LowestRates.ca Presents the Mortgage Journey, a Step-by-Step Home Buying Companion for Canadians


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LowestRates.ca Presents the Mortgage Journey, a Step-by-Step Home Buying Companion for Canadians

  1. 1. Rates FIND THE LOWEST RATES ANYWHERE ... INSTANTLY! The Mortgage Journey n •• _I 1-, ~
  2. 2. Part One: Big Decision Time ·--•Rates · AND TI-lE LOWEST RAlES .ANYWHERE... INSTANID'l
  3. 3. - Part One: Big Decision Time The good news is that it's never been ( You should also think about whether easier to find basic mortgage you're up for the routine maintenance information. From bank websites to and repairs that come w ith home c 0 ownership. Chores like shoveling iu financial blogs, newspapers to mortgage ~ cutting grass and cleaning eaves snow, brokers, learning about mortgages is as ~ ::s "0 troughs are not for everyone. If you w easy as turning on your computer or picking up the phone. want to contract out these services you should have enough money left in your budget to comfortably pay for them: ( Wh ile taking the first step on your figure at least $200 a month at a mortgage journey means education L minimum. learning about how mortgages work - it also means introspection, where you think about whether you're ready for home ownership and the comm itments that come with it. --------------------- As w ith most big decisions, introspection is the hard part! l -(To start, you' ll want to consider what ('" c <U a: l your next two, three - even five years will probably look like. While no one has a crystal ball, if you think you might be moving for a job, retiring, going back to school, etc. , then taking out a mortgage might not be the right financial move. Your timeframe for staying in a home is important because buying and selling property brings substantial transaction costs. You also don't want to be exposed to the caprices of the housing market. If you know you' ll need to sell in a year or two, buying could make you vulnerable to a market downturn. LowestRate$'~. FW1l<ELCNSTF«1BS~.sf.wll>1
  4. 4. Part One: Big Decision Time Key Benefits of Home Ownership - Allows you to build equity over time - - Allows you to make improvements to the property Of course, you won't get far on your mortgage journey without income. c: ::J 0 E ~ ... ~ & ~ .... 11) ::J .., .... 0 z .. Q) E 0 (,) .E Here, you' ll need to decide whether your household's monthly income is stable enough to handle regular mortgage payments. Borrowers too often focus on the total dollar amount of their income rather than the stability of the income stream. In general, two or more sources of income are better than one, and regular income is preferable to income that fluctuates greatly. There are no absolutes here, but income security and stability is definitely something to think about as you start the mortgage journey. - A home's value generally rises over the long term - A home is a tangible asset in today's uncertain times - Home ownership is a great way to put down roots in your community - It's yours! Key Drawbacks of Home Ownership - Requires a substantial downpayment - Substantial closrng costs on both purchase and sale - Requires maintenance, repairs and upkeep - Owner must pay property taxes, insurance and utilities - Real estate cannot necessarily be sold quickly; vulnerable to market fluctuations - Substantial interest rate risk with variable mortgage products In the end, the first step of the mortgage journey is about looking yourself in the mirror as much as it is about crunching numbers.
  6. 6. l=-=~J Part Two: Figuring Out Your Budget - The Gross Debt Service ratio is based on a simple princi~ a borrower's monthly housing costs shouldn't be more than 32 percent of their gross monthly income. 0 :s a: Q) u ·~ So what constitutes a monthly housing cost? In the eyes of Canadian lending institutions, housing costs are monthly mortgage payments, including both principal and interest, heating expenses, property taxes, and condo fees (calculated at 50%) where applicable. ~ .... .Q Q) The Total Debt Service ratio takes into account your total monthly obligations from all sources. TDS includes your monthly housing costs, plus any other debt payments, including credit card bills, car loans, lines of credit, student loans and other personal debts. Here again the rule is simple: your total monthly debt payments should not exceed 40 percent of your gross monthly income. Q GDS and TDS Calculations Here is an example of a GDS Calculation: Here is an example of a TDS calculation: $1,000 Mortgage Payment $300 Heating Expenses $400 Property Taxes + $300 Condo Fees $2,500 Housing Costs $200 Credit Card Bill + $300 Car Payment $3,000 Total Monthly Obligations $2,000 Monthly Housing Obligations Monthly Housing Obligations $2,000 Gross Monthly Income $8,000 Total Monthly Obligations $3,000 Gross Monthly Income $8,000 = 25 % GDS Divide your monthly housing obligations by your gross monthly income. A mortgage applicant with the above numbers would almost surely qualify: they are well below the 32 percent GDS threshold. II = 37.5% TDS Divide your monthly housing obligations by your gross monthly income. Once again, a borrower with these numbers should qualify: well below the 40 TDS threshold. II II Banks take your GDS and TDS together to arrive at a final lending decision. These ratios are standard but not absolute; borrowers with superb credit and an extremely large down payment may be able to qualify even if they breach the 32/40 thresholds.
