Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., has updated its free guide to the process of buying a home, with an emphasis on encouraging Canadians to think long term about what kind of home they should buy — or whether they would be better off renting.
The national housing agency first released the guide, called Homebuying Step by Step, in 1998, but has updated it over the years. The latest version streamlines the document, splitting off workbook content and making it available online as a series of interactive printable checklists and questionnaires.
The previous iteration of the guide received almost eight million unique page views in 2016 alone, according to CMHC.
The guide is meant for any prospective homebuyer, but first-time buyers could particularly benefit from reading it, said Ina Wielinga, a consultant at CMHC who updated the guide. She said the new version puts a greater focus on calculating the true cost of owning a home over time, emphasizing costs like taxes, utilities and repairs.
"This used to be peppered through the document, but we're bringing it up front because people often get focused on acquisition," said Wielinga.
The new guide also encourages readers to reflect on what kind of home suits their lifestyle, and whether or not homeownership is a better financial choice than renting.
"It's not just buying that house that's brick and mortar," said Wielinga. "There's a lifestyle that goes with it also."
By asking would-be homeowners to consider how a home will fit into their lives over the long term, Wielinga said, the guide could help users feel more confident about their purchase.
Key concepts to consider
The most confusing concept in the guide is also one of the most important ideas to understand before buying a home, according to Wielinga: calculating your gross debt service ratio (also known as the gross debt-to-income ratio) and total debt service ratio (also known as the total debt-to-income ratio).
Click on image below for your copy:
The CMHC guide for homebuyers is available for free online. (CMHC)
The gross debt service ratio includes total monthly housing costs, which CMHC says should be no more than 32 per cent of average gross monthly income. The total debt service ratio covers all monthly debt payments, including housing costs. CMHC recommends that ratio not exceed 40 per cent of average gross monthly income.
"You have to understand that, even if you're the best person in the world and you know you can afford it, you have to follow that kind of guideline," said Wielinga.
Financial axioms like these are often left unexplained to potential homebuyers, said Wielinga.
"Honestly, it's not talked about enough," she said. "I think when we do explain it to people, then they do get it."
The rules for Canadian homebuyers have been changing quickly, especially as the government tries different policies to mitigate risk in the real estate market.
For that reason, the guide avoids getting into the details of certain aspects of homebuying, like calculating mortgage loan insurance. Instead, it refers readers to the CMHC website, where the details of mortgage rules can be quickly updated as the government changes them.
Lauren Haw, CEO of an online real estate brokerage, lauded CMHC for its interactive workbook for prospective homebuyers, although she's skeptical that many people will actually take the time to sit down and read the guide in full.
"People like to have it and hold it, but most first-time homebuyers don't seem to ingest the information in this format very well," said Haw. "Because even if you give them these documents, very few people are the personality type that will read it and really truly understand it."
Haw said real estate brokers often end up explaining these concepts to their clients as they go through the buying process.
"If everybody would sit down and read one of these things, I think we'd have much more informed buyers," she said.
When it comes to buying and selling homes, most contracts include a contingency that will allow buyers to back out or re-negotiate the sale based on issues found during a home inspection.
Selling a home can be stressful, to feel confident in the sale of your home check out these common home issues before listing.
We recommend a pre-sale home inspection – which may even sweeten your home sale by adding an element of transparency when you share the report with the buyers agent.
Regardless if your basement is beautifully finished or could have been the location for the latest big screen thriller, a major issue found in home inspections is moisture or seepage.
If your basement shows signs of moisture, leakage or has an air of dampness you may have an issue. Call a trusted home inspector to get the lay of the land, or a contractor who specializes in basement repair.
The possibility of basement flooding will not appeal to even the savviest of ‘fixer upper’ home buyers.
The hat for your home. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if your roof is old you run the risk of facing major leaks during the next rainy season.
If left unattended, an old roof may lead to major damage of other existing home systems and property. If your shingles are peeling and look old, you likely need a new roof – get on the phone and start calling local roofing companies.
DIYers take heed! There are (for example) building codes for things like your deck, car port, garage, retaining walls, plumbing, electrical and other home projects and systems.
If you are going to tackle these projects yourself, make sure to do your research and learn what building code requirements exist in your city. Better yet, have a professional come double check your work before you pat yourself on the back – it could save you from property damage, personal injury, costly lawsuits, or the sale of your home.
All major components of your home do require maintenance. Just as you get an oil change, replace brake pads, and rotate tires on your vehicle, your home needs regular attention and cleaning.
