Before you get started with shopping and falling in love with your perfect first Kelowna home, there is some fine print to get through. Some of it is unpleasant, but some of it will make you happier than a kid on Christmas!
- Provincial Property Transfer Tax (PPT): This can be a big one folks – the PPT can sneak up unsuspectingly and ruin your day – but not after you read this! In BC, the PPT applies to all real estate transactions with a select few exceptions. Luckily, as a first time homebuyer you can take advantage of one of these exceptions. If you are a first time home buyer purchasing a home under $450,000 there are rebates available that relieve of that particular concern. If your first home is over $450,000, you may be responsible for a part or all of the PPT. The other exception is on new-build properties. New construction is exempt from PPT for prices up to $750,000 for all buyers, first time or not. Note: The PPT must be paid up front, so you cannot usually roll it into your mortgage.
- GST – Speaking of new builds, always be aware that any new build in BC will be subject to federal sales tax. Yes, our old friend GST pops up everywhere, and property is no exception. In British Columbia, most listed new-build prices do not include GST, so it’s always safe to assume that you will need to add that 5% to the price. Luckily lenders and banks allow you to include GST in your mortgage, so you won’t have to come up with that 5% out of pocket! Once again though there is some relief if your purchase price is below $400,000 – partial rebates are available in these cases. Cha-ching!
- BC HOME Partnership – You may have heard about the BC HOME Partnership, but the program is now discotinued!
- Choosing your team! Buying a property is a big investment! Like all big investments, you’re going to want some help along the way. You need good people on your team.
- Realtor - Choosing a great realtor is important. A great realtor isn’t just one who can get you a good price. Education on the market, supporting you through the process, and post-purchase follow up is so important. Some agents even specialize in working with first time home buyers. Choose wisely! Check out http://geoffhallhomes.com/testimonials.html to find out why Geoff (e.g. me!) is the right choice.
- Mortgage Broker – Especially for first time home buyers, we always recommend getting an opinion from a broker instead of applying only at your bank branch. Mortgage brokers have access to dozens of lenders and types of financing options. Getting the lowest rate isn’t the only thing to consider – there are so many other things to consider, and a high quality mortgage broker will be worth their weight in gold.
- Lawyer – Usually real estate transactions are pretty smooth from a legal perspective, but we always recommend obtaining the services of an experienced real estate lawyer. There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes during a purchase or sale, so get someone who can handle it all!
- Home Inspector – Home inspections are great insurance against unseen issues with a property. There is a lot of moving parts in a home, from heating systems, plumbing, irrigation, roofing – the list goes on. Hiring a quality home inspector who is familiar with the specific considerations of your neighbourhood is some of the best money you’ll ever spend.
There’s some stuff to get your started. The best option is really to call us for all the juicy information – there is lots to know and we’d love to chat.