If you are a recent graduate, you might think that buying a home is many years off, but that's not necessarily the case. If your goal is homeownership, even as a young adult, there may be some hurdles you'll need to jump over to meet your goal, but it can be done.
But, before you begin shopping for a home, it is essential to educate yourself on the process. Education is the key to success when buying a home so the more you know, the more easily you'll move through the process.
1. Understand the Market
Do your research on the market and your mortgage options before you begin shopping. A well-informed borrower is a good borrower in a broker’s eyes. As a young graduate, you'll have some hurdles to jump through to qualify for a mortgage such as a limited credit history and work history.
2. Educate Yourself About First-time Home Buyer Programs
First-time home buyers also have some grant options. Many provinces offer down payment assistance to stimulate markets. In short, a grant is a government program that offers first-time buyers money towards their down payment. In some provinces, these grants have no fees attached to them and offer forgiveness if the home buyer keeps their home and mortgage current for five or more years. Each province has different grant programs and requirements for grants, so it is essential to educate yourself on your option in the province you intend to buy.
3. Meet with a Broker
Meet with a mortgage broker before you set your heart on owning a home. Many people, whether young families or single, recent graduates, jump right in and begin looking at houses they think they can afford. It is always best to meet with an expert to get a better idea of what you can afford, and whether your current finances and history will allow you to borrow money from a lender. A good mortgage broker can also give you some options if you are not considered an ideal buyer at the moment.
4. Ask the Tough Questions
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions throughout the process will ensure you understand everything that goes into homeownership and the repayment process. Don't be scared to ask your mortgage broker to explain something to you more than once. After all, you'll be responsible for the repayment of the mortgage, so you'll want to ensure you fully understand the terms before jumping in. If you feel comfortable bringing another person with you during your meetings, please do so. A current homeowner can be invaluable as a resource.
5. Get Organized
Prepare your documentation. Mortgage companies will want to see a lot of tax and income documentation to figure out whether you are a quality borrower. Your credit history is not enough information, so it is best to be as prepared as possible. T-4s and tax returns for the last two years and banking statements for the last two months are required documentation in most provinces. Mortgage lenders will look at your T-4s to gain an understanding of your income and income trajectory and will look at bank statements to get an understanding of how you manage your money on a monthly basis.
While these tips are a great jumping-off point for recent graduates interested in buying a home, there is plenty more that goes into first-time homeownership. Ask questions before you make a final decision and educate yourself on the process. Owning a home is a big step and one that you shouldn't take lightly, whether you are a recent college graduate or a family of four. We are here to assist you with each step along the path to home ownership. It's your mortgage. It's your life.