  7. 7. I j Part Two: Figuring Out Your Budget It takes time to save all that money! Nonetheless, you can 't finalize your budget until you know rough ly how large your downpayment will be. First-time home buyers are allowed to withdraw up to $25,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RASP 's) to put toward a downpayment under the Home Buyers' Plan. The money can be taken out tax free but must be completely repaid with in i 5 years. This is a great tool for Canadians taking their first mortgage journey. - As a general rule, it's wise to muster as large a downpayment as you can so that you minimize CMHC premiums and keep your loan as small as possible. You should also have cash available for closing costs, which include land transfer taxes, legal fees, title insurance and in some cases a land survey. As a rule of thumb, buyers should have at least 5 percent of their prospective home's purchase price available for closing costs and unforeseen contingencies. lp :Q $~5,000 'frQw:P yQur RRSP! To see a list of closing costs, click here or go to page i 9 . If your downpayment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, you will need CMHC mortgage insurance by law. Mortgage insurance protects lenders against defaults and allows borrowers to purchase homes with as little as 5 percent down. As with all forms of insurance, premiums must be paid, and the CMHC currently charges between 0.5 and 2.9 percent of the total loan amount, depending on the size of the down payment and the perceived riskiness of the borrower. The smaller the down payment, the higher the premium. Once you've taken the time to tally up your available funds and figure out how much mortgage you can afford, you can set a budget that you're comfortable with and start shopping for a home. Now you're ready for the fun part - house hunting!
  8. 8. Part Three: Preparing Your House Hunt FIND n-E LOWEST RAlES ANYM-!ERE. .. INSTANTL.Y!
  9. 9. Part Three: Preparing Your House Hunt - ffilemished credit can stop your mortgage journey in its tracks. That's why you have to check your credit report very early in the home-buying process. t: 0 0. I» a: 0 ... :0 f 0 ... :l ~ I» .5 E m )( w Canadians can get their credit report at either transunion.ca or equifax.com for a small fee. Check the score and read the report for any unexplained notations or factual errors. Generally, a score of over 600 is considered good, while a score above 750 is deemed to be excellent. Document Checklist Required documentation does vary slightly from lender to lender, but you'll definitely need: D An employment letter with your employer's name, address, current telephone number, HR contact and your length of employment. D A pay stub or letter verifying your compensation. D Two years' Notice of Assessments from your tax return if self employed. D Most recent T2 statements. Don't be afraid to call the credit bureau if you fi nd inaccuracies in the report I ~ou'll want to sort out any issues as ~ uickly as possible. D Two months of bank statements. D All investment statements, including account balances and the current market value of all financial assets, such as stocks and bonds. D RSP statements. ~ ( Chasing down financial documents i~ :6 ~ {!. ~ • E :;, 8 Q ... anathema to all but the most organized home buyers, but it still has to be done. Before you engage a lender for pre-approval, you should get copies of all required personal and financial information . Usually, digital versions such as scans or PDFs will suffice. :l ~ ~ (!) LowestRate$'.., -...nt>1 AI-OT>£U).<,mfR<ITE!3~.. D All liability statements, including credit card balances, line of credit statements, lease agreements, loan agreements, and alimony and child support, where applicable. D Proof of 10, including your social insurance number and valid government-issued photo 10 with your current address.
