Some tips of the trade for making Canada your home

* This is the third of a four-part homebuying series for new Canadians in partnership with the Epoch Times. Each month, the series will explore hot topic issues such as understanding market trends, processes for buying a home, determining factors that influence house prices and more.

More than five dozen Calgarians from 24 different countries joined hundreds of others across the country in becoming Canadian citizens earlier this month as part of National Citizen Week in Canada Oct. 13-21.

To mark the occasion, CREB®Now is offering some tips on getting settled and, ultimately, finding that perfect place to call home.

Where to start

Before the big move, create a checklist to find the best itinerary that fits your schedule and budget or understand what you can and cannot bring with you. Visit the website of the province or territory where you intend to live, and even check climate patterns to decide what to wear and what to pack. It might even be a good idea to arranging temporary accommodations before making the permanent move. That way, you can “test drive” the Canadian experience.

Key documents

Upon arriving in the country, newcomers should apply for a health insurance card and Social Insurance Number, suggests the Federal Government’s Welcome to Canada guide. Key documents you should have on hand from your move include birth certificates, passport, marriage or divorce certificates, adoption records and official vaccination records.

“If you have family members that will be immigrating at a later date, you should bring copies of their documents with you as well,” said the guide.

Buying or renting a home

Once settled and ready to make a home purchase, the first steps to homeownership often start with finding a mortgage broker.

“[Newcomers should] ensure they have a credit history that Canadian lenders will accept and that they have access to their funds in Canada rather than having to rely on transfers from overseas institutions,” said CREB® president Bill Kirk.

“Usually this is best done by having a relationship with a mortgage broker who will establish their actual mortgage capability and tell them how to structure their finances from the point of view of a mortgage institution.”

Next, it’s time to find a REALTOR® who knows which questions to ask about their status in the country. Buying resources – including determining budget and finding a REALTOR® — are available at Kirk also suggested asking the following questions:

• What is your price range? • Are you buying for short or long term? • Will you hold the house for rental, or sell it as you move to large houses? • Will you stay in Canada or be transferred, and in what time frame? • What areas, amenities and services are most important to you? • What characteristics and situations do you want to avoid?

For those looking to rent, CREB® announced rental services on MLS® earlier this year allowing REALTORS® to help clients advertise and promote rental listings, present tenant applications, show the property and supply necessary documentation.