of Lloydminster

Your Community Minded Realtors

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Office: 780-808-2700
Toll Free: 866-666-2700

RE/MAX Of Lloydminster
5726 - 44 Street
Lloydminster, AB
T9V 0B6

"each office independently owned and operated"

Shopping for your first home is exciting, and it is only natural to want to get right to it. The idea of trading in that monthly rent check for a mortgage payment that builds equity and wealth for the future is certainly compelling, but there are some key things first time home buyers should do before they start driving around and looking at properties.


Buying your first home is a major commitment, and a big life change. Owning a home and renting are two very different things, and you need to make sure that you are well prepared before you call a real estate agent. Here are five things every first time home buyer should do before they start shopping for the property of their dreams.


1. Assess the Financial Situation

Before you start shopping, you need to set your price range, and that means taking a hard look at your finances. Pull out all your financial documentation - from your bank statements and brokerage records to retirement savings and your emergency fund information. Knowing where you stand financially will make it easier to set a realistic price point, one with an affordable monthly mortgage that will not leave you feeling stretched.


2. Pay Down Debt

If your financial analysis reveals high levels of debt, now is the time to pay it down. High levels of credit card debt and other high interest payments can lower your credit score and make getting a home loan that much harder.

Paying down your debt now will raise your credit score and make you a more attractive borrower, but it will also make your mortgage payment more affordable. If you cannot afford to pay off the entire debt, pay it down as much as possible.


3. Think About Job Stability

As a first time home buyer, your ability to make the monthly mortgage payments is tied directly to the steadiness of your income. In most cases that means the stability of your job, and your employer.


Before you go house shopping, you need to take a realistic look at your job situation. Is the company you work for profitable, with positive cash flow and accelerating earnings? Is the industry you work in growing or shrinking? Is your own job stable, and do you have a positive relationship with your boss? The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about whether you are ready to make the leap from renter to homeowner (and mortgage holder).


4. Budget for Ancillary Expenses

Many first time home buyers are surprised at just how much it costs to own their own home. They budgeted for the monthly mortgage payment but not for the cost of repairing a leaky toilet or replacing a failed refrigerator or washing machine. The ancillary costs of owning a home are nothing to sneeze at, and it is important to factor them into the home buying equation.


From the cost of furnishing your new home to ongoing repairs and maintenance, there are a lot of expenses that go with owning a home. Budgeting for those ancillary expenses may lower your price point somewhat, but knowing you can afford all the costs of homeownership will give you extra peace of mind.


5. Check Credit Scores

Your credit score will play a big role in everything from your interest rate to whether you qualify for a mortgage at all. If you have not already done so, now is the time to check your credit score.


If your credit score is in the upper echelon of the numerical range, you can rest assured that the mortgage qualification process will be a breeze. If your credit score could use some help, finding out early will give you time to raise it. From paying down debt to making every payment on time, the actions you take today could give you a better credit score tomorrow.


Buying a home is a major commitment, one that demands the right preparation. Taking the time to carefully prepare and go through the steps listed above can make everything that follows, from qualifying for a mortgage to making an offer, a lot less stressful.

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Savvy Spender: Simple, Smart Ways to Make the Most of Your Credit Cards

With their vast array of special perks and member benefits, credit cards are an appealing financing option for modern consumers. Unfortunately, when left unchecked, credit card debt can easily spiral out of control, leaving cardholders with crushing financial obligations and a mountain of stress. When used correctly, credit cards provide a fantastic tool for managing personal finances and building strong credit, but it is essential to develop an effective strategy for using your cards. Before you whip out the plastic on your next stop at the supermarket or shopping mall, consider the following simple keys.

Research Your Options


Credit card rewards programs offer an enticing assortment of benefits for using your card. Many card issuers provide cash back, frequent flier miles, and special discounts for using your credit card on a daily basis. Before opening a new account, take the time to research the various credit cards available. Be wary of low introductory rates that skyrocket after a few months, and carefully weigh the pros and cons of credit cards that carry steep annual fees. If you are diligent with your research, you should easily find a card that rewards you handsomely for your expenditures.

Pay Your Balance In Full

It is an incredibly simple step, but many consumers overlook the importance of paying a card's balance in full each month. Unless you receive a special financing offer and benefit from a 0% APR for a period of time, there is no valid reason for carrying a card balance. Not only does carrying a balance result in financing charges, but it can also hurt your credit score. Plan to charge only what you can realistically pay off when you receive your bill each month.

Track Your Purchases

While it may feel tempting to throw caution to the wind on your next shopping spree, it is vital to pay close attention to your purchasing habits and monitor your spending. Some consumers use spreadsheet software to easily track their purchases while others rely on handwritten records and printed credit card statements. Regardless of what method works for you, it is important to keep a running tally of your purchases in order to protect yourself against billing discrepancies and keep your spending in check.

If you are looking for an easy way to monitor spending, ask your bank about their mobile banking options. Many credit card companies now offer apps for your smartphone or tablet. These apps notify you as soon as a purchase is made with your card, and many allow you to make payments, transfer balances, and track your reward progress.

Protect Yourself

Of all the benefits credit cards offer, the consumer protection they extend is perhaps the most underrated perk. Your credit card protects you against fraudulent purchases and even ensures service guarantees in some instances. For example, if you purchase a service or product that is not delivered according to your expectations, many credit card companies serve as an intermediary to resolve the conflict with the retailer. Additionally, some cards provide complimentary insurance for travel purchases and car rentals. Read the fine print of your card contract to ensure you understand the terms and conditions governing your card usage.

From savvy businesspeople to everyday moms and dads, credit cards are powerful finance tools that simplify the spending process. When used correctly, you can even reap great rewards from your cards. By taking the time to learn more about your cardholder policies and making smart decisions at the cash register, you can protect your finances and ensure you are making smart decisions for the future.

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