  10. 10. Part Three: Preparing Your House Hunt l ( Getting pre-approved w lihelp you i immensely as you begin your house hunt. You'll have the confidence of knowing that a bank has analyzed your finances and is willing to lend you a specific amount of money to purchase a home. You' ll also be in a better bargaining position when it comes time to make an offer. What is Amortization? The process of paying off a loan over a period of time by making regular payments toward both interest and principal. The amortization period is the total amount of time it will take to pay off the loan. Most mortgages in Canada have an amortization period lasting 25 years. What is a Term? Your lender will want to know the approximate size of your downpayment and the kind of mortgage you want. By now you've familiarized yourself with mortgages. The length of time a borrower and lender must abide by the provisions of the mortgage agreement. Such provisions include the interest rate to be paid and the method in which it is calculated. the payment schedule, as well as other details such as prepayment options, break fees, etc. Most lenders offer terms ranging from 6 months to 10 years, with 5 year durations being the most popular in Canada. --------------------------------------~ You should know the amortization period you want (e.g. 20 years) and the term you'd like (e.g. I 0-year fixed) . You can visit our help centre if you need a refresher on the different mortgage products available to Canadians. Once you qualify, your lender will issue you a w ritten confirmation of the pre-approval. Most lenders will allow you to lock in your interest rate for 90 to 120 days while you search for a home. This is called a rate hold. Insist on one: G want to be protected if rates move Y?U higher! LowestRateSJ.., AICTI-E!D...e!TIWIE~.. r<STA'III>I j With your prep work complete you'll be ready to visit open houses and comb through listings with confidence. Having a pre-approval in your back pocket allows you to move quickly and decisively when a great property turns up.
  11. 11. Part Four: The House Hunt • Rate~ , FND THE LONEST RATES ANYWHERE... NSTANTLY!
  12. 12. Part Four: The House Hunt 8. 0 0 Cf) e 0 Figure out what your housing needs wil~ be both now and some time into the future. You can do this by asking yourself some fundamental questions: J :E C) 5 s 'tJ • c :::::l (!) g) :s 0 :I: - How much indoor space do I need? - How much outdoor space will I need? - How many bedrooms and bathrooms should my home have? - What features do I need? ~ =' ~ .... ::s .... (I) ~ ('IJ • :iE C1) 5 >(!) ~ ::::J (/) i o e oncirnJe, ~!ect - What neighbourhoods work for my needs and budget? CL. - REALTORS ~ ~ real estate on.e of the lillla belol<J. ft Residential Properties ... Commertiol Properties ~ lnlernolr Properties onol [B REALTOR• Sto"h I]! How REAlTORS~ Help It's important to get an idea of what different homes are worth in the areas you're interested in. The Canadian Real Estate Association has an excellent Multiple Listing Service website, Realtor.ca. You can search properties by map and filter your results by price, available parking, etc. [B REAlTORS Core• m ~ l'AGENT connait le marthe de l'~r! PoiW cel'lrinuer, sileC'tionl'ler un de 5 1ien~ ci-d-euoo.>s. ft Propri~s re~denlielles 1ft Propriet.s <ommertioles ~ Prop~s rnkHnofionoles [!3 Reperer un ogenl imnrobilier £B REAlTORS Core~
  13. 13. Part Four: The House Hunt .. c CD a <t Q) • 1ii 1;) w (0 (I) a: cu ... (I) <.!' fl, c ~ • (%) > Cl) (fJ ~ 0 l: c 8. 0 Agents have access to information that is otherwise hard to find, like the recent selling prices of other homes in the neighborhood, and how many days those homes were on the market. While it's certainly possible to buy a home without an agent, most Canadians still l :ose to work with one when they rt their house hunt. Agents can help you in a variety of ways, including: - Informing you on current market conditions. - Previewing properties to save you time. - Arranging showings. - Drafting a purchase agreement. - Providing you with advice along the , way. I r Many Canadians find their agents through referrals from friends or family. Checking out the "For Sale" signs in the neighbourhoods you're interested in is another tried and true method of finding a real estate agent. A great way to get a feel for a prospective agent is by visiting some of their open houses. You' ll be able to tell a lot about their manner and professionalism from this type of interaction. You' ll also be able to see if they stage their homes well . In the end, an agent has to pass that essential 'gut check. ' Do you feel ~omfortable w ith them? (Yes, it's time to hit the open house circuit! The more homes you see, the better you' ll get at judging their relative value, because you' ll have a good basis for comparison. Also remember to follow up w ith your realtor on the final sale prices of the homes you have already seen. This will tell you how hot l the market really is and how accurately altors are pricing their listings. LowestRate$'.e• fN)TI-£~-.aTRA1ESHJMt£FE... NST.cNJ'D1 You want to spend your mortgage dollars as wisely as possible. That's why taking a smart, thorough approach to house hunting is so important.
