Rendered image of a Shane Homes single-family home on a summer day.

Do you want to buy a house but feel stressed due to the complexities of the home buying process? Thinking, "what is the first step when buying a home?", "where do I even start?".

If that's how you're feeling, you've come to the right place! We believe buying your first home should be stress-free. It's one of the most exciting experiences you'll go through, and you don't want stress to guide your journey and impact your decisions!

In this article we're breaking down the 7 essential home buying steps that you’ll go through when buying your dream home. From budgeting to purchasing your dream family home, follow along to discover how to purchase your home stress-free.

1. Find Out if You’re Financially Ready

Budgeting for your home is one of the most important steps in buying a home. If you are just starting to budget or looking to find out if you're on the right track, CMHC has an entire list of general requirements for obtaining a homeowner mortgage loan. Some of these requirements include:
  • Your total monthly housing costs shouldn’t be more than 32% of your gross household income. To calculate how much you can afford for your monthly mortgage payments, refer to the CMHC gross debt service form.
  • Your total debt load should be less than 40% of your gross household income.
  • If you want to purchase a home that costs $500,000 or less, your minimum down payment is 5%. If you're buying a home that's more than $500,000, your minimum down payment will be 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the remainder of the cost.
CMHC also has an excellent budget sheet that can help you identify how much it will cost you to buy and maintain a home. To ensure you budget everything, here are additional fees that may occur throughout your buying process:
  • Closing costs
    • Land transfer tax
    • Title insurance
    • Legal fees
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Taxes
  • HOA fees (this depends on your home and the neighbourhood it’s in)
  • Condo fees (if you wish to purchase a condo)
Once you have run the numbers and think you’re financially ready for the next step, it’s time to take a trip to your local bank.

2. Get Pre-Approved

Once you book your bank appointment and meet with your mortgage lender, it’s time to get pre-approved. Mortgage pre-approval is the process of determining the maximum amount of money you can spend on your home. In your appointment, your lender will analyze your financial documents and provide you with a pre-approval letter that you can bring with you as you tour new homes.

Before we get into the next step, it’s essential that you go to your appointment prepared with the correct documentation. Here is what your lender will likely ask you to provide:
  • Documentation of your liabilities
    • Requests for loans
    • Current loans
    • Current expenses
  • Assets
    • If you currently own or rent a home
    • If you own or finance a car
    • If you have any investments (RRSP, TFSA, etc.)
  • Income Report
    • Your proof of income
  • Miscellaneous
    • Overall credit score
    • Debt to income ratio
If all goes well and you have your stamp of pre-approval, it’s time to browse Google and determine which home type is best for you.

If you have additional questions about the pre-approval process, read our blog, How to Get Pre-Approved to Buy a House: The Ultimate Guide.

3. Determine Which Home Type Suits Your Family

Brochure of different paint colours within the yellow palette.

It's time to discover which home type you can afford and, most importantly, suits the needs of your growing family. As a first-time home buyer, you've probably searched for a real estate agent and maybe even dipped your toes to see what home builders have to offer. At Shane Homes, we have a variety of home types that you're sure to love.

Single-family front drive: If you’re looking for a larger home, this is an excellent option. With square footage ranging from 1694 - 2727 and the option between four and five bedrooms, this home type provides ample room for your family.

Duplex: If you'd like to spend less of your budget on land but still want the features and floor plan you love, the duplex might be perfect for you. They feature a main floor living space and a backyard with 1372-1594 square feet of ample space.

Single-family laned homes: Detached laned homes are also a great option for those looking for a single family home. These homes range from 1368-2110 square feet and are designed to maximize your living space.

Townhomes: Shane Homes has luxury townhomes in the community of CornerHaven, in NE Calgary. These homes include covered balconies, private walkways, attached garages, and ample natural light.

Condominiums: If you’re looking for a home that’s a little smaller, Shane Homes condos are a fantastic option. Choose between one bedroom, one bedroom and a den, or two bedrooms in 613-946 square feet.

By now, you should have a better idea of what home type you like. If you're looking for additional information or looking to build and price the home of your dreams, use our build and price tool!

