Purchasing a house is one of the most important financial decisions you’ll make during your life and something you’ll have to plan for in advance. Before you can decide on a budget for your next home, you’ll have to assess your financial situation and understand what costs you’ll be paying during the home buying process.
To help ease you into the finances of making a purchase, we’ve compiled a free, downloadable guide that includes important information about the finances of purchasing a home. Get the Financing Your Purchase guide here.
The guide covers the essential finances that are involved when buying a home – including what they are, what you need to know about them, and how to calculate an estimate. Sections in the guide will outline:
- Major costs of purchasing a home
- Understanding how down payments work
- Factors that determine your mortgage (such as rates, insurance, etc.)
The Major Costs of Purchasing a Home
These are the most significant payments that you’ll want to consider when setting a budget for purchasing a home and when the payments are due.
- 5% of offer price
- At time of accepted offer, included as part of down payment due at closing
- Down payments
- 5% to 20% of purchase price
- Due at closing, less deposit paid
- Mortgage insurance
- 2.8% to 4.0% of mortgage amount
- Insurance premium added to mortgage principal, tax on insurance premium due at closing
- Closing costs
- 1.5% to 4.0% of purchase price
- Due at closing
What is the Minimum Down Payment I Need?
A down payment is the lump sum of money that you pay, upfront, when you buy a home. The size of your mortgage is generally the price of the home, less the down payment. Thus, the down payment size influences your mortgage payment significantly as it determines how much home you can afford and the amount of your monthly mortgage payment.
Minimum down payment requirements:
- For homes priced under $1,000,000, the minimum is 5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on every dollar above $500,000
- For homes priced at $1,000,000 or over, a full 20% down payment is required
Factors That Determine How Much Mortgage You Can Afford
The mortgage is the money you’ll borrow from a lender to fund the portion of your home purchase that your down payment doesn’t cover. Factors that will influence the amount you can qualify for will include:
- Household income
- Household monthly expenses
- Projected expenses and closing costs
- Property price
Getting Pre-Approved For Your Mortgage
Getting pre-approved is both free and recommended if you’re getting serious about your home search.
Lenders use a number of factors to assess the amount and rate of the mortgage you qualify for such as:
- Down Payment
- Credit Score
- Debt Service Ratios
- Current Employment
Once pre-approved, you’ll have the rate offered to you for up to 120 days. Even if rates go up, your rate won’t change—and, if they go down, your lender will honour the lower rate.
Check out our Financing Your Home Purchase guide to get a list of the necessary documents for your lender to give you an approval!
Mortgage Rate Types
Mortgage rates are usually based on the state of the economy and the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate.
The two types of mortgage rates are:
- Variable-rate mortgages – This is a mortgage rate that changes with the prime lending rate (set by your lender, influenced by the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate).
- Tip: Variable mortgages are proven to be less expensive over time, but if interest rates increase, so do your monthly payments.
- Fixed-rate mortgages – A fixed-rate is where your rate and monthly payment will stay the same for the entire term of your mortgage.
- Tip: This type of mortgage is typically easier to manage as your monthly payments are consistent.
Debt service ratios are used by lenders to calculate your credit eligibility. Most lenders follow the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) guidelines.
There are two main types of debt-service ratios that lenders consider:
- Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS)
(Mortgage Payments + Property Taxes + Heating Costs + 50% of Condo Fees)/ Annual Income
- Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS)
(Total GDS Expenses + Credit Card Interest + Car Payments + Loan Expenses)/ Annual Income
Understanding Mortgage Insurance
Mortgage default insurance (often known as CMHC insurance) is mandatory on home purchases with a down payment between 5% to 19.99%. This protects lenders in the event borrowers fail to pay their mortgage.
- 5% – 9.99%
- Insurance premium rate – 4.0% of mortgage amount
- 10% – 14.99%
- Insurance premium rate – 3.1% of mortgage amount
- 15% – 19.99%
- Insurance premium rate – 2.8% of mortgage amount
- 20% or higher
- Insurance premium rate – Not required
With a better understanding of the finances involved in purchasing a home, you can be better prepared for getting approved and making your payments.
You can find more details, tips and sample calculations on financing your home purchase in our free, downloadable Financing Your Purchase guide here.