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TORONTO, March 16 /CNW/ - What are my mortgage options? How much should I budget annually for home expenses? These are examples of what women home owners wish they had known more about prior to buying a home, according to the third annual TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll.

Chris Wisniewski, Group Product Manager, Real Estate Secured Lending, TD Canada Trust offers advice for women who are considering entering the housing market this spring.

1. Research your mortgage options

Twenty-five per cent of women home buyers surveyed in the TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll wish that they had learned more about their mortgage options. Wisniewski recommends that women allow enough time to review their mortgage options carefully with a mortgage specialist.

"Whether you choose a variable rate or a long-term fixed interest rate mortgage will depend on your comfort with interest rate fluctuation and your ability to carry a higher mortgage payment if interest rates rise," says Wisniewski. "As anticipation about rising interest rates grows, more women may be interested in exploring longer term fixed interest rate mortgages. Either way, it's important to consider all options early because once you put in an offer, things will move very quickly."

Online mortgage tools, such as TD Canada Trust's My Mortgage Selector are a great starting place and can help potential homebuyers narrow down the type and length of mortgage that might suit their needs (

2. Consider a larger down payment

Although, only 10% of women wish they had known more information about a down payment, there are important factors involved when considering how much of a down payment to make.

"I recommend that people consider a down payment greater than 10% - it will make a big difference to the amount you'll end up paying over time. Think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain," says Wisniewski. "I also recommend choosing a shorter amortization period. Instead of the standard 25 or 35 year period, if you are able to, consider selecting a shorter amortization period at the beginning of your mortgage and you will dramatically reduce the amount of interest you pay over time. On a $200,000 mortgage, switching from a 35 year amortization period to a 25 year period could save you $170 per month and could take 10 years off your mortgage."

3. Plan ahead for your closing costs

Thirty-six per cent of women say they wish they'd asked more questions about the fees and costs related to buying a property and getting a mortgage. Wisniewski says that home buyers should estimate their closing costs to be the equivalent of 1.5% - 4% of the cost of their home. Closing costs usually include legal/notary fees and disbursements, property land transfer taxes, as well as adjustments for prepaid property taxes or condominium common expenses (if applicable).

4. Estimate your annual home expenses

Thirty per cent of women home buyers wish they had known in advance the size of the annual expense of maintaining a property. From parking permits and electrical bills, to property taxes and home insurance, it is helpful to accurately estimate these costs prior to purchasing a home. Wisniewski recommends making a budget and planning monthly housing expenses to be less than a third of your monthly household income (including mortgage payments, taxes, heating costs, etc.).

5. Book a home inspection

Forty-three per cent of women felt the biggest headache they faced in home ownership was the cost of maintenance and repairs. A report from a qualified home inspector can provide a great deal of comfort when buying a home and help to avoid purchasing a property that will require major repairs in the short-term. Home inspectors often provide a written report about your home that will allow you to plan when certain items need to be cleaned, replaced or checked.

For more information about mortgages and home equity lines of credit, talk to a TD Canada Trust Mobile Mortgage Specialist, visit a branch or go to or call 1.800.722.3098.

About the TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll

The TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll surveyed women 18 years of age and older from across the country, to explore home ownership behaviour among women. The survey was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies with English and French speaking Canadians using the Angus Reid Forum. The sample size includes 1,003 women who have purchased a home independently.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$567 billion in assets on January 31, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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