Buying Your First Condo
Congratulations! Buying your first home is one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make.
Yes this can be scary, complex and sometimes frustrating, but I’m here to guide you every step of the way and manage the details to help you make a smart decision that you’ll be proud of for years to come. Having had the pleasure of working with many first-time buyers in the past, I specialize in making this process as easy and stress-free as possible. Below is some information that will help you get a better understanding of the condo buying process.
If you're not already familiar with condos you might want to take a quick look at a brief overview of what a condo is here.
THE CONDO BUYING PROCESS, STEP-BY-STEP
So you’re ready to make the leap and buy your first condo. Here’s how it works
1. LET'S SIT DOWN
Let’s grab coffee and get to know each other. I’m here to listen to your purchasing goals and determine how I can best help you accomplish these. We will go over the services I provide and clearly explain what you can expect along the way.
At this point we will also discuss what neighbourhoods you prefer, your ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and what price range we will work within.
In most cases my services are free for buyers*, as buyer's agents are usually paid by the listing agent for helping sell the home.
2. SELECT A LENDER
Find a good lender and get Pre-Approved. It's important for all buyers to get Pre-Approved with a lender before getting serious about hunting for your condo. This will not only help you figure out how much you can afford but it also locks-in your interest rate and protects you from rising interest rates.
3. START THE HUNT
Now that we’re ready to start the fun part! We’ll set up some time to go out together and start looking at different properties. I will organize a tour and accompany you an all viewings, offering extra information and advice along the way.
4. YOU'VE FOUND THE ONE; WRITE AN OFFER
This is it! You've found the one...Now what? This is really when the work begins, and when having a highly skilled agent, with market expertise and strong negotiating skills pays off. Make your decision with confidence. We will determine the right price for the condo by reviewing a comprehensive report of recent sales in the area. Then we will prepare the Offer or ‘Agreement of Purchase and Sale’ as I explain all the terms and conditions so you understand exactly what’s happening. I will present the offer on your behalf and help negotiate the best possible price and terms for you.
5. IF THE OFFER IS ACCEPTED, START YOUR DUE DILIGENCE
Your offer will usually be contingent to several 'subject' conditions, such as inspection, receiving financing and reviewing the strata documentation (if you're buying a condo), which you will have to satisfy before the offer is 'firm'. Once the offer is accepted (ie. you have agreed on the price) it is now time to start doing your due diligence. There is a lot involved in this process but I am here to walk you through step-by-step.
6. THE CLOSE
Once you have removed your subject conditions the offer is considered 'firm'. This is usually when your deposit is paid. Now you're in the final stretch as you work towards closing the deal! This involves you following up with your lender to complete the loan approval and meeting with your lawyers to sign all the documents and transfer ownership of the home. More information on the Closing Process & Closing Costs
Now you can celebrate and start planning your condo-warming party!
FIRST TIME HOME BUYER INCENTIVES
As a first time home buyer here in Vancouver, you can take advantage of several incentives available to you through both the Federal & Provincial Governments that help make buying your first home a bit more affordable.
PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX EXEMPTION
The First Time Home Buyers' Program is designed to help British Columbians purchase their first home. Under the program, eligible purchasers can claim an exemption from Property Transfer Tax if the fair market value of the home is less than the threshold amount of $475,000 (there is a partial exemption available for home ranging in price from $475,000 to $500,000). More info on the Property Transfer Tax Exemption
HOME BUYER'S PLAN
The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program that allows Canadians purchasing their first home to withdraw funds from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) for use towards the downpayment. As a first time home buyer you can withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year. More info on the HBP
HOME BUYER'S TAX CREDIT
The HBTC is a non-refundable tax credit, provided by the Government of Canada to help first-time home buyers.The HBTC is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2011) by $5,000. For 2011, the credit will be $750. More info on the HBTC
BC FIRST-TIME NEW HOME BUYERS' BONUS
The BC First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus is a one-time bonus payment worth up to $10,000 for first-time new home buyers in BC. More info on the BC First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus
* This is usually true but there are exceptions. We will discuss at the first meeting.