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First time home buyer

Financial Aid for First Time Toronto Home Buyers

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Toronto is the second priciest city in Canada when it comes to home-buying. It is therefore no surprise that along with a sizeable down payment, many first-time homebuyers need other forms of financial assistance when it comes to making that leap from renting to buying. There are a few incentive programs designed to encourage first home-buyers. We cover a few of them over here.

Ontario Home Ownership Savings Plan (OHOSP)
Conceived as a savings vehicle for first time homebuyers in the province of Ontario, this plan allows you to open a savings account in any financial institution that will give you a tax credit of up to $500 per person ($1000 per couple) on your income tax return. It is not a tax shelter so any interest earned is taxable. To qualify your net income must not exceed $40,000 ($80,000 for couples). There is a maximum contribution to the account of $2000 per year ($4000 per couple) although there is no limit to how much you can actually put into the account. You can make contributions for 5 consecutive years before you have to close the account and you have 2 years to buy a home once the account is closed. You can ask your financial institution for more information on this incentive.

First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC)
The Canadian government has also devised a tax credit scheme to assist new home buyers with their first purchase of real estate. According to the government information page: The $5,000 non-refundable HBTC amount applies to qualifying homes acquired after January 27, 2009, and provides up to $750 in federal tax relief. You can read more about this incentive at the Revenue Canada Agency website.

First-Time Home Buyers RRSP Plan
The most well-known of all first-time home buyer incentives is the RRSP plan that allows first-time buyers to withdraw their RRSPs without penalty in order to use the money towards a down payment on their first property purchase. You then have 15 years in which to repay the amounts taken. You can consult your financial institution for more information on this program.

Ontario First-Time Home Buyer’s Land Transfer Tax Credit
The province of Ontario provides this tax refund of the land transfer tax up to $2000 for first time home buyers up to a maximum property price of $227,500, after which the cost is charged at a rate of 1.5%. So basically, you won’t have to pay the land transfer costs for the first $227,500 on your new home. You can read more about this over here //bit.ly/1B5boNL.

Raising the money needed to purchase your first home is never easy, which is why the federal and provincial governments offer these incentives to new homebuyers to help ease the financial burden. With a little planning, good budgeting and the help of these tax credits and incentives, you can be well on the path to homeownership!

First Time Home Buying Tips

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Buying a home for the first time can be a daunting and stressful business. Just saving for the down payment on a property in the Greater Toronto Area can be tough enough – for those just starting out, you might want to consult our article on budgeting over here //bit.ly/1wXnmYX to get an idea of how to budget when trying to save for the purchase of Toronto real estate. Once you have saved up enough cash for a down payment on your pad, there are a few things to consider before rushing out to visit open houses. Read on for a few tips that will help savvy first time-home buyers navigate the sometimes tricky waters of buying a house.

1. Know your neighbourhoods

As simple as that sounds, knowing your Ontario neighbourhoods involves more than just knowing what streets make up a community – it includes knowing the demographics, the transportation, the community services, the facilities and the available schooling. Whether you want a specific community for it’s proximity to your work or it’s abundance of nightlife will definitely determine the areas best suited for you and your family’s lifestyle. A couple of good sites delivering such information can be found here //bit.ly/1xuaM4Z and here //bit.ly/13OXiTP.

2. Know your budget

While we will all sometimes get carried away when house-hunting and wander into properties that are clearly out of our budget range, be prepared to know exactly how far out you can comfortably go before ending up house-poor. Set a realistic sliding scale of minimum and maximum price projections and then stick to it. And remember – always create your budget using your NET salary to have the clearest understanding of what you can afford.

3. Know what you want

We all want as much as we can get from a home, but realistically there will be certain elements that will make or break a sale. The best thing to do is to sit down and write out all of things you absolutely must have in a home and all of those elements you would like to have in a home. By knowing what you want and what you can live without, you will more easily be able to narrow down your choices when out hunting for homes.

4. Know that you are pre-approved

Once your budget is set, your down payment is saved, your list of must-have’s is created and you know your top-three neighbourhoods, it is now time to start searching for the right mortgage lender. Getting yourself pre-approved is necessary in a hot-market. Some sellers won’t even consider offers from a buyer who doesn’t already have the backing of a financial institution. Knowing that you are pre-approved for a mortgage will also give you confidence when you are house-hunting and will make securing that perfect property far easier when you do find it.

5. Know your realtor

Although finding a realtor might seem straight-forward, there are many elements that go into getting the right pairing for you. Firstly, you need to feel comfortable with your agent. Secondly, you need to be 100% sure that s/he is working for you and not for themselves. The best place to find agents is through family and friends, colleagues or other sources of referrals. A good agent will sit down and talk to you to find out what it is you’re looking for before anything else. Once they have a handle on what you want and the neighbourhoods that interest you, only then will they begin their search for you. Be prepared to go through at least one or two agents before you find the right one.

As long as you are prepared, house hunting can be a fun and memorable experience.