For First-Time Buyers

You've picked a great time to buy your first home. Despite steady appreciation of home prices, relatively low interest rates have kept the costs of home ownership at near historic lows. You can enjoy peace of mind working with 
Michael J. Dowling, and RE/MAX Realty - Vancouver's industry leader in experience and service.

Here are some tips to help you with the process of becoming your own landlord.

Pre-qualify for a Loan
Being pre-qualified for a loan determines how much house you can afford. It also allows you to move more swiftly when you find the right house, especially when you aren't the only interested buyer.

Shop for Mortgage Rates and Terms
A difference of even half a percentage point can make a huge difference in how much you pay over the life of a loan. For example, the difference in the monthly payment on a $100,000 mortgage at 8 percent vs. 7.5 percent is about $35 per month. Over 30 years, that's $12,600.

Using a Buyer Agent
A buyer agent is legally responsible for representing the buyer's interest in a real estate transaction. Generally, they buyer agent is compensated by the seller at the time you purchase a new home. There are some limitations to using a buyer agent, however. Before you decide, have a Realtor explain the advantages and disadvantages of using a buyer agent.

Features that Help or Hurt Resale Value
In some areas, a swimming pool actually detracts from a home's value and makes the home harder to sell. In neighborhoods with two-car, attached garages, a single-car or detached garage may impact the home sale and future value. Your Realtor can point out features that hurt, as well as those which help, resale value.

Rate the Houses you Tour
After touring each home, write down what you liked and didn't like. Develop a rating system which will help you narrow the field down to the house that's the best for you.

Purchase Incentives
There are many incentives to help out the first-time buyer. There are now CMHC approved loans that allow you to finance your purchase with only five-percent down.

Another option is the Home Buyers Plan. (HBP) In short, it allows the first-time buyer to withdraw from their RRSP funds up to $20,000 help with their downpayment. It is to be paid back over a fifteen-year period.

The Property Purchase Tax Exemption protects the first-time buyer from paying the one percent on the first $200,000 and two percent on the balance. The maximum purchase price in this program for Greater Vancouver is $275,000. There are other clauses as well, but contact Michael J. Dowling Prudenatial Sussex Realty for more information.