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-TD Canada Trust releases 2011 Home Buyers Report -

VANCOUVER, March 7 /CNW/ - B.C. house-hunters understand that even when looking for a dream home, the reality of whether or not you can afford it needs to be a priority. According to the 2011 TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report, 100% of B.C. house-hunters say cost is an important consideration when deciding on what home to buy, making them the most likely in the country to give this answer.

The report found that other top considerations for homebuyers in B.C. are features of the home, size, and safety and security (all 93%).

"Canadians, especially those in B.C., wisely say that cost is the number one consideration for a home purchase, evidence that they realize that in order to truly be comfortable in their home, they need to comfortably be able to afford it!" says Barry Rathburn, Mobile Mortgage Specialist, TD Canada Trust. "When house-hunting there are some factors, like the features of the home, which can be adjusted once you've made your purchase. Other factors, like the location, cannot be changed. Finding the right home is about getting the right balance - and at a price you can afford."

What kind of homes do B.C. residents prefer?:

B.C. residents are evenly divided, with half preferring a new home because everything will work perfectly (23%) and it hasn't been lived in before (23%) and the other half preferring older homes, which they think offer better quality (36%) or have more character (18%). Demonstrating their budget-consciousness, B.C. homebuyers are among the least likely to say they are willing to spend extra money on a home that is completely done versus a fixer-upper that will need some work (15% versus 22% nationally); they are among the most likely to say they would prefer a fixer-upper that they can adjust to their taste (38% versus 33% nationally).

Nationally, the TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report found that men are more likely than women to prefer a fixer-upper because it is more affordable (14% versus 8%) and because they can renovate to their taste (37% versus 29%).

"If you are willing to do the renovations or upgrades, buying a home that needs some work can give you the ability to transform the space into your dream home," says Rathburn. "However, if you decide to go the renovation route, it's important to understand the costs of the upgrades you intend to make and factor those in when deciding on the price range for a home that is realistic for you."

Finding a home you love - at a price you can afford:

To help Canadian house-hunters, Rathburn offers these four steps to consider before they start looking at homes:

  1. Know the process: From pre-approval to signing final paperwork, there are a number of steps involved with getting a mortgage. Before you start house-hunting make sure you understand each of these steps, so you know what to expect. From bidding wars to surprise findings in house inspections - house-hunting can be unpredictable but getting a mortgage should not be.

  2. Learn about your options: When shopping for homes, you look for places that will suit your needs and lifestyle. You should do the same when deciding on your mortgage. Ensure you understand the differences between fixed and variable rate mortgages, the pros and cons of a shorter or longer amortization period, etc. Payment flexibility is also important when deciding on a mortgage, to know what you can prepay as well as options to pay less at a later date if something unexpected comes up. By understanding the options, you can make an informed decision about what mortgage is best for you.

  3. Calculate your mortgage numbers: Before you start looking, run the numbers and settle on a price range that you can afford. TD Canada Trust offers you a convenient online mortgage calculator which allows you to factor in your income and the amount you have saved for a down payment and compare different mortgage options and payment plans. When you know what you can afford, you can narrow your search and shop with more confidence, knowing that the houses you view may fit within your budget.

  4. Get pre-approved: The home-buying process can happen very quickly and it may be important to move fast when you find a home that you want. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you start shopping puts you in a good position to make an offer when you find the right home. There is no cost or obligation to get pre-approved for a mortgage and it is a good opportunity to come in and talk to a mortgage expert to clarify any questions you may have.

Prospective home-buyers can find more information, along with tips and tools to guide them through the process at

"A home is a major purchase and people need to be comfortable that they are making the right decision - both with the home they buy and the mortgage option they select," says Farhaneh Haque, Regional Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, TD Canada Trust. "We hope that by providing homebuyers with information to guide them through the process, they will feel more informed and confident during their decision making process. Come into a TD Canada Trust Branch, make an appointment with one of our mobile mortgage specialists who will come to see you, or even consult one of our online tools."

About the Home Buyers Report:

TD Canada Trust commissioned Environics Research Group to conduct a custom online survey of Canadians who had either purchased a home within the last two years or intend to purchase one in the next two years. Between December 22 - 29, 2010, a total of 1,001 interviews were completed, including 120 from B.C..

About TD Canada Trust

TD Canada Trust offers personal and business banking to more than 11.5 million customers. We provide a wide range of products and services from chequing and savings accounts, to credit cards, mortgages and business banking, to credit protection and travel medical insurance, as well as advice on managing everyday finances. TD Canada Trust makes banking comfortable with award-winning service and convenience through 24/7 mobile, internet, telephone and ATM banking, as well as in over 1,100 branches - most open 8 'til late and many now open Sunday. For more information, please visit: TD Canada Trust is the Canadian retail bank of TD Bank Group, the sixth largest bank in North America.

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