You found the home of your dreams, your offer was accepted, and you just received the keys to your new home. Congratulations, you are now officially a homeowner! So… what happens next?
To help you start your new life as a homeowner on the right foot, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following tips on how to protect your home — and your investment — in every season:
- The most important thing you can do to become a responsible homeowner is to make your mortgage payments on time. Late payments may result in charges and negatively affect your credit rating. Failing to make your mortgage payments can lead to even more serious consequences, including foreclosure.
- A good way to make sure you stay on time is to have your mortgage payments automatically deducted from your account every month. It’s also recommended that you keep at least three months’ worth of mortgage payments in savings for emergency situations.
- If you’re having trouble making your payments or know you will be late for an upcoming payment, talk to your lender.
- To ensure your financial peace of mind, you should also prepare a detailed monthly budget, and stick to it. If you haven’t already created a budget, use CMHC’s Household Budget as a Homeowner worksheet, available at www.cmhc.ca/homebuying, to give yourself a head start.
- Besides your mortgage, property taxes and insurance, operating a home comes with many other ongoing costs. These range from maintenance and repair costs to expenses like landscaping fees, utilities, and condominium or strata fees. Be sure you include all the costs of homeownership in your monthly budget.
- Take a few minutes each month to review your budget, check your spending and see if you’re meeting your financial goals. If you’re having trouble sticking to your budget, ask a professional money manager for help.
- No matter how far you look ahead, unexpected costs can arise at any time. So try to set aside a percentage of your take-home pay in an emergency account to help you deal with any unexpected problems, major repairs, illness or job loss.
- To keep your home safe and sound in every season, prepare and follow a regular schedule of monthly maintenance and repairs, such as the one available at www.cmhc.ca/homebuying. Carrying out a few simple repairs each month can help put a stop to many of the most common and costly problems most homeowners encounter, before they can occur.
- As a family, you should also get to know your home’s basic components, and how to adjust or turn these systems off in case of an emergency. Create a Fire Evacuation Plan, install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors, and always keep a list of emergency numbers (including 911, the poison prevention line, your doctor, and neighbours or relatives) close to the phone.
To help you learn more about what to expect as a homeowner and all aspects of buying a home, CMHC’s Homebuying Step by Step: A Consumer Guide and Workbook will lead you through the homebuying process in five simple steps, from the moment you decide to buy a home of your own to the day the movers carry the first box through your new front door.
For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada’s national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information.