Wednesday, May 01, 2019

First-time Home Buyer's Guide & Contest (WIN Visa Gift Cards)

A Poem About Mortgages
by Jenna Em

"Mortgage" is not a rhyming word.
It's also hard to say.
And some would also argue:
It's very long to pay.

"Mortgage" means you buy a home,
And borrow from the bank,
Give back principal and interest,
Or they come and give a spank!

Mortgages last for years,
And then the home is yours,
But there's still no escaping:
Mortgages can be chores.

So a mortgage tip from me to you:
Five-year fixed rates are great.
Do bi-weekly payments and lump sums,
To really accelerate!


I remember buying my very first home.  I was in my mid-20's and had my first "real" job.  At the time, my boyfriend (now husband) and I were looking for an apartment.

-"Why not buy a house?", asked my dad.
-"A mortgage carries for about the same as rent.  But unlike an apartment, it's eventually paid off and you own it."  My dad was onto something.

I went to our local big bank to inquire.  They asked about my salary, assets and debt. I was proud to crow that both my boyfriend and I had new jobs and...wait for it...we each earned the equivalent of today's minimum wage.  We both owned second-hand cars that weren't worth much, and had very little debt.  We also had a small amount of savings.

Very shortly after my meeting with the bank, I learned that we were approved as first-time buyers!  We knew how much we were approved for, and therefore what our budget for a house would be.  Back then, the 5-year fixed closed mortgage rate was 7.14% if you put down a 5% deposit.  My boyfriend and I were delighted for such a "low" rate, which is crazy high by today's standards.

After viewing about 100 houses, we found "the one", placed an offer, bartered and closed the deal.  I couldn't believe our good fortune!  We had a house, a house of our own!  It had dark purple carpets and warped parquet flooring, but she was all ours!  It was even close to shopping, public transit and a fitness club.  We were elated!

-"Don't forget to put aside money for land transfer tax", said my dad, the voice of reason.
-"What's land transfer tax?", I asked in earnest.
-"Oh, and don't forget the money to pay the lawyer", added by dad.
-"We have to pay a lawyer?", I blinked.
-"Oh, and don't forget to put money aside for property tax.", my dad continued ebulliently.

I blinked dumbly.  I just hadn't seen this one coming or the other "add-ons" my dad had mentioned.  I had only factored in cable and telephone, and completely forgot about heat and hydro.  I had done my research, but not enough of it.  I wish I had done more.

But doing research and getting the right information is not hard.  For example, you don't have to go to the bank to get a mortgage.  And there are lots of great resources to point you in the right direction when starting your house hunt, investing in real estate, and learning mortgage hacks.  What I'm saying is that buying your very first home doesn't have to be difficult.

To this end, get's free First-Time Home Buyer's Guide.  It covers the pros and cons of renting vs. buying a home, mortgage terminology, steps to getting mortgage approval, understanding your debt ratios, the role of a real estate agent, the hidden costs of home ownership, making a house offer, moving, new home expenses, tips to paying off your mortgage faster, renewing your mortgage and more.   



Tammiko L
David C
Lillian B
Mona S
Bartolomeo S

WIN 1 of 5 $100 Visa gift cards from and!  Contest runs from Wednesday May 1, 2019 and closes on Wednesday May 15, 2019 at around 8:00 pm EST.  Winners will be contacted on or around Friday May 10th.  Contest is only open to Canada.  Enter below.
To Enter Contest, Click This Image & Enter Your Email
How to Enter

To enter the contest to WIN 1 of 5 $100 Visa gift cards, enter your email here to unlock's free First-time Home Buyer's Guide, which will also sign you up for their weekly round-up newsletter of the latest financial news and deals.

Important: your email address will be collected by, although you can unsubscribe at any time.  In order to be eligible to win, though, your email must still be subscribed at the time of the Visa gift card draw.

Five randomly drawn winners will be contacted by the blog, at which time you'll need to provide your Canadian shipping address for prize fulfillment only.

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