  15. 15. Part Five: The Offer Once you've decided to buy a house, you' ll need to submit an Agreement of Purchase and Sale to the seller. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale is basically what it sounds like: a legally binding document between the buyer and seller of a property setting out the terms of the transaction. This is where working with a real estate agent can be really helpful, because they know the process well and should have all of the required paperwork you need. Like all contracts, you should read the Agreement over very carefully before you submit it, because the terms are binding. You may even want to have it reviewed by a lawyer or notary to make sure it is complete and says what you think it says. If you have a real estate agent, they will most likely present your offer to the sellers and the sellers' agent on offer day. Generally the offer is either accepted or sent back with a counter offer. Occasionally it is rejected outright. W ith a counter offer, the seller usually asks for a higher price or a change in the terms of the agreement. You can either agree to the new terms, make a counter offer of you r own, or walk away from the ~urchase. . j ~-------------------------- a.. ] ~ :: ~ (/1 e a. (I) ~ If you live in certain Canadian cities, offer day can be a stressful, pressure-packed occasion. You'll likely be one of several bidders interested in the property and you could even face the temptation to enter a bidding war w ith the other potential buyers. Here too, working with an experienced real estate agent can really come in handy - they should be able to assess whether or not you have a likely shot at getting the house, and they' ll be able help you decide if bidding up the price makes sense. In most cases, bidding wars are to be avoided, but each offer is unique. The most important thing to do is to keep a cool head and not get emotional about t he property in question. You don't want to end up overpaying or spending more on your house than you can reasonably afford. If your offer is accepted you ' ll need to supply the deposit within 24 hours usually. Deposits can range from 5 to I 0 percent of the purchase price. Have your check ready! Having an offer accepted is one of the most thrilling parts of the mortgage journey- it's a moment you will remember for a long time.
  16. 16. .. - Rates , AND 11-tE LONEST RATES AfIYWHERE... INSTANID'l
  17. 17. - Step 1: Select the term option you want Part Six: The Transaction ( once you have a signed Offer of ~ Purchase and Sale in hand, you need to contact your lender. They will verify your financial information and prepare your application for final approval by the underwriting department. Your lender may also ask you to provide a property appraisal and land survey. This lets them verify the value and legitimacy of the property that the mortgage funds will be secured against. c 0 u; ·u ~ .~ CJ c c u. 1'0 < l ) (As the final approval is being ) processed, you'll also need to finalize I wh ich mortgage product you are taking. Even though you've already spent some time learning about mortgages, making the final decision is often difficult. You'll need to really think about how much interest rate security you require and how long you want the mortgage term to be. Keep things simple by breaking your decision down into steps: '-- The term is the amount of time that you are bound to the conditions of the current mortgage contract. Your term sets out all aspects of the mortgage, including interest rates, payment options, etc. In Canada, terms usually last from 6 months to 10 years. At the end of the term the contract expires and you can renegotiate a new term at that time. Terms can be open or closed - open terms allow you to pay off the mortgage at any time, making them an ideal choice if you are going to sell your home. You can also usually convert to a closed term at any time. Closed terms lack this flexibility: they place restrictions on how much of your loan you can pay off every year, and charge large penalties for discharging your mortgage early. Step 2: Select your mortgage interest rate structure The main choice here is whether to go with a variable or fixed rate. You can learn more about each option in our help centre. Variable rates tend to be lower but rise or fall based on market conditions. Most variable rates are tied to the Bank of Canada overnight rate. When the Bank raises this rate, your mortgage interest rate will rise too. Fixed rates stay the same for the duration of the term. You get security and predictable payments, but your interest rate will be (slightly) higher. The longer the term, generally the higher the fixed rate will be. Step 3: Select your amortization period This is the total period of time until the loan is paid off in full . In Canada, most borrowers opt for a 25 year amortization, but you can also select other durations. Amortizations lasting 15 years are popular with those who want t o pay off their mortgage quickly. Of course, the shorter the amortization period, the higher your monthly payment will be, because you are paying the loan off more quickly. Step 4: Select your payment schedule Even though most people think of mortgage payments as being made monthly, you can repay the loan bi-weekly or weekly as well. In fact, more frequent payments can reduce your interest costs and allow you to pay off your mortgage months sooner! LowestRate$1c fN>THEt...OI.e:ITAA1E8~.. 1NST PNibt
