Buying a home usually means taking out a mortgage. That means you borrow money to buy a home, using that home as collateral for the loan. Make sure you have a mortgage you can live with. There are lots of options available that let you customize your mortgage to suit your financial goals and needs.
Mortgage payments are made up of a principal sum (the amount borrowed) and interest (the cost to you of borrowing money).
The best plan for any type of mortgage is to minimize the amount of interest you pay – and lenders offer several ways to help do this:
- A larger down payment means your home ultimately costs less because a smaller mortgage means less interest.
- A shorter amortization, the period over which a loan is repaid.
- A weekly or biweekly payment schedule instead of monthly.
- Additional lump sum payments.
You don’t have to get your mortgage from the same place you have your savings or chequing accounts. Also, at the end of each term, you may be able to change the options of your mortgage, such as the payment schedule, the term, the rate, even who holds the mortgage. Consider all the options to help customize a mortgage to fit your needs.
All buyers should get pre-approved from a financial institution BEFORE they begin their house search. It costs nothing. Further, it may allow you to write a “non-subject” offer on a home. This is especially important when you are in competition with another buyer.
With pre-approval, your lender approves the amount of your mortgage and gives you a written confirmation or certificate for a fixed time period before you start looking for a home. The pre-approved term, usually lasting from 60 to 90 days, also sets the mortgage interest rate the lender will offer to you. If rates go down in that period, the lender should offer you the new lower rate. Make sure they do that. Pre-approved gives you a head start on house hunting, but your final approval is still subject to a bank appraisal of the value of the home.