Be sure to pay attention to things like furnace and central air maintenance, cleaning dryer vents, water heaters, exhaust fan filers for your stove, check caulking in places like tubs and shower surrounds yearly. Prevention is better than a cure – and it costs less!
In all the excitement and packing, buying & selling, many people forget to take care of some essential items before they move. Don’t look past these 5 things you need to take care of, or it could cost you $$$.
1. Take care of all subscriptions: Magazines, memberships, recurring orders, gym memberships. Get a head start on updating your address or cancelling memberships before charges mount on your credit card. We suggest you take care of this at least 30 days prior to your move, as many gyms, clubs, and mail subscriptions require this much time for cancellation or updates.
2. Change your address at the post office: For a small fee Canada Post will allow you to register your new address to ensure all your mail finds its way to your new home. Leaving bills or an outstanding balance behind, may impact your credit score, as well as lead to accumulated interest charges -–neither of which you are likely o want.
3. Call utility providers: Cable, internet, electricity, gas, etc…These are all services that you should be making contact BEFORE you move. Many of these services can pivot on a dime so not much notice is required, but we do recommend making contact at least 1 week prior to your move date. Make a list of required utility providers & check it twice! Or, you could wind up paying for someone else’s electric bill!
4. Manage your motor vehicle insurance: If you are new to British Columbia here is what you need to know; ICBC allows up to 90 days to switch over your license, and 30 days to register, license and insure your vehicle.
If you are moving within the Province, you must update your address within 30 days of moving. Your auto-insurance policy must always show your current home address and vehicle use, so do not forget to update this information!
5. Get a ‘To-Go’ box ready: Whether you are moving across the country, province, or just down the street, make sure that you have a go-to box ready. This should contain items you will need as soon as you get to your new home; cleaning products, toilet paper, garbage bags, paper towels, clean sheets, fresh towels, paper plates and eating utensils and maybe even a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.
We felt it was important to share this post we read in a private Realtors Professional group. There are plenty of those in our world who are willing to take advantage of anyone possible. And it's everywhere, not just in the Valley. Understand, using a professional to market your home isn't just about the marketing, knowledge, negotiation skills and understanding of the transaction. It's also for the protection of the Principal (you).
Well - this is officially a first for me. My seller had a knock on her door this afternoon. Outside was a couple offering to buy her home if she agreed to do it without me. She gave them my card and told them to call me if they wanted to buy it. They said - no, we want to work with you.... don't you want to sell your home? Don't you want to make more money? What if we paid you $50,000 more than you're asking? Thank goodness she told them to F* off and closed the door in their face. She was furious when she phoned me to tell me. They apparently got angry and left. The nerve of some people!! UPDATE: Seller phoned the police and was told that they've had numerous reports of this happening over the holidays. It's sometimes a young couple. Sometimes 2 guys. All in the Aldergrove area. When talking to your sellers make sure to tell them to never let anyone in who isn't expected and with a Realtor... I always do and I'm sure glad I did this time!
The speculation, through the conversation in this thread, was that these people were potentially attempting to access the interior of this senior's home.
It turns out homebuyers are really into barn doors.
When Zillow looked at design features that sell homes at the best price and with the shortest listing time, that feature topped the list.
Anything craftsman-style, like rectangular farmhouse sinks, also got homes off the market at a premium.
Zillow Digs screened over 2 million listings for homes sold between January 2014 and March 2016 and looked for the keywords that had the best effect on how much more than the expected price and how much faster they sold.
Here are the top 15 design features:
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 3.7%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 19
Tankless water heater
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 43
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Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 46
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.1%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.2%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 42
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.3%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 28
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 38
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 48
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 4.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 36
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 5.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 14
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.0%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 50
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 6.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 63
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 7.9%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 58
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 9.6%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 45
Percent of homes that sell for above expected values: 13.4%
How many days faster than expected the home sells: 57
Residents and businesses are responsible under City Bylaws to clear any accumulated snow from sidewalks located adjacent to their property as soon as possible to make sure pedestrians are safe.
Report un-shovelled sidewalks by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 604-591-4370 with specific details of the location.
Report a snow or ice problem, or ask any questions about our snow and ice control operations by submitting your inquiry online or calling us at 604-591-4152.
Tips for Snow:
Shovel snow onto your lawn, adjacent snow piles or onto your lawn, not the street
During snow removal operations, the snow is ploughed toward the road-edge. Accordingly, this may result in some driveways and/or sidewalks being blocked by the ploughed snow where snow plough operations occur. We apologize for this inconvenience; however, in some cases this is unavoidable. Should this occur along your property frontage, please do not shovel snow from your driveway onto roadways as this may result in snowploughs pushing the snow back into your driveway and may contribute to vehicle access problems along your street. We recommend that you place snow onto your lawn or onto adjacent snow piles or onto your lawn. This may also present a hazard to motorists or cause vehicle access issues. In an effort to minimize these challenges, consider hiring a snow and ice removal contractor.
