Buying a first home: 7 steps to follow

1. Calculate your borrowing capacity

By analyzing your financial situation, your National Bank advisor can help you calculate your borrowing capacity.

You can also do this yourself by using our calculation tools:

How much can I borrow?

2. Determine your downpayment

Calculate the initial amount you’ll put down when the loan is granted.

Why make a downpayment?

The downpayment reduces the loan amount and the interest paid in your payments.

Before deciding on the downpayment, you should assess your needs and budget. Are you planning any purchases in the near future? Do you have savings to meet any unforeseen expenses?

How much will you put down?

You can put down at least 20% of the purchase price
If your downpayment amounts to 20% or more of the purchase price of your home, you may be eligible for a conventional loan (uninsured), and could save on mortgage insurance costs.

20% of the purchase price is beyond your budget
In cases where mortgage financing represents more than 80% of the value of the property, banks are required by law to obtain mortgage loan insurance coverage from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial Canada. In such cases, a mortgage loan insurance premium would be charged to you1. The smaller the downpayment, the higher premium rate.

Where can I find the money for my downpayment?

The downpayment could come from your cash savings, investments, a gift, an inheritance or even your RRSPs.

Home Buyers’ Plan2 (HBP)

The HBP is a federal government program designed to make the purchase of a home more accessible to the average household. If you have registered investments (RRSP), you could take advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan and withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP to use as a downpayment.

Withdrawal is not taxable.
You must start repaying your RRSP in the second year following the withdrawal.
You have 15 years to repay what you withdrew.

Home Buyers’ Plan and the RRSP loan

Don’t have $25,000 in your RRSP but still want to make benefit from of the Home Buyers’ Plan?

Ask your advisor how an RRSP loan3 could help you.

Did you know that it is now possible to make a down payment on a home using National Bank's Internet Banking Solutions and Mobile Banking Solutions?

Assyst Payment, a Telus solution offered in cooperation with the Chambre des notaires du Québec, enables you to deposit your down payment directly to your notary's in-trust account using a Coupon for Funds Transfer that your notary will give you or send to you by e-mail or fax.

Follow the steps below to make a down payment using our Internet Banking Solutions or Mobile Banking Solutions:

1. Open a session and select Add to add a bill.
2. In the list of suppliers, look for Assyst Payment and add it as a supplier by using the unique reference number indicated on the Coupon for Funds Transfer you received from your notary.
3. Confirm the addition and select Bill payment.
4. Enter the amount of the down payment and confirm the payment.

Please allow three business days for the funds to be transferred to the notary's in-trust account.

 

3. Plan for additional costs

You need to plan for certain additional expenses when buying a home. Here are a few to consider:

Mortgage transaction fees

Building inspection and appraisal fees
Provincial taxes on the mortgage insurance premium for homes in Quebec and Ontario
Federal and provincial sales taxes (new home purchase)

Property taxes

Municipal and school taxes
Quebec real estate transfer tax (welcome tax)
Adjustment for property taxes prepaid by the seller

Other expenses

Moving fees
Home insurance
Home improvement (painting, interior decorating, etc.)
Utilities (electricity, heating, etc.)

4. Request a pre-approved mortgage loan

You will enhance your negotiating power and the credibility of your offer to purchase if, before beginning your search, you ask to be pre-approved by a National Bank advisor (either a branch representative or a mortgage development manager). He can even give you a range of affordable home prices to make your house hunting easier.

5. Find your home

Why wait? Start looking now.

What kind of home do you want? A house, a condo, a duplex? Would you like to live in the city or the country? Do you want to buy a new construction or an existing home? These are some of the important questions you’ll have to answer.

A real estate agent can help you in your search for an existing home. If you’re looking to buy a new home, you will have to deal directly with the builder (or the builder’s sales staff).

Want to do your own research? Newspapers and real estate agency websites can give you a good idea of the properties for sale.

6. Make your offer

The offer to purchase is the document containing all the information necessary for closing the transaction.

Your real estate agent, notary* or lawyer will draw up this document, which includes the following information:

The purchase price
The ownership transfer date
The property included and/or excluded from the transaction
The conditions relating to the offer (inspection, etc.)

You can change your offer if the seller makes a counter-offer; that is, you can adjust your conditions to satisfy both parties.

7. Obtain your mortgage loan

The following are the main steps in applying for a mortgage. Your advisor will explain each one in detail at your first meeting and is there to support you throughout your home buying experience.

1. Assessing your needs with the Customized Mortgage Plan

Thanks to the National Bank Customized Mortgage Plan, at your first meeting with your advisor, you will assess your needs and determine the mortgage solution that best suits your budget, risk tolerance and financial commitments.

This practical tool analyzes your mortgage financing needs and identifies the solution that meets your needs.

2. The financing application

Your advisor assembles all the documents and information required for your application:

Offer to purchase
Proof of employment and income
Proof of downpayment and assets
Assessment of mortgage insurance requirements
Any other required documentation (e.g. lease, proof of other sources of income)

3. Mortgage insurance

Mortgage insurance allows buyers to purchase a home with a smaller downpayment. If your mortgage loan exceeds 80% of the property value, it will need to be insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial Canada.

4. Property appraisal

To confirm the market value of the home you’re interested in, it is important to have the property appraised. The appraiser is hired by the Bank, and certain fees apply.

5. Loan approval

At this stage, if all of the conditions required to secure your mortgage have been met, your loan will be approved and you’ll be about to become a home owner.

6. Registration of property by a notary*

The seller is responsible for providing the following documents to the notary*:

Location certificate (there may be some exceptions where the certificate is not provided by the seller)
Municipal and school tax bills

7. Signing of legal documents

You will meet with your notary* to sign the following official documents:

Deed of sale
Mortgage deed
Adjustment of municipal and school taxes
Credit agreement

Congratulations, you’re now a home owner!

8. Disbursement of the mortgage loan

The Bank issues payment of the loan to the notary*, who then pays the seller.

9. Continuity of service

An advisor will provide you with ongoing support in order to meet your current and future needs, including:

Administrative changes (e.g. frequency and date of payments)
Mortgage renewal
Assessment of mortgage insurance requirements
Other financial needs (investment solutions, financial planning4, trust services, securities brokerage services, financing solutions, and estate services)


1 The insurance premium can be added to your total mortgage loan. File review fees for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial Canada and applicable taxes on the premium must be paid separately.

2 To be eligible for the Home Buyers’ Plan, the selected home must be located in Canada, purchased or built before October 1 of the calendar year following the RRSP withdrawal and serve as the buyer’s principal residence within a year of being purchased or built. You and your spouse can each withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP. You have 15 years, as of the second calendar year after withdrawal, to repay your RRSP. Your annual repayment must be equal to 1/15 of the total amounts withdrawn.

3 Subject to National Bank credit approval. Certain conditions apply.

4 Our financial planners are registered under the license of National Bank Securities Inc., a wholly owned National Bank of Canada subsidiary.

*Quebec only