Thinking about buying a home for the first time? Buying a home is likely the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Here are our top four tips to help you prepare for the process.
Our top 4 tips for first-time home buyers
1. Assess your financial situation.
There are many pros and cons to both buying and renting a home. When you rent, you’re usually not responsible if things go wrong. When you own your own home, there are additional expenses that you may not be aware of at first blush. You may want to keep a detailed budget to determine where your money goes currently and what that might look like with the additional expenses of home ownership. Here’s a calculator from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to figure out if buying a home is right for you.
2. Find out if you qualify for the First Time Home Buyers’ Program
The First Time Home Buyers’ Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax. Learn more about it here.
3. Determine what mortgage you will qualify for
To avoid disappointment, pre-qualify first and then start house hunting with clearly defined expectations. There are a few ways you can do this (such as through a financial institution or a mortgage broker). Make sure you do your research and find out the option that suits your needs best.
4. Come up with a savings plan
It’s usually a good idea to save up as much as you can, as the bigger the down payment, the smaller the mortgage and interest charges! You may also want to consider establishing an emergency fund to help you prepare for any unexpected costs that come along with home ownership. To give yourself some peace of mind, it’s good practice to set aside 5% of your income as an emergency fund to be ready – just in case. 5 tips for setting up an “uh-oh” fund
One last thing!
Once you have a home in mind, it’s time to think about getting an inspection! A home inspection is an important step in the decision-making process. In BC, home inspectors must be licensed with us and are required to follow certain laws. Learn more about what you can expect from an inspection.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.