But first, here is a picture of our new house:
And here are the things I've learned:
1. Always Pay Credit Card Bills on Time!
I had about a 3 month period of time that my husband was in school and I couldn't pay off my entire credit card on my own income. What I did terribly wrong, though, was to not even make the minimum payment ($10 or so) on time. Instead I figured I'd just pay it all off once he was back to work. Which I did.
Well, long story short, I kinda wrecked my credit rating just by this short period of not paying my minimum payments. Credit card companies don't seem to care if you carry a balance, AS LONG AS YOU MAKE YOUR MINIMUM PAYMENTS! So for just a couple $10 payments my credit rating would've still been intact! What a joke.
2. Start Saving Early
As much as we managed to scrape together what we needed in a very short time, things would have been much easier if we had started earlier. Most employers are able to take a portion of your paycheque BEFORE you pay taxes on it and put it into an RRSP account for you, which can later be used for a downpayment. Some employers even have an RRSP matching program to help you save!
Automatic savings are the most helpful, and if it's a small enough amount you usually don't ever really notice it leaving your account. Just have it automatically taken out as soon as you get your paycheque. If it's not there, you can't very well spend it, right? With most banks you can also set up automatic savings plans (I like ING Direct for savings as I can set it all up and change it around whenever I like online).
3. Keep Papers Organized!
Everything I've been through in the last month or so would have been infinitely harder if I wasn't able to easily find all the papers I needed. Rental agreements, notices of assessment, paystubs, RRSP statements... anything you get in the mail that looks like it could be important probably will be at some point.
I keep all my important papers in an Ikea box with file folders, but I saw a neat idea on Pinterest recently as well. Make up a small binder for each category and fill it with clear page protectors for any receipts, papers, etc. I will most likely switch to the binder system within the next 6 months or so, as I think it'll make things a lot easier to find.
4. Get Help!
I found a mortgage broker in Port Moody named Caroline Krilic. She is amazing! When I first contacted her, I thought it would be at least 6 more months of saving before we'd even be able to think about buying a place. Well, here I am buying a place less than 2 months later! Also, she has gone above and beyond to ensure that everything is approved and that we're not getting overloaded with things to do.
So if you're looking into buying a house, I'd highly recommend getting in touch with her. This is her website:
If you're the do-it-yourself type, you can buy a place on your own and find a mortgage on your own... but having a realtor and/or mortgage broker on your side sure does make things go a lot smoother. And buying is stressful!
5. Buying is Stressful!
I know I just mentioned that, but it's worth repeating. The stress is nothing compared with the joys of owning a home, though :)
That's about it for today!