This unique tool will allow you to:
  • Design and customize your dream home
  • Provide you with real-time pricing
  • Give you all the necessary information you need
We highly recommend using the build and price tool to get a taste for what you love in a house and understand what home you can afford based on your budget.

Still can’t decide? Take the Shane quiz and see which home type will work best for you! After you’ve decided what home type you like, it’s time to have fun and visit some showhomes!

4. Visit Showhomes

If you decide to build your own home, it’s time to visit showhomes! Touring showhomes is a great way to understand what features you want in your home, and it’s one of the most fun steps in the home buying process.

If you fell in love with one of our homes from Shane Homes, discover which beautiful neighbourhoods our homes are featured in. You can find Shane Homes in Airdrie, southwest Calgary, southeast Calgary, northwest Calgary, and northeast Calgary. When you visit our showhome, one of our sales representatives will happily let you walk through our homes and answer any questions that you may have about the home, the neighbourhood, or Shane Homes.

5. Choose Your Home Model and Lot

After you've toured some showhomes, talked to the sales representative, and found a home model that fits your needs, congrats! Now the hard decision comes into play, which lot do you want to choose?

In newer communities, lots sell fast, so it's important to get your hands on the one you desire quickly. Here are some things to consider when you choose a home lot:
  • Sun exposure. If you love to garden or enjoy being outside, you may prefer a lot that is south facing. This will bring the most sunlight to your backyard year-round.
  • Slope of lot. Some homes have walk-out basements which requires a steeped slope lot. The slope of a lot can impact how much useable space is in your yard, and how you want to use your backyard should be a consideration.
  • Location in the community. Do you want to live across the street from the neighbourhood park? Close to the entrance of the community? What about living at the end of the street near the main road? These are all questions to consider.
Once you've chosen your home model and lot, your sales representative will provide you with a quote for your house, which you will bring you back to the bank. At this point, real-life has probably clicked in, and we can imagine how excited you are; we're excited for you!

It's important to note that nothing is final until your bank fully approves you for your mortgage. Now it's time to go back to your lender, finalize your mortgage payments, and get your down payment ready.

6. Meet With a Mortgage Broker

Now that you have your dream home picked out, it's time to book another bank appointment with your trusted lender/broker. This is the final step you need to take before you are approved. At this point, your lender will ask you for even more documentation than they required for the pre-approval step. Here are some of the documents you may need to provide:
  • Your number of dependents
  • Additional financial information
    • Assets, including any mutual funds, RRSPs, etc.
    • Credit report
    • Home equity line of credit (if that’s something you want)
    • Your employer and monthly income
  • Information about the home
    • Property description
    • Purchase price of your home
    • Estimated property taxes
  • Information about your mortgage
    • What type of mortgage you’d like (conventional loan, fix-rate, etc.)
    • What mortgage loan term you’re looking for
    • The mortgage loan amount you’ll need
Unsure of what mortgage you want? Check out our blog, What is a Mortgage & How Does a Mortgage Work? Home Loan Basics for First-Time Buyers. After you visit the bank and have been approved to purchase the home of your dreams, the real work begins!

7. Purchase The Home of Your Dreams

A couple with their hands out holding keys to their new home.

Congratulations! You've been approved and are ready to build your dream home. In this step, you will meet with your sales representative and go through all of the necessary next steps. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Meeting with designers
    • Selecting your floor, cupboards, tiles.
    • Picking out your lighting fixtures, taps, door handles.
    • Choosing wall, grout and baseboard colours.
  • Visiting your lot and watching your land transform from a hole in the ground to your gorgeous dream home.
  • Going to walk-through home inspection appointments.
  • Moving into your new home.
After you purchase your home, move in day is right around the corner. Congratulations on being a new home owner!

Shane Homes is With You Every Step of the Building Process

Bank lender pointing to a piece of paper with the heading: Offer to Purchase Real Estate

When you build with Shane Homes, you will be in good hands from the day you visit our showhomes until the day you move into your new home–and even after if you have any questions!

Shane Homes is honoured to be your partner throughout your entire home buying and building journey. As a trusted home builder for over 40 years, we've heard every question in the book and are ready to assist you with any questions you may have along the way.

Let's work together and make your home-building experience stress-free and rewarding. Visit one of our showhomes, or contact us today!