Posted on February 05, 2014

Five Tips for First-Time Homebuyers in BC

Kitchen and Living Room
Buying your first home can sometimes be as intimidating as it is exciting. With all the boxes you have to check and the decisions you have to make, it’s no wonder that the process leaves many first-time homebuyers feeling overwhelmed and underprepared.

To help alleviate some of the stress that comes with buying your first home, the Beedie Team has created a list of a few simple steps that will help with buying your first home, making it the exciting experience that it should be.

1. Know What You Can Afford

Possibly the most disheartening thing you can do when looking for your first home is to fall in love with something you cannot afford. Make sure you speak to your bank or a mortgage broker to get a firm pre-approved mortgage before you start shopping around. And remember, this is your first home, so it’s important to be realistic and realize that it doesn't have to be your home forever. Everyone has to start somewhere on the property ladder! For an estimated budget, check out these mortgage calculators

2. Take Advantage of BC First-Time Homebuyer Benefits

With the rising cost of real estate, the Government of BC and the Government of Canada have implemented programs to help first-time homebuyers take the plunge and invest in one of the most stable markets available to Canadians: the real estate market. BC residents who have never owned a home can receive up to $10,000 through the BC First Time Home Buyers’ Bonus. All Canadian first-time homebuyers are eligible for the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC) for up to $5000.

3. Calculate All Additional Homeowner Costs

Make sure you take any additional costs into consideration, like closing costs, tax, insurance, strata fees, estimated monthly heating and BC Hydro bills and money for repairs or upgrades if needed. Most financial planners suggest never allotting over 30% of your income to fixed home costs or you'll risk being house poor. Consider all other outstanding debts (student loans, car loans, lines of credit) as well to ensure you can comfortably make ends meet, with some left over for savings.

4. Know The Difference Between Needs & Wants

It’s easy to dream of all the things your perfect home would have, but unless you have a limitless budget it’s much more important to be able to differentiate between your needs and your wants. Perhaps you would love an ocean view and two-car garage, but what is much more important is a safe neighbourhood with easy access to transit and good schools. Make sure you communicate the non-negotiables with your real estate agent and of few of your dream items as well.

5. Know What You’re Buying 

Of course, before you sign the next 25 years of your life over you will want to ensure that you know exactly what you are buying. It’s worth every penny of the $500 or so to have a good inspector come look at the quality of your potential new home. Furthermore, get to know the neighbourhood really well as ‘location, location, location’ is still one of the most important factors in a real estate purchase. 

For information on current real estate developments in Metro Vancouver, check out the Beedie Living properties: Station Square in Burnaby and The Austin in West Coquitlam.