Keitha Oliver, Author at Trinidad and Tobago Mortgage Finance Company Ltd.

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Fri 16th Jun, 2023

Congratulations! You have joined that very special group of people known as: The Homeowners!

What makes this title SPECIAL? Well, owning a home is the dream of a lifetime, and one of the best investments you will ever make. As a new homeowner there will be lot you will not know, however, developing good habits now like budgeting, prioritising needs versus wants, maintenance and still saving a little will go a long way in making your happy homeowner journey truly, an easy and rewarding experience.


Homeownership comes with many important responsibilities. As you embark on this wonderful journey, here are the top five things you should know and do as a new homeowner.


  1. Prioritizing Needs versus Wants – Do not spend too much to make it your home

As a New Homeowner, and it may be incredibly tempting to invest in improvements right away that will bring your vision of the perfect home to reality. While it’s natural to want to create a comfortable and inviting space, it’s more important not to overspend. You’ve just invested a large portion, if not all of your life savings, so money will be pretty tight for a while. Ask yourself the question, Do I really need this or that, NOW? Often you will find that if you answer honestly the answer is ‘no’.


Additionally, you are still getting used to your new monthly expenses. For some, your monthly expenses prior to this new and exciting title were a contribution to a household or a rent that included all the basic utilities. Now, these entire bills are your responsibility. Give yourself some time to adjust, which will allow you to make wiser decisions that can aid in avoiding financial stress. So, try to resist these temptations before spending any money on aesthetics or renovations.


  1. Budgeting – Manage your finances

A good tip is to document your income as against your expenses each month. This way you can see where your money is going each month and if you find yourself struggling to get by you can identify unnecessary spending habits and eliminate them. You can start by separating your expenses into various categories, such as:

  • Debts – mortgage instalment, vehicle loans, credit cards, other loans.
  • Monthly bills – electricity, water, phone, internet, cable TV, property maintenance. If you have children – lessons, sports, clubs.
  • Essentials – groceries, gas, insurance
  • Leisure – gym memberships, subscriptions, pleasure shopping, entertainment, and social activities


  1. Get the necessary homeowner’s insurance

There are several major types of mortgage insurances to protect you and your home. The two more important ones are Homeowner’s insurance and life/disability insurance. Homeowner’s insurance covers your home and applies to coverage for the structural components of your home, like the walls, roof, floors, fixtures, and fittings. This is required at the time of finalising your mortgage and is often included in the instalment. Life/disability insurance covers you either in total disability, temporary disability or in the event of your death.


At TTMF, we provide an option that covers you for both death and disability. If you become totally and permanently disabled and are no longer able to work or in the event of your death, your loan balance will be paid off in full. Please check out our  Advance Protector Insurance Brochure for more details.


  1. Think about your family’s safety and security

Learning how to be a good homeowner means learning how to make your family, yourself and your home safe. You are a new homeowner which carries some risk. Therefore, you should:

  • Think about installing a security system, either a basic alarm system that will sound if doors or windows are opened while the alarm is set or a system that includes security cameras, motion-activated lights, and driveway alarms.
  • Think about changing the locks to your doors as you do not know how many people may have copies of the keys to the current locks.
  • Think about installing a fence for the backyard if you have children as they will be able to play outside safely.


  1. Prepare for the rainy season/flooding

You should plan ahead so that you are ready for seasonal weather patterns such as the rainy season, which places your home at risk. There are various precautions you can take to help minimize flood damage, for instance, investigating any changes you can make to your home such as raising electrical sockets to at least 1.5 metres off the ground. It is also important to look at your lawn and drainage to ensure debris is cleared regularly.


Become Home Smart

Owning a home can bring a multitude of benefits. It gives you a sense of security and belonging and you can customize your home to your liking and create a space that is uniquely yours. Additionally, owning a home can be a smart financial move as it builds equity over time, providing you with an asset that can appreciate in value. Homeownership also allows you to take advantage of tax benefits and can provide a stable environment for your family. While there are certainly challenges associated with homeownership, the rewards can be well worth the effort in the end.