Park your vehicle along the curb during snowfall events
This ensures snow and ice operations are conducted in the most effective and efficient manner. If this is not possible, we ask that you please make an attempt at coordinating efforts with your neighbours to park vehicles along the same side of the street within your neighbourhood.
Keep garbage and recycling bins off roadways where snow ploughing may take place
Prolonged snowfall combined with icy conditions may result in delayed garbage and recycling collection. Should this occur, the City will make every effort to resume collection the following day, or allow residents to place double their weekly limit at curb-side the following week.
Keep catch basins free of debris, especially during melting conditions
Contact us to get your home sold in 2017
If you are aware that a catch basin exists in front of your property, please help us by ensuring to keep it clear especially during melting conditions. Blocked catch basins may result in excess accumulation of water along the road area, a situation that could become dangerous if it subsequently freezes. It may also result in flooding of adjacently properties depending on the extent of the blockage and the amount of melting snow.
Snow clearing services for commercial and large residential properties
Residents or businesses using this list will be advised that the City of Surrey has not negotiated any pricing with any of the contractors listed. In addition, the City does not warrant the work nor does it endorse any one of the contractors on the list. The cost of any service provided is to be established between the contractor and the customer. The customer will be responsible for providing payment directly to the contractor for any snow clearing service performed. The City will not act as an intermediary for any disputes relating to non paying customers or complaints of unsatisfactory work performed by the contractor. Also, the burden of risk shall be borne by the contractor with respect to carrying out services to residents. All contractors must also ensure appropriate levels of insurance coverage and required licensed.
Renting out property to get easier as CMHC changes rules
by Steve Randall28 Jul 2015
The rules around the income from rental units considered in home loan applications submitted to the CMHC are changing. The agency announced Monday that, from September 28, it will allow 100 per cent of the rental income from a unit to be considered for new loan applications submitted to it for mortgage insurance.
That means that a secondary rentals suite’s income, minus costs including property taxes, will boost the size of the loan that buyers can secure. Qualifying units must have sustainable income, proven by two years of rental rent payments. These payments will be averaged to assess the unit’s income. Applicants will also need a credit rating of at least 680. Properties with more than a single rental unit will have slightly different rules and this change is most positive for homeowners with one rental unit.
Trustees are asking the city to temporarily halt new development in three neighbourhoods.
“At the moment we are in a crisis. This is the worst I have ever seen it on the board,” says Laurae McNally, a 30-year veteran of the board, who spearheaded the motion directed at the city.
The board wants the city to “temporarily suspend all new development approvals in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey and South Newton regions until the Surrey School District receives adequate provincial capital funding to support the many new students in these regions.”
“We have 275 classroom portables, which we have to pay for out our operating budget. We have four high schools on extended days,” McNally explains.
Plus, a couple of schools need to run five kindergarten classes to meet demand.
“The $4 million a year that the portables cost us is the equivalent of 50 teachers that we could put in our system.”
She says teachers, students and parents have been very patient but they are getting very tired of the situation.
“Everybody wants to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Canadian Press Published Thursday, April 21, 2016 10:21AM EDT
TORONTO -- A new report suggests the red hot real estate markets in Vancouver and Toronto are discouraging some potential sellers from listing their homes because they're afraid of becoming buyers themselves.
The spring market trends report by real estate firm Re/Max on Thursday says while homeowners in those cities know their homes will sell quickly, many are reluctant to become buyers in the highly competitive market.
Re/Max says some are also reluctant to list their homes because they believe that prices could move even higher.
Vancouver and Toronto have been the hottest real estate markets in the country, raising questions about affordability, the role of speculators and the influence of foreign buyers.
The average residential sale price in Vancouver in the first quarter was $1,103,586, up 24 per cent from a year ago, according to Re/Max.
The average price in Toronto was $675,492, up 14 per cent.
The report suggested the strength of Toronto and Vancouver are helping drive prices in neighbouring regions as buyers move further out in search of an affordable home.
The report noted that Hamilton-Burlington and Barrie in Ontario as well as Victoria have seen prices rise 10 per cent or more compared with a year ago.
"The population growth in these regions, driven by housing demand, is growing local economies as restaurants, shops and services expand," the report said.