First-time homebuyers are one of our favourite clients! It’s great to work alongside them and teach them the in’s and out’s about real estate, owning a home, and helping them cross “homeownership” off their bucket list. One thing that we find though, their expectations are often not aligned with reality. We are always honest with our clients about the reality of the situation, but we thought it would be helpful to clear up a few of those “expectations”.

1. Expectation: They have enough saved for their down payment

Reality: This seems to be the first “shocking” point to many first-timers. It’s also one of the most heartbreaking ones to explain to them too. Many times, they have saved for several years and come in with what they think is a sizable down payment…but, in reality, it’s less than what is needed. They will often have their sights set on a home that is well out of their price range. They have also potentially failed to account for stress-testing measures. As a general rule of thumb, 5% is the minimum on a property with a purchase price of less than $500,000. However, 20% or more is the ideal in order to avoid your mortgage being classified as a high-ratio mortgage and require mortgage insurance.

2. Expectation: Once you have the down payment you are all set!

Reality: There are many different costs associated with moving, buying a home, and other fees that many first-time buyers may not be aware of. A few fees to consider include:

• Legal Fees
• Property Transfer Fees
• Moving Costs (moving van, moving crew)
• Appraisal fee
• Searches and Title Insurance
These will total approximately 1.5-2% of purchase price.

3. Expectation: Costs will stay the same when going from renting to owning a home.

Reality: This is not true in most cases. Many people forget to account for the day-to-day and general upkeep associated with home ownership. These can include repairs on the home, insurance, property taxes, extra utility costs, etc. This is why we always encourage first-time buyers to sit down and look at their budget and “practice” the strains and additional costs. This allows you to see if you are truly ready financially for home ownership and also alleviates stress down the road.

4.Expectation: We qualified for (blank) amount of dollars—let’s use all of it.

Reality: This is rarely a recommended or smart decision. Pick a price range that you are comfortable house shopping for that would allow you to accommodate things like home renovations, upgrades, and updates. Looking at homes that still fit your needs but may just need a little more work can significantly decrease the amount you are borrowing. If you are open to different options when house-hunting, you can save money in the long run.

These are just four examples of how a first-time mortgage holders’ expectation are rarely the reality. However, there are other areas that we find they may have questions in or not be aware of. The mortgage industry is one that is forever changing, and it can be difficult to stay on top of all of the changes! If you have a question, concern, or just want to know about what to really expect when you are going through the mortgage process, consider meeting with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker.