First-Time Home Buyer's Guide

Buying Your First Home Can Be Stressful - We Get It.

That’s why we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide to buying your first home in the Durham Region.

Being a homeowner can be intimidating. With home maintenance fees, a mortgage, and utilities and bills you would’ve never otherwise thought about paying before you’ve looked into buying a home.

Nonetheless, you shouldn’t let these aspects that every homeowner has to deal with get in the way of you enjoying your new home to settle down in the Durham Region.

Understanding Your Mortgage

If you’re buying your first home in the Durham Region, you’re going to want to know what types of mortgages are available to you in Canada.

Here are the 5 mortgage types to take into account when looking at purchasing your first home in the Durham Region.

Open Mortgage

Looking to pay off a large payment on your mortgage or pay it off entirely with no penalty? Then an open mortgage is just what you’re looking for. There is the maximum amount of flexibility available to you in an open mortgage that you won’t be able to find with other mortgage types.

Closed Mortgage

Very commonly chosen amongst homebuyers, a closed mortgage is a commitment with a predetermined interest rate, over a predetermined amount of time. The borrower of the loan may select a fixed rate or a variable/adjustable rate depending on their needs. In most cases, a buyer who chooses to use a closed mortgage will have to pay a penalty if the loan is fully paid before the designated end of term. The benefit is that closed mortgages also tend to have a lower interest rate than an open one. 

Hybrid Mortgage

A hybrid mortgage means that more than one type of mortgage is contained in a single mortgage registration. This allows for anywhere between 2-100 different products in the registration of the mortgage. These can vary from a variable rate, line of credit, fixed rate, or any combination. 

Convertible Mortgage

An agreement made at the beginning of a homeowner’s term that allows the borrower to change the type of mortgage they hold during the term. It also offered lower rates than an open mortgage. 

Reverse Mortgage

A mortgage which allows homeowners 55 years and older to convert their home equity into either a lump sum payment or monthly cash payments - this is generally for living expenses. 

What Is Included In A Mortgage?

So you want to know what components mortgages are made up of - or you should anyway. Here are the 4 main crucial things that make up a mortgage:


The amount of money that pays down your outstanding loan amount.


The cost of borrowing money. The amount you pay is determined by your interest rate and loan balance.


The property assessments collected by your local government. Lenders typically collect a portion of these taxes in every mortgage payment and hold them in a property tax account until they’re due.


Offers financial protection from risk. Similar to taxes, homeowners’ insurance payments are typically held in an account then paid to a company. 

Remember - the key to saving money on your mortgage is to pay off the principal as quickly as possible.

So You Want To Know About Home Maintenance

Now that you’ve covered the big financial monster, you want to know how to expect unexpected costs from your new home. 

There are always going to be the obvious utility bills and fees you simply can’t avoid - but how about those home maintenance fees?

When it comes to worrying about how much you will pay for the upkeep of your Durham Region home - you simply won’t have a guarantee of what’s to come. 

However, what should be taken into consideration is planning in the case that you do incidentally come across those pesky problems and fees. 

So while ongoing operation costs on the monthly should always be accounted for like gas and hydro, to internet, and even water and waste - those aspects you can absolutely narrow down. 

On the other hand, estimated annual costs you can never be sure of but should account for nonetheless in the Durham Region are:

  • General outdoor maintenance (ex. landscaping, yard issues, gardening)
  • Plumber, electrician, appliance repair
  • New roofing (for homes older than 10-15 years)
  • Furniture 
  • Replacing a major appliance (ex. washing machine, stove, fridge, dishwasher)
  • Replacing a furnace 
  • Painting the interior/exterior
  • Flooded basement 

Do you have questions about buying a home in the Durham Region? Our agents are here to help. Contact us online or call 905-668-1511 to speak to one of our real estate professionals today!

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