company for money owed by the owner or previous owner.
Lump sum pre-payment: An extra payment that is made to reduce the principal balance of a mortgage, with or without a penalty. Lump sum payments can help borrowers save on interest costs and pay off their mortgage sooner.
Manufactured home: A single-family home that is built in a factory and then transported to a chosen location and placed onto a foundation.
Maturity date: The last day of the term of a mortgage. The mortgage loan must either be paid in full, renegotiated or renewed on this day.
Mobile home: A home that is built in a factory and transported to the place where it will be occupied. While mobile homes are usually placed permanently in one location, they can be moved again later if desired.
Modular home: A single-family home that is built in a factory and typically shipped to a location in two or more sections (or “modules”) to be assembled onsite.
Mortgage: A loan given by a lender to a buyer to help with the purchase of a home or property. The mortgage loan is usually repaid in regular payments that generally include both the principal and interest. Mortgage approval (or “commitment letter”): A written notification from a lender to a borrower that says a mortgage loan of a specific amount is approved under specific terms and conditions.
Mortgage broker: A professional who works with many different lenders to find a mortgage that best suits the needs of the borrower.
Mortgage life insurance: Insurance that protects the family of a borrower by paying off the mortgage if the borrower dies.
Mortgage loan insurance: Insurance that protects a lender against default on a mortgage. Mortgage loan insurance is provided by CMHC or a private company and is usually required for any mortgage where the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price or lending value of a home. Mortgage loan insurance helps Canadians purchase homes earlier and at interest rates that are comparable to buyers with a larger down payment.
Mortgage loan insurance premium: The amount homebuyers have to pay to CMHC or another insurer to insure their mortgage against default if their down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. The CMHC premium is calculated as a percentage of the mortgage loan and is based on factors like the size and source of the down payment. In general, the smaller the down payment is, the higher the insurance premiums will be. Premiums can typically be paid separately or included in the regular mortgage payments to the lender.
Mortgage payment: A regularly scheduled payment that usually includes both the loan principal and the interest.
Mortgage term: The length of time that the conditions of a mortgage, such as the interest rate and payment schedule, are in effect. Terms are usually between 6 months and 10 years. At the end of the term, the mortgage loan must either be paid in full, renewed or renegotiated, usually with new conditions.
Net worth: The total financial worth of a person, calculated by subtracting liabilities (everything the person owes) from assets (everything the person owns).
New home warranty program: A program available in all provinces and some territories guaranteeing that any defects in a new home will be repaired at no cost to the buyer within the period covered by the warranty.
Offer to purchase: A written contract that sets out the terms and conditions under which a buyer agrees to buy a home. If the offer is accepted by the seller, it becomes a legally binding agreement.
Ongoing costs: The monthly expenses that come with owning a home, including mortgage payments, property taxes, home insurance, utilities, ongoing maintenance and repairs.
Open house: A set period of time when potential buyers can come to look at a house or apartment that’s for sale without an appointment.
Open mortgage: A flexible mortgage loan that lets a borrower pay off or renegotiate their loan at any time, without having to pay penalties. Because of this flexibility, open mortgages usually have a higher interest rate than closed mortgages.
Payment schedule: The schedule a buyer agrees to follow to pay back their mortgage loan. In most schedules, mortgage payments are made weekly, every two weeks or once a month.
PITH: An acronym that stands for mortgage Principal and Interest payments, property Taxes and Heating costs, all the main costs paid by a homeowner on a monthly basis.
Power of sale: A provision that gives a lender the power to sell a property if the borrower defaults on their mortgage. The ownership of the property changes hands after the sale is completed.
Premium: See “Mortgage loan insurance premium.” Pre-payment options: The ability to make extra payments, increase your payments or pay off your mortgage early without incurring a penalty. Pre-payment penalty: A fee charged by your lender if you pay more money on your mortgage than the pre-payment option allows.
Principal: The amount a person borrows for a loan (not including the interest).
Property (or home) insurance: Insurance that protects the owners in case their home or building is damaged or destroyed by fire or other hazards listed in the policy.
Property taxes: Taxes that are charged by the municipality based on the value of the home. In some cases, the lender will collect property taxes as part of the borrower’s mortgage payments and then pay the taxes to the municipality on the borrower’s behalf.
Real estate: Property consisting of buildings and/or land. Real estate agent (or “real estate broker”): A professional who acts as an intermediary between the seller and buyer of a property. They help the buyer find a home, make an offer and negotiate the best price.
REALTOR.ca: An online service that provides descriptions of most of the homes for sale across the country. Homes on the site can be searched by location, price, size or a number of other features.
Reserve fund: A sum of money put aside by a condominium corporation for the repair or replacement of common elements such as the roof, windows, boiler, hallway carpets and other common assets and areas.
Row house (or “townhouse”): A row house is one of several similar single-family homes that are joined side by side and share common walls.
Security: Also called “collateral.” Property that is pledged to guarantee a loan or other obligation that can be claimed by the lender if a loan isn’t repaid. With a mortgage, the home being purchased is used as security for the loan.
Semi-detached home: A home that is attached to another home on one side. Single detached home: A free-standing home (that is, not attached to any other homes on either side) intended to be occupied by a single family.
Stacked townhouse: Two-storey homes stacked one on top of the other, usually in groups of four or more.
Strata (or “condominium”): A type of homeownership where people own the unit they live in and share ownership of all common areas with the other owners. Common areas can include parking facilities, hallways, elevators, lobbies, gyms, swimming pools and the grounds or landscaping.
Survey (or “certificate of location”): A document that shows the legal boundaries and measurements of a property, specifies the location of any buildings and states whether anyone else has the right to cross over the property for a specific purpose.
Sustainable neighbourhood: A neighbourhood that meets the needs of the residents while also protecting the environment.
Title: A document that gives the holder legal ownership of a property.
Title insurance: Insurance against losses or damages that could occur because of anything that affects the title to a property (for example, a defect in the title or any liens, encumbrances or servitudes registered against the legal title to a home).
Total debt service (TDS) ratio: The percentage of a person or household’s gross monthly income that goes to pay the mortgage principal and interest, property taxes and heating costs, plus all other debt obligations such as car payments, personal loans or credit card debt. To qualify for a mortgage, the borrower’s TDS ratio must be at or below 40%.
Townhouse (or “row house”): A townhouse is one of several similar single-family homes that are joined side by side and share common walls. Universal design (or “FlexHousingTM”): An approach to housing that encourages the design and construction of homes that can be easily and inexpensively modified to keep pace with changes in the needs, mobility or lifestyle of the occupants.
Variable interest rate mortgage: A mortgage where the interest rate fluctuates based on the current market conditions. The payments will generally remain the same, but the amount of each payment that goes toward the principal or the interest on the loan changes as interest rates fluctuate. Vendor: The seller of a property.
Vendor take-back mortgage: A type of mortgage where the seller, not a bank or other financial institution, finances the mortgage loan for the buyer.
Keep your home safe Be prepared for emergencies before they happen.
• Prepare an evacuation plan in case of a fire.
• Store your valuables in a safe place.
• Dispose of any dangerous materials properly.
• Check fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis.
As a new owner, you may plan on making improvements to your home. Some renovations can almost pay for themselves over time, especially if they result in savings on utility bills or a higher resale value in the future. Other renovations are worthwhile because they add comfort, enjoyment or functionality to your home. Keep in mind that home prices are influenced by the price of similar homes in the neighbourhood. Don’t go overboard with home improvements unless you plan to stay in your home for many years to come. If you plan to make energy efficiency improvements when you purchase an existing home, you may be eligible for a CMHC Green Home partial premium refund.