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New to Canada? Want to Own a Home? Step by step guide to establish credit.

Establishing a good credit rating is crucial for someone new to Canada, especially if they aspire to become a homeowner. A good credit rating reflects a person's financial responsibility and reliability in repaying debts, and it serves as a measure of creditworthiness for lenders. Having a strong credit history is essential when applying for loans, including mortgages, as it helps lenders assess the risk associated with lending money to an individual.

To establish a good credit rating in Canada as a newcomer, follow these steps:

1. Obtain a Social Insurance Number (SIN): If you haven't already done so, apply for a SIN from Service Canada. This nine-digit number is necessary for various purposes, including building credit.

2. Open a bank account: Visit a local bank or credit union and open a chequing or savings account. This will provide a foundation for your financial activities and help establish your banking history.

3. Apply for a secured credit card: Since you're new to Canada, you may not initially qualify for an unsecured credit card. However, many financial institutions offer secured credit cards, which require a cash deposit as collateral. Use the secured credit card responsibly by making regular payments and keeping the utilization low (ideally below 30% of the available credit limit).

4. Pay bills on time: Pay all your bills, such as rent, utilities, and cellphone payments, on time. Timely bill payments contribute positively to your credit history.

5. Consider a small loan or credit product: Once you've built some credit history with a secured credit card, you can explore options like small personal loans or credit builder loans. These loans are designed for individuals with limited or no credit history and can help demonstrate your ability to manage and repay debts responsibly.

6. Monitor your credit report: Regularly check your credit report from major credit bureaus like Equifax and TransUnion. Reviewing your report allows you to identify any errors or discrepancies and take appropriate actions to rectify them.

7. Build a long credit history: Maintain good credit habits over time. The length of your credit history is an important factor in determining your credit score. The longer and more consistent your credit history, the better your credit rating will be.

Why is good credit important for homeownership?

1. Mortgage approval: When you apply for a mortgage to purchase a home, lenders assess your creditworthiness. A good credit rating increases the likelihood of mortgage approval and may lead to better interest rates and loan terms.

2. Lower interest rates: A strong credit rating demonstrates your ability to manage debt responsibly, which makes you less risky to lenders. As a result, you may qualify for lower interest rates on your mortgage. Even a slight decrease in interest rates can significantly impact your long-term financial obligations.

3. Access to higher loan amounts: With a good credit rating, you may qualify for higher mortgage loan amounts, allowing you to consider a broader range of properties or secure a larger down payment.

4. Future borrowing opportunities: Once you own a home, maintaining good credit is important for future borrowing needs. It can help you access home equity loans, refinancing options, or other forms of credit when needed.

Establishing a good credit rating in Canada as a newcomer takes time and responsible financial behavior. It is crucial to start building credit as early as possible to enhance your chances of becoming a homeowner and accessing favorable loan terms in the future.

Tonia Mercer | The Mortgage Missus Inc.

About the author,

Tonia Mercer is an independent mortgage broker. She has been in the industry for 15 years and in 2021 she launched her own brokerage The Mortgage Missus Inc.

Tonia is passionate about financial education and believes that working with independent experts is the best way to get unbiased, professional advice. She has joined forces with local independent home and auto, financial advisor, legal, appraiser and real estate service providers.

Effectively creating a concierge service for all things financial and real estate.

Connect with her at

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