Getting Ready to Buy a Home in Ontario: A Mortgage Broker’s Guide to Preparation


Purchasing a home is one of life’s most significant milestones, especially in Ontario, where the real estate market continues to evolve dynamically. As a mortgage broker, I’ve guided countless clients through this intricate process, and I can’t stress enough the importance of being well-prepared before you even start looking for your new home. Preparation not only eases the process but also enhances your chances of getting a home that fits your budget and meets your needs. Here’s how you can prepare effectively.

Before diving into property listings, it’s crucial to understand what you can afford. Mortgage affordability isn’t just about how much a lender is willing to give you; it’s also about what you can comfortably pay back without straining your finances. Consider your income, debts, monthly expenses, and future expenditures that might not be evident now, like home maintenance, property tax increases, or changes in lifestyle.

Start with a thorough review of your financial situation. This includes checking your credit score, which plays a significant role in the mortgage application process. A higher credit score can help secure a lower interest rate, which means lower monthly payments. If your credit score needs improvement, consider delaying your home purchase to pay down debts and correct any credit report errors.

In Ontario, the minimum down payment is 5% of the home’s purchase price for properties less than $500,000. However, saving more than the minimum can be incredibly beneficial. A down payment of 20% or more helps avoid paying for mortgage default insurance, a necessity for down payments below 20%. Additionally, the larger your down payment, the smaller your loan and, subsequently, your monthly payments.

Mortgage pre-qualification is an initial step to determine how much you can potentially borrow. This is a preliminary assessment based on your financial information, including income, debts, assets, and employment. Getting pre-qualified helps set realistic expectations for your house hunting and shows real estate agents and sellers that you are serious and ready to buy.

When you apply for mortgage pre-qualification, you’ll need to provide various documents. These usually include identification, proof of income (like pay stubs and tax returns), proof of assets and investments, and information about your current debts. Having these documents ready in advance can speed up the pre-qualification process.

Remember to budget for additional costs associated with buying a home, such as closing costs, legal fees, land transfer taxes, and moving expenses. These can add up to a significant amount and should be included in your overall budget.

As you embark on your journey to homeownership, remember that preparation is your best friend. Understanding your mortgage affordability, improving your financial health, saving for a substantial down payment, getting pre-qualified, and budgeting for all related costs can dramatically smooth the path to getting the keys to your new home. Speak with a mortgage broker to get tailored advice and explore your options comprehensively. With the right preparation, you’ll be able to navigate the Ontario real estate market with confidence and ease.


  • The author is not a lawyer, accountant, financial planner, etc. therefore the author is not providing any professional advice, beyond that of a licensed Mortgage Broker in the province of Ontario, Canada. 
  • This content is not legal, economic, financial, accounting or any other professional advice.  Any comments perceived to be outside the author’s Mortgage Broker licensing are purely anecdotal and shall not be construed as professional advice.  Subject to all readers seeking independent professional advice from any and all providers as determined solely by the reader, at the reader’s own and sole discretion, prior to applying for or making changes to a mortgage/loan. 
  • The opinions expressed in this content are the opinions of the author only and not of anyone else or any other entity. 
  • Not for decision-making purposes. 
  • Subject to eligibility, lender approval, terms & conditions, etc. 
  • In any and all cases of any conflict of any kind about anything whatsoever in this content, including, without limitation, lender rules, guidelines, terms & conditions, interest rates, etc., the appropriate authority’s content shall supersede the author’s presented content. 
  • Based on estimates.  Subject to change in any or all ways, at any time, without prior notification or warning. 
  • Does not include all, may exclude some and/or may only partially represent guidelines, mortgage rules, scenarios, topics, etc. 
  • Not specific to any specific mortgage lender or mortgage related product, content may be inconclusive, incomplete and/or covered somewhere else, etc.  Products, underwriting guidelines, etc. vary between lenders, etc. 
  • Highlighted, bold, capitalized, italicized, text is for effect only and cannot be separated in any way from the rest of the content.  
  • E.&O.E.