Remember, TTMF is always here to help. Make an appointment with a knowledgeable TTMF representative or chat online at or call 623-TTMF.


We’ll take you from here…to home. Let’s get started…today!


Related articles:

A Comprehensive Guide for Protecting Your Home

5 Alluring Styles for your Home

How your Home can Help You

Be Home Smart with a Home Garden

Tax Deductions for First-time Homeowners

Fri 24th Jun, 2022

Congratulations, you have just been pre-qualified to buy or build your home. You have a rough estimate of your price range. But, is everything going to fall into place?

Mortgage pre-qualification is the first step towards your dream, but there is much more to be done. Pre-qualification is not a binding agreement. It is simply something you can use to gauge your buying capability.

This month, we provide you with a straightforward guide on the things to consider or avoid after pre-qualification. We assure you, after this, you will be going from a pre-qualified buyer to a homeowner, the simple and smart way.

Firstly, it must be repeated: Pre-qualification is the preliminary step in the mortgage process, where a lender may check your basic information like age, income and existing financial commitments. At TTMF, our pre-qualification process usually provides you with a Pre-Qualification Certificate at the end which tells you the amount you can borrow. But after you are pre-qualified, your next step is to identify the property that you wish to purchase within your prequalification amount to begin the mortgage application process. This is an in-depth process that goes deep…all the way to eventually having an offer of financing from the lender. Ideally you should identify the documents required for the TTMF Mortgage Finance Appointment and then proceed to book an appointment with an officer here. You will need to have all your documents available for the appointment, along with the completed mortgage application form. You can submit these documents eitherin-person, via fax, email or via post.

But understand this: although you have pre-qualified and are moving to the second stage – the mortgage application stage – you could run into problems if, for example, there is a judgement on the seller or there isn’t clear title of the property. This can cause a delay or even a denial of the mortgage loan. The lender at this point may want additional documentation from you. Actually, neither the mortgage application process nor pre-qualification is a guarantee that you will get a home loan.  Confusing, right?

To have finalised the mortgage application phase successfully and issued an offer of financing means that we have investigated your credit history and determined that you would be a suitable candidate for a mortgage or offer of financing. You will know upfront what kind of loan you will be approved for, and the specific period of time the assessment is good for, which is usually between 90 to 180 days. To find out about TTMF’s 2% mortgage programme or 5% mortgage programme, click here: 2% Mortgage Programme, 5% Mortgage Programme.

Secondly, if you are applying with a spouse or other co-borrower whose income is needed for you to qualify for the mortgage assessment, both applicants will need to list financial and employment information. You will also need to provide extensive documentation of job history, assets, liabilities and more. Self-employed buyers may need to provide additional documentation.

Thirdly, if at this point you have had some difficulty in getting a mortgage, going through the mortgage application process can actually help you identify your credit or any other issues, and potentially give you time to address them. You will also have more time to save money for a down-payment and closing costs.

Finally, be aware that changes in your financial situation can affect the mortgage application process and your offer of financing. For instance, if you are at this stage and looking to change jobs or buy something expensive, you should definitely wait until after closing.

Do not do the following:

  • Take out any new debts or make big purchases
  • Change careers or switch jobs.
  • Make any big life changes that could put your financial capabilities in question.

Become Home Smart

If you are already pre-qualified, then you are one step closer to being ready to buy a home. Set up an appointment to speak with one of our knowledgeable Customer Service Representatives to find out more about how we can help you; or Get Pre-Qualified online in under 1 minute.

Take a read of How to get approved for a mortgage and How to calculate your mortgage amount for additional information and guidance.

 You can also subscribe to our Home Smart newsletter to get helpful homeownership tips directly to your inbox.


Whether you are ready or gearing up, any day can be a good day to begin your homeownership journey with us. Allow us to take you from here…to home. Let’s get started…together!