So you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying your first home in beautiful Vancouver! Here are the top 15 tips and information to help you get started. And remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question! I strongly encourage questions and comments!
The government has announced, effective since February 19, 2014, under the Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Exemption program, qualifying first-time buyers can buy a home worth up to $475,000. The previous threshold was $425,000. The partial exemption continues and will apply to homes valued between $475,000 and $500,000.
Getting Started For First-Time Buyers
How Much Can I Spend? What to Know Exactly? Get Pre-Approved!
If you have several hundred thousand dollars in your bank account, great! If not, you should speak to your bank or a mortgage broker to find out how large of a mortgage you can get. The bank or broker will give you a mortgage pre-approval which is a rough estimation of what you can (or want to) borrow. This mortgage pre-approval is based on the information you provide the bank or mortgage broker. Remember, the more accurate and detailed the information you provide, the more accurate the pre-approval amount!
So You Know What You Can Spend, Where Are You Going to Buy?
So you’ve gone to the bank or met with your mortgage broker and you’ve been pre-approved. Now you know what you can spend, now you need to decide where you want to look.
Take a Walk! Once you’ve decided on the neighbourhoods you want to buy in, its time to hire a Realtor!
Hiring a First Time Home Buyer Specialist in Vancouver
Once you have decided on the neighbourhood, it’s time to select a Realtor. Nothing!? Yes, 9 times out of 10, a Buyers Agent is paid a finder’s fee by the Sellers Agent if the Buyer that is working with the Buyers Agent purchases the Sellers Agents listed property!
Furthermore, the Buyers Agent you hire is REQUIRED to disclose to you the Buyer in writing the amount they are getting paid by the Sellers Agent. To learn more, check out this great video on Buyers Agent Remuneration Disclosure Now its Interview Time!
Get Some Tools! Start Looking with an Open Mind! Communicate and Eliminate Options
So you’ve hired a Realtor now it’s time to put them to work! Nobody likes to waste time. How to efficiently search for a home with the assistance of a Real Estate Agent. Let’s get started!
They Can Ask, But Should You Give It? List price does not equal market value!
So now you’ve found your dream home and you want to write an offer. Now is the time to take a cold hard look at that property to figure out if it’s really worth what the seller is asking!
You’ve found your Dream Home, Whats next?
You finally found a property you want to buy and you have an idea of what its worth. You and your Realtor will need to draft up an offer in writing to signal to the Seller that you are serious about buying the property.
STOP! Time to for the Realtor Disclose EVERYTHING to the Buyer IN WRITING!
First Time Home Buyers Contract of Purchase and Sale
A Real Estate Offer is a Contract of Purchase and Sale in BC? Yes!
So you’re ready to write an offer and your Realtor has had you read and sign several disclosures as we discussed. In British Columbia, a Real Estate Offer is officially referred to as a Contract of Purchase and Sale. Always ask questions!
How Much? Now we’ll start going through the offer in detail starting with the price!
Many first time home buyers think a real estate offer to buy property in Vancouver is a simple document that is only about price. The widely held perception is that an offer has how much the Buyer is willing to pay and if the Seller accepts the Buyers price its a done deal. Not quite, as I will explain.
When is a Real Estate Deposit Normally Paid In Vancouver?
Now we’re going to talk about the Deposit. A good faith Deposit is almost always offered (But not paid immediately!) when a Buyer submits an offer or Contract of Purchase and Sale to buy a residential property in Vancouver.
This deposit money is deposited and held to ensure the Buyer will go forward with the deal on the Completion Date after they have removed their subject conditions. This deposit money forms part of and is included in the purchase price.
In most cases, the deposit is NOT PAID upon acceptance of the offer!
Completion, Possession, and Adjustment Dates & BC’s Contract of Purchase of Sale
The Completion, Possession, and Adjustment Dates can be set at any time agreed to by the Buyer and Seller (One day after an Accepted Offer to years after). In most cases, the Completion Date comes first, and the Possession Dates and Adjustment occur the next day.
Remember! The Completion, Possession, and Adjustment Dates laid out in the Contract of Purchase and Sale only occur once all subject conditions have been removed!
What is Normally Included When Buying in Vancouver? It Comes with What?
When you buy a property in Vancouver it is possible to specify what is and is not included in the sale. Section 7 of the Contract of Purchase and Sale is where this is laid out exactly in terms of what will be included and excluded from the sale of the property.
Included Items are items such as Washer/Dryer, Stove, Oven, Dishwasher, Chandelier in the Dining Room, Big Screen TV in the Living Room. Don’t trust a Sellers word that they will include or exclude a particular item or fixture! GET IT IN WRITING!
A BC Real Estate Offer Expires? Yes!
A Real Estate Offer in almost all situations has a date and time of expiration that is noted in Section 23 of the Contract of Purchase & Sale on page 4. The Offer is only open for Acceptance or a Counter Offer until the date and time noted in Section 23. If the offer is not accepted or a counter offer is not sent back before this time, the Offer expires and is no longer open for acceptance or for a counter offer.
When it comes to buying a first home, Safety Comes First!
Subject Clauses in a Real Estate offer coupled with detailed due diligence is the best ways to ensure that a first home isn’t a hassle, money pit, leaky condo, or worse.
What does Subject to Financing Mean?
Subject to financing basically means that a Buyer, for up to 7 days after an offer is accepted, can walk away from or kill the accepted offer if the Buyer cannot get satisfactory financing.
Keep in mind this is a subjective criteria based on the Buyers opinion of the financing as to whether it is satisfactory or not.
What is an Inspection When Buying a Home in Vancouver?
An Inspection or Home Inspection as they are commonly referred to in Vancouver is when the Buyer has a qualified and certified Home Inspector check the physical condition of the property that is of interest.