Becoming a first-time homebuyer in Vancouver is a worthwhile endeavor that may be more within reach than you think. There’s a noticeable trend of people holding off on purchasing a house or condo because of fear, but many are actually ready to embark on this journey now without knowing it yet! A monthly mortgage payment can be comparable to the amount of rent you’ve been paying so making those payments toward something that ultimately belongs to you rather than your landlord makes a lot of sense. Here are a few tips and facts for any first-time homebuyer in Vancouver.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Whether you’re self-employed, you’ve recently moved to Canada, or you believe that your income isn’t high enough, many people are concerned that they may not be approved for a mortgage.
Your first step is to set up a meeting with the bank to thoroughly go over your financial details to determine a pre-approval mortgage amount, which is an estimate of how large of a mortgage you can obtain. At this time, you may also want to see whether you are eligible for the CRA’s Home Buyers’ Plan, permitting you to withdraw from your RRSP to put toward the purchase of your first home.
The information that the bank will want to see is a proof of income, proof of assets, good credit, employment verification, and personal identification.
2. Narrow Down your Search Area
Now that you have an estimate of how much you can actually afford to spend on a house, in which neighbourhood do you want to live? Will it be a presale condo in Brentwood, a single-family home in North Vancouver, a charming apartment by the West Vancouver seawall, or somewhere else altogether?
3. Get the Conversation Started with your Realtor
Inform your Realtor of your pre-approved mortgage rate, your neighbourhood of choice, and your preferences and must-haves. An effective Realtor will immediately and transparently start connecting you to properties of interest.
4. Do your Research and be Prepared
Work with your Realtor on comparing your home of interest to other similar properties. As a first-time homebuyer in Vancouver, it’s important to know that the listed price doesn’t necessarily equate to the market value, so do your research and don’t overpay!
5. Make an Offer
Your Realtor will write up the offer on your selected house and have you sign it. In BC, if the seller accepts your offer, this counts as your Contract of Purchase and Sale. This document will contain not only information about the price of the house, but also crucial details such as deposit, down payment, and financing plans. This is also the moment to express requirements regarding possession dates, conditions to be satisfied by the seller, and subject clauses involving requests for inspections and to include any desired chattels (unattached items such as refrigerators or TVs) within the sale price. So, carefully review the written offer in detail and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
6. More About your Deposit
The amount of this deposit will be listed on your offer. It is presented to the seller as a sign of good faith that you will proceed with the buying process as outlined in your offer. Ultimately, the deposit amount will go toward your down payment and the purchase price.
7. Waiting for the Seller
After you’ve made your offer, the seller may accept it as is, reject it, make a counter-offer, or ignore your offer altogether (in BC, offers have expiry dates). If a counter-offer has been made, then you too have the option of accepting it, rejecting it, or making further adjustments and submitting another counter-offer. This process can go on until buyer and seller come to an agreement.
Once you have come to a mutually agreed upon offer between buyer and seller, you officially become a homeowner! Congratulations!
Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the process. Trust yourself to dive into taking the first step of becoming a Vancouver homebuyer. It can all be as simple as a general chat with your local Realtor, like Paris, to see what opportunities are available to you. Your landlord has done it – you can do it too.