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Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

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Buying your first house and uncertain where to start? Do not worry. No Problem Movers is back with a new blog post to help you buy your first house.


The real estate market can be tricky and tough for first-time home buyers in Canada. Without proper knowledge and planning, your plan to be a first-time home buyer can get delayed. Understanding the process on time can help you look for the housing options with more confidence.

Things to ask yourself –

How much home can I comfortably afford?

1. Assess Your Financial Situation

Review Your Credit Score

Start by checking your credit score, as it will significantly impact your mortgage options and interest rates. Aim to correct any errors and pay down existing debts to improve your score.

Save for a Down Payment

Typically, a down payment of at least 20% helps you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). Even if saving this amount is challenging, strive to save as much as possible to reduce your monthly payments.

Consider Closing Costs

Plan for closing costs, which generally range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. These can include appraisal fees, title insurance, and attorney fees.

Budget for Homeownership Costs

Prepare for ongoing expenses such as repairs, maintenance, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. These costs can add up, so include them in your budget planning.

2. Determine Your Budget

Calculate Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Lenders usually prefer a debt-to-income ratio below 43%. Calculate yours to understand how much of your income goes toward debt payments.

Use Online Calculators

Utilize online mortgage calculators to estimate your monthly mortgage payments based on different loan amounts, interest rates, and terms.

Factor in Your Lifestyle

Ensure your mortgage payment leaves room for your lifestyle and savings goals. Avoid stretching your budget to the point where it impacts your quality of life.

3. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Shop Around

Compare rates from multiple lenders to find the best deal. Look at both big banks and local credit unions to get a range of offers.

Gather Documentation

Typically, you’ll need to provide proof of income, tax returns, and credit history. Have these documents ready to streamline the process.

Understand Loan Types

Learn about different loan options, such as fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), FHA loans, and VA loans, to find the one that fits your needs.

4. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Seek Referrals

Ask friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations. Personal experiences can be a valuable guide in selecting a reliable agent.

Check Credentials

Ensure the agent is licensed and experienced in the area where you want to buy. Look for someone familiar with the local market.

Interview Multiple Agents

Interview a few agents to find one who understands your needs, communicates well, and is someone you feel comfortable working with.

5. Research Neighborhoods

Consider Your Priorities

Think about what’s important to you: proximity to work, quality of schools, access to amenities, etc. List your priorities to narrow down your search. More over you can search for areas in specific city such as best neighbourhoods to live in Toronto.

Visit at Different Times

Visit neighborhoods at various times of the day and week to gauge traffic, noise levels, and overall atmosphere.

Review Market Trends

Look at recent real estate trends in your desired neighborhoods to understand property values and market dynamics.

6. Start House Hunting

List Your Must-Haves

Identify essential features such as the number of bedrooms, layout, and yard size. This helps focus your search on homes that meet your criteria.

Be Open-Minded

Be prepared to compromise on some aspects, as finding a home that meets all your criteria within your budget may be challenging.

Attend Open Houses

Visit open houses to get a sense of what’s available in your price range. This also helps you understand what you like and dislike in a home.

7. Make an Offer

Understand the Market

Determine whether you’re in a buyer’s or seller’s market. This will influence your offer strategy and negotiation tactics.

Set Your Limit

Decide on a maximum price you’re willing to pay and stick to it, even if bidding wars or negotiations become intense.


Work with your real estate agent to craft a compelling offer and negotiate terms. Don’t hesitate to negotiate on price, closing costs, or contingencies.

8. Get a Home Inspection

Hire a Professional

Choose a reputable home inspector to evaluate the property. They should check the structural integrity, plumbing, electrical systems, and more.

Review the Report

Go through the inspection report carefully. Address any major issues with the seller before finalizing the purchase.

Consider Contingencies

Include contingencies in your offer to allow for negotiation or withdrawal if significant problems are found during the inspection.

9. Finalize Your Loan

Lock in Your Rate

Once your offer is accepted, lock in your interest rate to protect yourself from rate increases.

Review the Closing Disclosure

Examine the closing disclosure for a breakdown of costs and fees. Ensure everything is correct before signing.

Prepare for Closing Day

Bring necessary identification and funds for final payments. Double-check all details to ensure a smooth closing process.

10. Move In and Settle

Change Locks

For security, change all exterior locks upon moving in.

Set Up Utilities

Arrange for essential services like water, gas, electricity, and internet before moving day.

Plan Your Move

Decide whether to hire a moving company or rent a truck. Hiring a moving company can ease the process and save you from heavy lifting.

Additional Tips

  • Build an Emergency Fund: Set aside funds for unexpected repairs or changes in your financial situation.
  • Avoid Major Purchases: Hold off on buying new furniture or cars until after closing to keep your credit stable.
  • Stay Organized: Keep all documents related to your home purchase for future reference and potential tax benefits.
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