Archived — A Roof Over Your Head (3)

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Buying Your Roof

  • Can I afford to purchase a home?
  • Do I have a secure income?
  • Am I prepared for the long-term commitment of paying off a house?
  • How do I compare buying with renting?
  • What are the costs and savings of a shorter or longer amortization period, or a higher or lower interest rate?

A home is likely the most expensive purchase that you will make in your lifetime. Buying a home is a huge commitment, and you should not make the decision lightly. Do as much research as you can on everything from the neighbourhood you want to live in, to finding the best real estate lawyer, to the mortgage options available.

Check out the Mortgage Savings Calculator and the Rent or Buy Calculator at to find out if buying a home is an option for you.

A word about condominiums

If you are considering a condominium, you'll need more information. Find out if there is any condominium legislation in your jurisdiction.

How Much Does a House Cost — Really?

Most people use a mortgage to finance the purchase, and pay for it over a number of years. Are you ready for this commitment? Is your employment stable? What types of changes may occur in your life in the next five years?

You need to determine how much house you can afford. You may find it helpful to check out Reality Choices —You and Your Money, for a comprehensive look at your spending and how much you can afford for a mortgage payment and for the down payment. Your financial institution will help you assess your situation.

Home buying involves immediate expenses and long-term changes to monthly spending. Immediate costs include appraisal, home insurance, legal fees and disbursements, utility hookups, and home inspections. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Web site ( has an on-line Consumer Guide and Workbook that includes an excellent list of other expenses to be considered when calculating your home buying costs.

Monthly expenses will also change with new or increased spending on utilities, repairs, appliances, homeowner's insurance, tools and decorating. All will have to be included in your new spending plan.