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How Does the Home Buyers’ Plan Work?




Why use the HBP?

If you’re a first-time buyer or haven’t owned a property within the last four years, the HBP lets you withdraw up to $35,000 from your RRSP to help purchase a home. You won’t be taxed on the money you withdraw (provided that you pay it back on time), and if you’re buying a home with your partner you could withdraw up to $70,000.

By using the HBP, you might be able to make a bigger down payment than would have been possible using your savings alone. Increasing your down payment reduces your mortgage (and therefore your payments) and could also take you over the threshold for mortgage loan insurance. 

As a general rule, the down payment must be between 5% and 20% of the price of the home you’re buying. For a house priced at $400,000, a down payment of 20% would be $80,000.  

Mortgage loan insurance is mandatory if your down payment is less than 20%. Though you’ll have to pay the premiums, you’ll be able to get your foot on the property ladder. 

Be aware that the minimum down payment varies depending on the price of the property. For homes over $500,000, it’s 10% of the portion of the purchase price that exceeds $500,000. For homes over $1,000,000, the minimum down payment is 20% of the total price. 

Here’s an example. For a home priced at $600,000, the portion in excess of $500,000 is $100,000, so you’ll need a minimum down payment of $35,000 (5% of $500,000 plus 10% of $100,000).

Tapping into your RRSP can be a good way to increase your down payment. The HBP can also help defray other costs involved in buying a home, like the land transfer tax.

Is the HBP right for you?

Here are some rules for the HBP:

  • You can only use your own RRSPs for an HBP withdrawal.
  • The maximum withdrawal is $35,000 per eligible person.
  • The house you’re buying or building must be in Canada.
  • You must be a first-time home buyer (or not have been a homeowner within the previous four years).
  • You must be a resident of Canada.
  • The property must become your principal residence before October 1 of the year following the RRSP withdrawal.  (Be careful if your property is under construction, because delays might prevent you from meeting the deadline.)
  • The money you withdraw under the HBP must have been contributed to your RRSP at least 90 days before withdrawal.
  • You can’t use the HBP for a second home, like a cottage. But the property you’re buying doesn’t need to be a single-family home. You can also take advantage of the HBP to buy a unit in a triplex or a high-rise.
  • You have to repay the money you withdraw within 15 years. (The 15-year period begins in the second calendar year after the withdrawal.)

You don’t have to withdraw all the money at once. You can make multiple withdrawals under the program during the same calendar year.

Good to know: If you’re entitled to the disability amount on your tax return, you (and any related persons helping you with the purchase) are exempt from the first-time buyer requirement.

How does the HBP work?

Don’t worry—it’s not complicated. Here’s the strategy, step by step.

  • Make sure the money you want to withdraw is in your RRSP for at least 90 days before the withdrawal date.
  • Fill out Canada Revenue Agency form T1036 Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) Request to Withdraw Funds from an RRSP, which takes you through the eligibility criteria.
  • After 90 days, make an HBP withdrawal and use it for your down payment. 
  • You then have up to 15 years to pay back the amount withdrawn from your RRSP. Repayments start in the second calendar year after the withdrawal. So if you used the HBP in 2020, for example, you would have to start paying it back in 2022.
  • You must repay at least 1/15th of the withdrawal each year. This means that if you withdraw the maximum amount of $35,000, you’ll have to pay back $2,333.33 to your RRSP each year. 
  • If you’re a sensible saver who puts $5,000 a year into your RRSPs, you might decide to put some (or all) of this toward the repayment. Be aware, though, that contributions you designate as repayments can’t be used to reduce your taxes. (The HBP is good, but it’s not that good.)

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‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place. HomeYou’ve been selected.Only $1.49/week for your first 4 months.Special offer just for you. Unlimited access.

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10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers





Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

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A Simplified Guide for Toronto First-Time Home Buyers





Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the fourth largest city in North America, which makes it an exciting place to live in.

But as with other major cities, finding the perfect place to move to can get tricky. If you’re planning on buying a home for the first time in this city, it is indeed a big decision and there are things you should know in advance.

Don’t worry, this guide will help explain the basics of what you as a buyer should know when you decide to buy a home. It will make you feel like a true expert during the buying process.

Decide what type of home you are looking for

There is no right answer to what makes a good home. It all depends on your preferences and needs as the resident. It is, therefore, a good idea to determine as early as possible which features of a home are important to you. If you are buying a home and moving in with someone, it can be a good idea for both of you to make a list and compare.

Toronto is a city that offers different styles of living accommodations and its neighborhoods are quite versatile and diverse, same as the people living there who come from all parts of the world.

The most common forms of housing and real estate opportunities in this city include bungalows, two-storey houses, split-level homes, and the very popular Toronto condos. Due to the high property values, the city boasts of construction of many condominiums as they are a more cost-efficient choice and provide a plethora of benefits.

When you decide on the type of home you want to buy, it is good to do some research and learn the biggest differences between them.

What to think of when choosing homes in Toronto

There are certain things you need to consider when choosing your home in this city. 

Being close to the things you need to visit every day makes life a lot easier. Pay attention to the proximity to shops, preschools, schools, and your job. In addition, access to good public transportation is crucial. Being able to move around the city easily and the opportunity to commute is important to many.

Know that having a balcony can significantly increase the value of your home and improve your well-being. Being able to move easily in the area is something that many people underestimate, but can be very convenient, and this is why you should see if there are good cycles and walking paths. 

And finally, make sure that the house is well designed which is a quality that does not disappear with the age of the house or with renovations. 

Set your budget

Before you start the search for your new home, you must know how expensive of a home you can buy. It is preferable to know in what price range to look for. The budget is usually decided based on your mortgage and how large are the monthly costs you can handle.

A mortgage is always about a balance between risk and income for the bank. The higher the risk for the bank to lend to a particular home, the more expensive the mortgage will be. When it comes to the bank’s reasoning when applying for a loan, it is in principle always a question of whether you as a borrower will be able to repay the mortgage.

The bank also takes into account your financial history. If you are a person who has managed your finances well, the chance increases that you will get your mortgage approved. If, on the other hand, you have a bad reputation with banks, it is weighed in as an aggravating circumstance.

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