  18. 18. Part Six: The Transaction In the period between offer day and closing day, there are a lot of loose ends to take care of. You may want to have a home inspection done, to make sure the house is structurally and mechanically sound. Home inspection agencies vary by region, but you should make sure they are fully licensed and come with strong recommendations. Your real estate agent will likely be able to provide you with some names. You'll also need to make arrangements for movers, as well as electricity, cable and gas hook-ups, etc. Most Offers of Purchase and Sale have one or two viewings written into the agreement, I~here you can view the property again ~ see what you'll need for it. o ( You probably can't wait to get to "' closing day - that's when you finally obtain legal possession of the property. (I) Both you and the seller will have to go 0 0 in to your respective lawyers' offices to en sign a raft of legal papers on that day. n ·= rn .2 0 Your lender will transfer your mortgage funds to your lawyer, who will in-turn transfer the money to the seller or the seller's lawyer. G j You'll have to provide your down payment (minus the deposit) to your lawyer, as well as most of the closing costs. Of course, you've already set money aside for closing costs, which can be substantial. You should have funds available for a variety of expenses, including: . ----------------~ Closing Costs Land Survey: $800-$2500. Some lenders require a new survey to outline the boundaries of the property. Downpayment. Usually 5 to 25 percent of the purchase price, minus whatever deposit you've already paid. Mortgage Insurance. If your downpayment is less than 20 percent of the purchase price, you'll have to pay a mortgage insurance premium, at 1. 75-2.75 percent of the mortgage value. Land Transfer Tax. One of the biggest closing costs there is, at .5 to nearly 4 percent of the purchase price, depending on where the property is located. Legal Fees and Disbursements: $500-$1500. You'll need a real estate lawyer to handle all the paperwork. Title Insurance: $100-$400. This insures the lender's mortgage funds if there is a dispute about the ownership of the property. HST on all services related to the purchase of the home. Also applies to the purchase price of a newly built home. Must be paid in cash at the time of closing. LowestRateSJ.c. FWll<ELO.<STAAlES-.. ~ Once the funds have been received, the seller's lawyer will send the keys to your lawyer, who will send them along to you when the deal closes. You'll also be given a copy of the deed. Congrats -you now own the home!
  19. 19. Part Seven: Paying Down Your Mortgage Rates AND 'THE LO'vVEST RATES ANYWHffiE... NSTANTLY!
  20. 20. Part Seven: Paying Down Your Mortgage One of the easiest ways to pay down a mortgage faster is increasing the frequency of your payments. More payments per month can cut down the amount of interest you're charged over the long run and allow you to pay off your mortgage principal far more quickly. And of course, reducing the number of years that you take to pay off your mortgage can add up to huge savings. Most banks in Canada allow you to choose between monthly, bi-weekly, accelerated bi-weekly and accelerated weekly payment schedules. Bi-weekly payments are popular with many Canadians because they allow mortgage payments to be coordinated with bi-weekly paychecks. Most people are shocked by the amount of money they can save by making more frequent payments. It seems like magic, but the math if undeniable: accelerated bi-weekly payments, for example, can save you a huge sum of money over the life of your ~oan. Lo 'e Rates IN)l)£..o.e9T!We---- With a mortgage of $400,000 taken out at 5 percent interest, for example, a borrower would save $33,941 .36 on a 25 year loan simply by making accelerated bi-weekly payments rather than monthly payments. And just think, weekly payments will save you even more money! Accelerating your payment schedule is a great way to shorten your mortgage journey and make it far less expensive in the long run. It's a step that every Canadian borrower should at least consider. .-----~r- ~ October 2013 - -~ I ~!II.. ..J
  21. 21. Part Seven: Paying Down Your Mortgage Another great way to pay off your mortgage faster is by making lump sum payments. Most mortgage contracts in Canada allow you to make at least one lump sum payment toward your principal every year. Many Canadians who find themselves with extra cash in the bank after a tax refund or annual bonus use the lump sum allowance to whittle down their mortgage principal and save themselves interest. You can also make lump sum payments when your mortgage comes up for renewal. Some lenders also provide other prepayment provisions in their mortgage agreements, such as allowing borrowers to "double-up" their payments each month up to a pre-determined maximum. Make sure you' re aware of all the prepayment and lump sum payment options that are available to you, and take advantage of them as much as ~ r finances will allow. LowestRateSJ..,.. Al-01iELO.>.!ETRAllB~--....m>t rYou should always keep tabs on where ') I interest rates are headed. A lower interest rate on your mortgage will allow you to pay it off years sooner. If you have an open mortgage, you may want to lock in at a certain point to take advantage of lower rates or avoid impending rate increases. Even if you have a closed term, it may, under certain conditions, be to your advantage to break your mortgage to reap savings from lower interest rates. It's often a good idea to check in with your mortgage broker or financial advisor halfway through your term to get a sense of whether it makes sense to stay in your mortgage given the Lcurrent interest rate environment. j Interest Rates
  22. 22. Part Eight: The Final Stretch of the Mortgage Journey ·-_., Rate~ AND THE LOWEST RATES ANYWHERE. .. INSTANTLY!
