When budgeting for your home, you should determine how much you can afford as a monthly mortgage payment and how much you can afford as a down payment. You should also include property taxes (which are usually paid in two installments every year, in the beginning of the winter and summer), utilities and hydro, insurance, maintenance and repairs into your monthly assessment. (For example, if you own a pool, you need to include the maintenance and the servicing of it). A good rule of thumb for your monthly mortgage payment is approximately 35-40% of your gross monthly income. A mortgage professional can help find out your maximum mortgage amount based on your income and personal financial information. They will then give you a “Mortgage pre-approval letter” which you can use to assess which properties you can afford and also gives you more credibility as a buyer.