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If you’re ready to buy your first home, you may be working with a mortgage advisor if you’re not buying with cash. Given that purchasing a home can be the largest investment you’ve ever made, talking about mortgages and finances can seem pretty overwhelming. Here are the most important things to ask so that you have a good grasp of the fundamentals:

How do I know if I qualify for a mortgage? In Canada, there are a number of factors that banks take into consideration when deciding whether to give someone a loan. This includes things like the amount of down payment you can afford, your current income and the consistency of it, and your credit score.  A mortgage advisor can look at your finances and tell you how well you will stack up in the eyes of a major bank.

What is a pre-approval and do I need one? A pre-approval is a bank’s way of telling you what your maximum budget will be for purchasing a home. Most real estate agents recommend you request one before you start viewing homes. Not only does it help you narrow your selection, but it can give you a leg up on the competition should you find yourself in a bidding war.

What are my options if I don’t qualify for a mortgage? Thanks to some of Canada’s new regulations, which came into effect in early 2018, many people who would have qualified for a mortgage under the old guidelines find they no longer do. While one obvious solution is to hold off on purchasing until you have saved more money or increased your credit rating, a good mortgage advisor can also talk to you about other options, such as private lenders.