  23. 23. Part Eight: The Final Stretch of the Mortgage Journey - ~ o ~ Q) ~ ( Your first consideration shouldn't' be how much money you need or how you ' ll get the best deal, but rather, why you need the cash in the first place. Remember, to access home equity funds you'll be pledging your house as collateral and paying interest - that means you should only tap equity for a worthwhile purpose. .s:. .21 " Gl ... = & >. II) 0 0 ..J w :X: ~ Q) E If you've decided to tap your home's equity, you'll want to choose between a standard home equity loan and a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. A home equity loan is essentially a second loan secured against your house in addition to your mortgage. But unlike a mortgage, funds from a home equity loan go into your bank account as cash. Sounds tempting, right? 0 3: So, what are some valid reasons to tap equity? There are many, but three really stand out: HELOCs allow you to withdraw funds as needed rather than receiving the entire loan up front. Basically, the bank assesses your equity position and approves you for a line ::: 6~ Ill ::) Three Good Reasons to Tap Home Equity Debt consolidation. By pooling together multiple debts into one home equity loan, you can simplify your payments and potentially save big on borrowing costs. Sending a son or daughter to school. Post-secondary education isn't cheap, and sometimes it's hard to top up those RESPs every year. Some parents tap their home's equity to help pay for their children's education. Home renovations. Using home equity to pay for home improvements is a tried and tested strategy, but be careful: reno costs can escalate quickly, and even though improvements to your home will increase its value, you still need to pay the home equity loan back, with interest. of credit secured against your house1 You can borrow funds up to an approved limit and pay them off on an ongoing basis. There is generally a minimum payment due each month, as well as the option to pay off as much of the loan as you want. You can withdraw and repay a HELOC in true revolving fashion . HELOCs are usually offered w ith a variable interest rate based on the prime lending rate plus whatever margin the bank is charg ing . Standard home equity loans, in contrast, usually have fixed interest with a fixed payment schedule. See your bank or use a comparison site like LowestRates.ca to compare products and see which one makes the most sense for you. In general, HELOCs tend to be a better choice for those with ongoing cash needs, such as parents making tuition payments, etc. Home equity loans are better if you need a one-time lump sum to do something like a debt consolidation.
  24. 24. Part Eight: The Final Stretch of the Mortgage Journey - The most exhilarating part of the mortgage journey is getting to the finish line - the final payment. Paying off a mortgage in full is a liberating, th rilling moment. It's the point at which you cross over from being a borrower to a true homeowner, in every sense of the word. Your bank no longer has a claim on the roof over your head - what a nice concept! After you make your final mortgage payment you should receive a notice from your lender documenting that your mortgage is paid in full. Some lenders will send you your canceled mortgage note as well. Keep these documents in your records for safekeeping. As a follow up, it's a good idea to check your credit report after a few months to make sure that your mortgage payoff has been recorded by credit agencies. You don't want them thinking you still owe money on your mortgage when it's been paid off in full. Some homeowners celebrate the end of their mortgage by throwing a party or going out for dinner - after all that hard work, it's time to smell the roses. LowestRate~c• FN>ll-E~RAT6S~ .. I<ST...nt>1 Congratulations - you've finished the mortgage journey! We hope you've found the eight-part guide we've put together to be useful. As you've seen, taking on a mortgage doesn't need to be intimidating -you just have to follow the right steps along the way and do some smart planning. From all of us at LowestRates.ca, we wish you the best of luck with your mortgage, whether you're just starting out or already well along the path to becoming mortgage free.