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.

Leave a Comment

Tell me about your "dream" house or condo.  What would it look like and where would it be located?  For example, I'd love to live by a Canadian Lake in a pine, all-season cottage.



  1. My dream home is by the sea. One level with veranda and open concept

  2. I'd love to live near the Canadian Niagara Falls, Ontario so I could visit them everyday!

  3. My dream home would be just off of a beach in Crete - preferably Balos - and would be a small Mediterranean villa (lots of marble!) Thanks for the chance

  4. A big home with 6 bedrooms, lots of bathrooms and lots of room to play and have privacy!!

  5. My dream house is a small house with a beautiful backyard in the suburbs.

  6. My dream home would have a backyard of white sand and overlook the ocean.

  7. My dream home would be within walking distance of the water and be surrounded by trees

  8. My dream house would be in the mountains and it would be a bungalow style so I did not have to contend with stairs. It would have a great outside area too so we could enjoy the mountain air and entertain friends and family.

  9. My dream house is somewhere tropical and I can have a garden to grow my own food.

  10. My dream house be a chateau style house with a big lot, hot tub and a pathway to the sky lifts in Whistler

  11. My dream house would be a beachhouse style in hawaii right by the beach!

  12. My dream house would be a bungalow style house by the beach in hawaii

  13. My dream home would be in Saskatoon overlooking the river. It would be a large 2 story home with 5 bedrooms and 4 baths.

  14. My dream house is my parents house - a stone 2 story house in the city on a large lot on a beautiful river!

  15. My dream house would be more mobility friendly, all on one level as I have mobility issues, it would be in a quiet treed area bu tclose enough to the towns ammenities, with lots of windows as I like light

  16. My dream home would be in a quiet residential area with enough room for my dog and my grandkids :)

  17. My dream home would be a beach-front bungalow with veranda on a lovely treed yard in the Okanagan .

  18. My dream house is a small house with a beautiful backyard! Thanks!

  19. My dream home would be overlooking the ocean

  20. I would like a condo in a large city or a cottage on the ocean.

  21. My dream home would be a large new home with a water view.

  22. My dream home would be an ocean view in California, 3/4 of the Canadian weather is worth daydreaming about anywhere else.

  23. My dream home would be an ocean view in California, 3/4 of the Canadian weather is worth daydreaming about anywhere else.

  24. My dream home would be a large condo (no yard work ;) ) in Victoria, close to amenities but not downtown.

  25. my dream home is on a piece of property outside the city but close enough to go to the city for entertainment and shopping, somewhere that we can have outdoor fires, swimming and family fun

  26. A larger home would be my dream and a detached home just outside of the City.

  27. My dream house would be a log house with a red steel roof on a nice mountain lake, but not too far from town!

  28. My dream home would be a four bedroom house with a good walkability rating!

  29. My dream home would be outside the city, preferably by a lake

  30. My dream home would be outside the city, preferably by a lake\mountain

  31. My dream house would be a new house in the country near family and friends.

  32. My dream home would be within walking distance of the water and have a view of the water and access to the beach and be surrounded by a beautiful flower and vegetable garden and orchard.

  33. it has to be warm, sunny, happy, and filled with those I love. thanks

  34. Would be nice to help the kids buy their first house - small and do it yourself - so manageable

  35. My dream condo would be in downtown Toronto, overlooking Lake Ontario, with unobstructed views from at least 2 sides, with 2 bedrooms and a gourmet kitchen.

  36. My dream home would be a modern cottage style on a Canadian lake with a sandy beach.

  37. My dream house would be somewhere in the country but close enough to town, surrounded by trees and by a lake.

  38. My dream home is one where i can walk right from my first level into my backyard and dive into my pool.

  39. My dream home would be a house on the beach!! Tall ceilings, lots of windows.

  40. My dream home is downtown with good access to bike paths, transit, and parks.


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