Home Buying in Canada – Tips & Resources
Six Important Things While Home Buying in Canada
Are you a First Time Buyer, a millennial looking to purchase your first home, a newcomer to Canada, or someone on a Work Permit looking to make your first home purchase in Canada? This is a big step and decision, make sure you have the knowledge and resources to make an informed decision.
Equally important is to work with a REALTOR® you can trust to guide you every step of the way.
Here are six most important things you need to know about Home Buying in Canada
First Things First!
Have a Little More Than Just A Down Payment
If you are still working toward saving for a down payment, make sure you know how much you need in the first place.
Here are some numbers for reference:
Home Value: Down payment Amount
$500,000 or less: 5% down payment
$$500,000 to $999,999: 5% down payment for first $500,000 and
10% down payment of any amount exceeding $500,000
$1,000,000 or more: 20% down payment
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Trying to buy a home without a mortgage pre-approval is simply not recommended. You don’t want to build your hopes up only to find that you do not qualify for a certain amount of mortgage.
And then who knows how long the current low interest rate will be in place, or when it might change.
One benefit of getting a mortgage pre-approval is that your lender will lock in the current interest rate for up to 120 days.
If rates increase, your lender should honour the current rate.
If they fall, so too should your guaranteed rate.
Shop Around for Best Rates
Interest rates have never been lower. The BoC has brought its benchmark rate to 0.25% in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, and the central bank lowered the five-year mortgage rate to below 5%.
This is important as it will determine how much you will pay on your mortgage every month, in principal and in interest.
Learn About First Time Home Buyer Incentives
The Canadian government offers the First Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI), which is basically a loan to encourage buyers to purchase a home.
First Time Home Buyers can borrow:
* 5% of the price of a resale home
* 5 or 10% of the price of a newly constructed home
The loan is interest-free and has to be repaid at any time within 25 years or when the home is sold.
Do you qualify for a First Time Home Buyer Incentive?
Well, you must be a first-time homebuyer, have a household income of less than $120,000, and the mortgage is capped at four times the maximum household income of $120,000.
There is also the Federal First Time Home Buyer’s Plan which let’s you borrow up to $35,000 from your RRSP interest free to boost your down payment or to put toward other purchase-related costs.
Provincially, some regions also offer a Land Transfer Tax Rebate.
Work with a REALTOR®
Home Buyers have the option of working alone in their search for a residential property: detached, semi-detached, townhome, condo apartments etc.
But this process can be complex and risky without the knowledge, experience and advice that a REALTOR® can bring to the table.
Working with an experienced REALTOR® can hugely ease the stress associated with home buying in Canada. They can guide you through your unique situation based on your budget and home search criteria.
This is particularly true of the current times where the market is acting erratically with home prices going through the roof.
What are the advantages of working with a REALTOR® ?
- You have better access to home listings
- REALTORS® know the neighbourhood and the market conditions
- An experienced REALTOR® will negotiate price for you diligently and effectively
How to Choose a REALTOR® ?
Ask your potential REALTORS® the following questions:
1. How much experience do you have and can you provide references?
2. What services and resources do you offer?
3. How will the home-buying process work and what’s expected of me?
4. How much time can you devote to my needs and how often will you communicate with me?
5. Who will you represent, me or the seller?
6. What types of homes are your specialty and are you familiar with the neighbourhoods that interest me?
7. How many homes have you helped customers buy in the last year?
Do a Home Inspection
In order to secure in home in a time when bidding wars are rampant, many home buyers choose not to put a home inspection clause in their offer.
This is not always a good decision.
From moisture and mold in the basement to foundation issues, you could be in for expensive repairs and renovations after moving into the home.
Conducting a home inspection gives you peace of mind and saves you money in the long run.
Most people dream of home ownership
Real estate investment provides a home for you and your family, gives you a sense of belonging and builds wealth over time, which could very well help you with equity for your retired life.
The Canadian real estate market is booming, but that does not mean you are too late or too early to enter the market. Home Buying in Canada can be well within your reach!
The important things is to ensure that you have the basic knowledge about purchasing a home or a condo in Canada.
It is also extremely important to work with an experienced real estate professional, and you will soon fulfill perhaps one of your biggest dreams in life.
Style of Homes in Canada
Have more questions about the home-buying process, or ready to move forward with your purchase? Download the RE/MAX Home Buyer’s Guide, for everything you need to know about buying a home.
Summary of Steps to Home Buying in Canada:
- Choose a REALTOR® based on testimonials & name in the market
- Establish your budget
- Explore mortgage options, get pre-approved
- Identify homes you like with your REALTOR®
- Make an offer through your REALTOR®
- Get a home inspection done
- Close the deal
- Update utilities and transfer services
- Move into your new home!