I’m Ready to Buy a Great Home in Victoria. Where Do I Start?
So, you’re ready to buy a home in Victoria. That’s great news!
You sit down at your computer, open up your browser, and think to yourself:
“Where do I start? Where should I start?”
The average home buyer will more than likely turn to a quick Google search or Realtor.ca and off they go.
The only problem is that starting your actual search before getting a better idea of the buying process and your budget will cost you both time and energy.
Before starting your search, it’s imperative you understand what goes into buying a home and how a Real Estate Advisor will work with you to simplify the process along the way.
With that, here are 8 questions and answers you should know before setting out to buy a home in Victoria, BC.
#1: I’m curious about buying a home in Victoria. What should I do first?
Answer: Get pre-qualified for a mortgage!
Why this is important: More often than not, home buyers will need a mortgage to finance their home. It’s important you get pre-qualified so that you have a better understanding of what you can and cannot afford.
What you can do: Speak with a trusted Mortgage Professional and learn more about the mortgage process. They will take you through a pre-qualification application to determine a loan amount that you’ll likely qualify for.
#2: I’ve qualified for a mortgage in Victoria. What’s the next step after mortgage pre-qualification?
Answer: Now you can begin your home search! Most buyers will start their search online. Additionally, you can attend open houses in neighbourhoods of your choosing. This is also the time where you should consider working with a Real Estate Advisor.
Why this is important: Oftentimes, photos of properties online do not give a buyer the true feel of that home. It’s important to view properties in person and begin to narrow your search criteria.
What you can do: In addition to your online home search, start to think about enlisting the services of a Real Estate Advisor. After all, in most instances, there is no cost to a buyer for working with an agent. More on this in #4.
#3: Why should I work with a Real Estate Agent in Victoria?
Answer: They will walk you through the entire process of your home search in Victoria from start to finish.
Why this is important: It’s crucial that you have a qualified Real Estate Advisor in your corner. Not only will they represent you in your purchase as an agent; they will show you properties, discuss what exactly to look for (and what to avoid), negotiate on your behalf, and connect you with professional resources. All of this while protecting your best interests and needs.
What you can do: Speak with a Real Estate Advisor and learn more about their experiences, values, and style as an agent. After all, they should be someone you can trust and place your full confidence in with your purchase.
#4: What does it cost to work with a Real Estate Agent?
Answer:If you are buying real estate, nothing.
Why this is important: In most cases, buyers do not pay their Real Estate Agent a commission. A buyer’s agent will, however, receive a commission from the seller’s. This is referred to as a cooperating broker fee.
What you can do: Speak with your Real Estate Agent about their commission structure. Scenarios occasionally arise where the cooperating broker fee is less than anticipated. Your Real Estate Agent can share more about the available options in such scenarios.
#5: What is the minimum amount I can use for a down payment?
Answer: CMHC requires a minimum down payment of 5% in Canada for homes under $500,000. A minimum of 10% down is needed on the portion between $500,000 and $1,000,000.
For homes over $1,000,000, a minimum down payment of 20% is required.
Why this is important: A buyer with a down payment of less than 20% will need CMHC mortgage insurance. This insurance premium can be paid all at once or added to the monthly mortgage payments.
What you can do: Visit CMHC’s mortgage calculator to see how your down payment will impact your mortgage and/or mortgage insurance. For more help, I would highly recommend speaking with a Mortgage Specialist.
#6: I’m buying my first home in Victoria. What buying incentives or programs are available?
Answer: There are a few programs available to first-time home buyers in Victoria and Canada, including the First-Time Home Buyers’ Program, CMHC Insured Equity Mortgage, and the Home Buyers Plan RRSP.
Why this is important: Our Government is trying to find ways to make home ownership more accessible across Canada. The above 3 programs are a great place to start.
What you can do: Visit the links above to learn more about each incentive. There are a few caveats with each one, so make sure to read the fine print!
#7: What are the associated closing costs of buying a home?
Answer: In addition to the purchase price, buyers cover the cost of lawyers & conveyancing, appraisals, property inspections, and home insurance. These will roughly total $2,000-2,500, depending on the scope of the services provided.
Other costs to take into account are movers, do-it-yourself renovations, and furniture, if applicable.
Why this is important: Buyers often overlook the smaller costs that add up when buying a home. It’s important every cost is taken into account to provide a more realistic budget.
What you can do: Familiarize yourself with the above costs so that you know what to expect come closing time. Your Real Estate Advisor should be able to provide recommendations for other professional services, such as inspectors, appraisers, movers, and more.
#8: What is Property Transfer Tax? Does a Buyer pay Property Transfer Tax?
Answer: Property Transfer Tax is an additional tax paid by a Buyer when they gain an interest in property (i.e. a home) in BC.
Why this is important: Property Transfer Tax is a significant expense for buyers purchasing used real estate in BC. New real estate (such as pre-sale condos or pre-construction homes) that are under $750,000 fair market value are exempt from Property Transfer Tax.
For homes under $1,000,000, Property Transfer Tax can be calculated as 2% of the sale price less $2,000. You may be exempt from paying Property Transfer Tax if you are a first-time home buyer. See #6 for more information!
What you can do: Visit the BC Government’s page on Property Transfer Tax to learn more. For more help, I would highly recommend speaking with a Lawyer.
Buying a home is an exciting time! It is important buyers are well-versed in the buying process so that there are as few surprises as possible along the way.
Throughout the home buying process, it’s my goal as a Real Estate Advisor to minimize stress and maximize knowledge. Of course, it should be fun too!
If you’re interested in learning more about buying a home and your own home search in Victoria, I would love to hear from you.