First Time Home Buyer Grants, Rebates and Tax Exemptions
The BC and Canadian Governments offer a variety of perks for first time home buyers to help ease the financial burden.
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.
If one or more of the purchasers don’t qualify, only the percentage of interest that the first time home buyer(s) have in the property is eligible.
For example, if you qualify and purchase a property with a fair market value of $400,000 with a person who doesn’t qualify you would still qualify. If you owned a 60% interest in the property, 60% of the tax amount would be eligible for the exemption.
Do I Qualify?
- To qualify for a full exemption, at the time the property is registered you must:
- be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years
- have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time
- have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund
and the property must:
- be located in B.C.
- only be used as your principal residence
- have a fair market value of:
- $475,000 or less if registered on or before February 21, 2017, or
- $500,000 or less if registered on or after February 22, 2017
- be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller
- You may qualify for a partial exemption from the tax if the property:
- has a fair market value less than:
- $500,000 if registered on or before February 21, 2017, or
- $525,000 if registered on or after February 22, 2017
- is larger than 0.5 hectares
has another building on the property other than the principal residence
Find out the amount of your exemption if you qualify.
Foreign entities and taxable trustees are not eligible for the exemption. If you are an individual who doesn’t qualify because you are not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but you become one within 12 months of when the property is registered, you may apply for a refund of the property transfer tax. To apply for a property transfer tax refund in this case, call 250 387-0555.
FIRST TIME HOME BUYER TAX CREDIT
Income Tax Act s. 118.05
A non-refundable tax credit was enacted as part of the 2009 Federal Budget, based on an amount of $5,000 for first-time home buyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009. The home is considered to be acquired once it is registered in your name in accordance with the land registration system or other similar system applicable where it is located (in Canada). The year of acquisition is the year in which the tax credit can be claimed. If you missed claiming this credit in the year of purchase, you can file an adjustment to your tax return. See our article on Changing Your Tax Return.
Note that if a home is gifted to a person, as long as all other requirements are met, the person can still qualify for the home buyers’ tax credit. The person who gifted the home is deemed to have disposed of it, and may have to report a capital gain.
The credit is also be available in respect of a home acquired by an individual who is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC), or by an individual for the benefit of a DTC-eligible relative, if the home is acquired to enable the DTC-eligible person to live in a more accessible dwelling.
The credit can be claimed by the individual who acquires the home, or by the spouse or common-law partner of that individual, or can be split between spouses.
To be eligible for this credit, you must not have lived in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the calendar year of the home purchase or in any of the four preceding calendar years.
The Canadian Tax Calculator includes the first-time home buyers’ tax credit.
Are you ready for home ownership?
There are several situations which may cause you to want to become a first time home buyer. Perhaps your landlord isn’t the easiest person to deal with. Perhaps you’re ready to move out of Mom and Dad’s home. Perhaps you’re tired of paying rent each month when you could be building equity. Perhaps you were just gifted with an inheritance. Purchasing a home may be the solution to all of the above situations but it is also a big responsibility.
Our Real Estate agents in White Rock and South Surrey areas, plus surrounding communities of Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, we’ve worked with all kinds of first-time buyers. As such we’ve put together some of the most important and common information we like to discuss when first meeting with first-time home buyers. Taking the leap into home ownership can seem risky but also very rewarding and it is important to make sure you are confident and informed throughout the entire process.
Purchasing your own home may be your dream but it is a big responsibility. There are a few things you may want to consider when deciding to take that leap into home ownership.
Benefits of First Time Home Ownership
Fall in Value of BC Real Estate
In the last few years throughout British Columbia and especially the Lower Mainland there has been a continual rise in property values. However after years of a sellers market it is finally a buyers market. Meaning you can negotiate on prices, add subjects to offers allowign inspections and time for financing and many other perks. The values will start to rise again soon howver now is a great time to get intot the market and pick and choose from a large amoutn of supply with a limited amoutn of demand. Real estate investments differ from most other investments in that they are considered one of the safest investments in the world. You actually reside in your investment and you can control how the investment looks, feels and is maintained. Owning your own home is very much an investment and one that can be used for the future. Whether you’re planning for a family or for your children’s future or your own retirement, a solid real estate investment can help you and your family succeed financially.
Building Up Your Equity with Real Estate
Every month you make a payment on your mortgage and after every payment your equity builds. You can use this equity for a variety of purposes. You can borrow against the home to send your kids to university, become a entrepreneur and start a small business, or use the equity to do some upgrades on the home to fix it up and sell for profit. Not only is your home a shelter and a place of rest, love and family, but your home is a safe haven for investment and helps to give you and your family stability and security.
