Canada is an incredible country. The indigenous people of this country welcomed immigrants with open arms and built a solid foundation of welcoming spirit for all who choose to live here. We are proudly identified as not only a diverse mosaic of faiths, races, and heritage but also as one of the safest countries on earth.
Canada’s diversity extends to its beautiful landscape. No matter your desires, whether city or country, cottage or mansion, rural acreage, or bustling metropolis…Canada has it. If you are considering moving to the True North, read ahead to learn what you need to know about buying your first home in Canada.
Are you Ready?
If you are buying your first home in Canada, there are a few requirements you may not be aware of. The first is that you need an established credit history. If you are a newcomer, you need to open a bank account and access a credit card as soon as possible. Start making purchases and ensure your bills are paid off to verify good credit.
You will also want to ensure that you have a work history. You need to maintain a decent employment record, preferably at one location for as long as possible. Both will help a bank determine your eligibility for a mortgage. The lower your credit and work history, the more difficult it is. Without good enough credit or employment, you should look at getting a pre-approval and discuss mortgage insurance with your realtor and bank. Don’t forget that you will also need to have money saved for the down payment and the closing costs.
Know what you want
This may seem obvious, but it is not uncommon for new homebuyers to be unclear on what they truly need from their new home. Start with a list of essentials such as bedrooms and bathrooms, accessibility requirements such as no stairs or wheelchair friendly, and whether you need a garage or parking. Next, you need to consider important needs like access to certain amenities like schools or grocery stores, distance to public transit, the need for a yard or extra parking. Finally, you will list your preferences; these aren’t dealbreakers but things that will make a purchase more attractive to you such as a big kitchen, lots of windows, a home office or gym, or proximity to friends or social activities. You should also be very clear about your price range—what is your preferred spend and what is your absolute limit.
You should present this list to your realtor. Explain what your must-haves are, and what is negotiable. A knowledgeable realtor will be able to review your list and let you know what is reasonable. Every buyer wants the best house for the lowest price, it is your realtor’s job to let you know what is realistic and help you find what you are looking for!
The government of Canada’s response to recognizing the difficulties in buying a home for the first time has implemented some motivational programs to encourage and assist people to make their purchases. The CMHC First-time home buyer incentive (FTHBI) is an equity-sharing program where the government contributes to your down payment but also shares in any fluctuations in the home’s value until the loan is repaid. The Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) allows you to borrow up to $35000 from your RRSP to use towards a house purchase. There are also tax rebates for the GST/HST and Land Transfer costs that you may be eligible for. A realtor will know all about these incentives and be able to help you in your planning and budget.
Find a Realtor
If this is your first time buying a home, particularly if you are new to Canada, a realtor can help guide you through the decisions you need to make, give you insight into recent sales data for a particular area, and help you find the neighbourhood that will meet the needs of your family.
At The Blackwell Group, we know that the purchase of a new home is an exciting time! Reach out to us today so we can help make the process as fun and easy as possible. We would be happy to help you prepare for your first home purchase and to find the home of your dreams. We look forward to speaking with you soon!