Questions for Prospective Homeowners to Ask Themselves
Are you financially ready to buy?
Many first time home buyers fear the unknown …“What if I can’t make a mortgage payment?”
If you can consistently make your rent payments on time now there shouldn’t be any reason you won’t be able to make your mortgage payments in the future. It is important to feel confident in your financial security. Make sure you have all of your ducks in row before you start shooting. Make sure all your priorities fit. Make sure you have that down payment needed and that you don’t need that for any significant debt.
What are your priorities in life?
For some it may not make sense to purchase a home. Logically work out how long you plan to live in this new home and set a timeline as to what you would like to do in the home and when you would like to move. Home ownership is a blessing not a curse. Do you like to travel? Do you plan on a promotion soon? Do you want to spend time maintaining a home? If you don’t want to be tied down to certain responsibilities or a certain neighborhood or city perhaps home ownership isn’t for you.
How much can you afford?
We work with multiple mortgage professionals on a daily basis. We can recommend many professional individuals from all different cultures and languages to help you. The important thing is that you find the right mortgage that will work the best with your lifestyle. If you like to spend most of your time outside and spending lots of money make sure you tell the mortgage professional you are speaking with so that they can help you figure out a budget and mortgage which will best suite your needs. Did you know you can use up $25,000 of your RRSP as a down payment towards the purchase of your new home? Ask us for more details…
What do you want in a home?
This is something that is often a very large hurdle for purchasers just starting to look. If you have watched any property show on HGTV you will know that what you want and what you can afford are often two very different things. It’s always a good idea to get some professional advice from an experienced Realtor and see what it is you can afford. If you require 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with yard for Max your Rottweiler you may need to get creative and explore alternate neighborhoods offering more affordable properties. Your wish list, priority list and lifestyle requirements are all items we discuss as your Realtor®. While it can seem stressful or confusing to set realistic expectations and priorities at the beginning this will ultimately help you save time and a lot of emotional energy.
We can keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. One thing we will go over at first introduction is what you are looking for in a home …
- Do you have pets?
- Do you want to be close to family?
- Is safety and low areas a concern?
- Do you own a vehicle and need parking?
- Do you take public transportation?
- Is local amenities needed to be a certain distance?
- Do your children have to attend school?
In our experience, a buyer’s priorities can easily be forgotten when they view a home that seems absolutely perfect in every way except the basic principles and priorities. We will help keep the excitement but point towards the right direction. It’s important to not lose sight of why you are buying a home in the first place and not start writing offers on the first house you see with a swimming pool or built in waterslide.
Ryan Taylor Loves to Work With First Time Buyers!
As a First Time Buyer everything about the home buying process will likely be a new experience for you and you’ll probably have lots of questions. Other real estate agents may put you to the side because of your small budget or make you may feel like a burden with all your questions. But at WestCoastEstates.ca, we make you our number one priority regardless of how many questions you ask or how big or small your budget may be. Our WestCoast real estate agents are experienced, educated and know how to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. We want you to feel proud to have us as your Realtors and to experience what we call the home ownership pride.
Our Connections Become Your Connections
In addition to our Realtor expertise you’ll need help from other professionals that we help you get connect with.
Mortgage Brokers – We can recommend a Mortgage Broker for you to work with to get you pre-approved for a loan and to shop around for the very best rates.
Lawyers – We can recommend many real estate lawyers in your area who are of outstanding reputation and will treat you the way we will. In the legal profession it’s known that some lawyers may overcharge and take advantage of you, knowing that you are new and don’t know any different. We only recommend lawyers who will treat you with the same high standards and integrity that we do. Plus, the legalities of transferring land ownership can be dodgy and a lawyer can be your best defence against future legal troubles. Lawyers in general can be expensive but because we have a number of lawyers we work with on a regular basis and can get you a great deal from us referring so many clients to them.
Inspectors – We also have a list of reputable and licensed Inspectors in your area. Home inspectors will have the tools and knowledge to find signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint and mold. They’ll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring and leaks. Inspectors are one of the most important parts of purchasing a home. This can save you from a world of legal trouble in the future when you find out there is mold under the crawl space or a large crack that runs through the foundation. Licensed Inspectors are knowledgeable, informative and can keep you form purchasing something that you shouldn’t.
Become a First Time Home Buyer Today
If it’s time to move out of mom and dad’s home or you’ve decided this is the year you want to stop paying rent to a landlord please contact us today! We can discuss the above information as it pertains to your specific situation and come up with a plan for home ownership that has your best interests at heart.
Please call at (778) 929-4290 today. Contact Ryan Taylor from Sutton Group West Coast Estates for neighbourhood specific expertise.