­Housi­­­ng prices can seem completely unattainable to middle-class renters. This is one big reason why many renters get stuck in the cycle of renting. Down payments, excellent credit, and massive commitment are only a few of the reasons today’s generation of first-time homebuyers are keeping their cash in the rental market.

However, what most may not realize is that just like online coupon codes, there exist many programs designed to do everything they can to help low- to modest-income renters own their first home. We’d like to show you some tips and tricks not everyone knows about.

WHY BUY?

Its no surprise that today’s generation are the worst savers ever. To make matters worse, the value of Real Estate is not easily ascertained. Bank balances don’t include the value of the house, and (with exceptions) the investment cannot be broken into smaller portions. The idea of home ownership feels like a last-luxury in the life of the modern millennial. And so, a steady stream of $2000+ a month in rent money feels like a ‘safe’ and reasonable way to life. Why cut the quality of life to have a bank loom over your head, threatening to take away your place of residence if you so much as hiccup?

However, when you break the total cost down into monthly payments, quite often your mortgage ends up costing you the same or less each month than what you pay in rent. So unless you’re the kind of person who refuses to do any home maintenance or if you consider yourself a nomad not ready to put down roots, it’s worth it to get out of the rental market, own your own little corner of the world, and possess a sizable asset. If you do your homework and take advantage of all the possible programs available, your dream of home ownership could come a lot faster than you thought it would.

RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan

What is an RRSP?

When people think of RRSP, they tend to think of retirement plans. An RRSP is a tax-deffered savings program. In essence, the government allows you to ‘squirrel’ a portion of your annual income into a long-term savings account (different types of RRSP’s exist, ranging from classic savings accounts to GICs, and even trading accounts). The amount you contribute is reduced from your total taxable income that year. The money is taxed upon withdrawal, which usually occurs during retirement (when you’re typically in a lower tax bracket than when you contributed). The amount you are eligible to designate is dependent on multiple factors, including the amount of income you reported the previous year.

How can it help me buy a home?

The RRSP Home Buyer’s plan is a program designed by the government to incentivise saving for a down payment on a home. Money saved in an RRSP (up to $25,000 CAD at the time of writing) can be withdrawn tax-free, and used towards the down payment of your first home. To participate, you must be a resident of Canada and it must be considered your first home purchase (other restrictions apply…want to see if you’re eligible? Contact Us for more details).

CMHC Green Plan

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Green Plan is an incentive for purchasing an energy-efficient home. This program allows a refund of up to 25% on the CMHC mortgage insurance premium when purchasing an energy efficient home. It also can be applied if you purchase and mortgage a home, and make energy-saving renovations within a specific period of time.

First Time Home Owner Incentive Program

The First Time Home-Owner Incentive Program is a recent initiative to attract those looking to purchase their first home in Canada. Under this program, first time home buyers are eligible to participate in a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. In a shared-equity mortgage, the government shares ownership in the home at its market value. The exchange for the share in ownership is a considerable portion of the down payment on an insured mortgage. The down payment portion can be repaid at any time in full or in part during the mortgage, or when you sell the home. Restrictions apply, and you should seek further counselling (from a lawyer at ReaLawState for example) for details and to determine your eligibility.

 

 

By combining such options as participating in the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan, the CMHC Green Plan, and the First Time Home Owner Incentive Program, you can end up with sizable down payment with almost no effort in no time at all. Top it off with all the tax credit programs available to first-time home buyers, and your dream of home ownerships is actually within reach.

ReaLawState’s Advice to Reach Your Goal

1. Keep your expectations realistic.

If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have the resources for that 4-bedroom/2.5 bath house with the sprawling yard, open concept main floor, and high-end finishes in the neighbourhood you dream of.

2. Make a list.

Determine what is the absolute most important to you. This is your entry home.

It’s the first step in a journey of home ownership.

3. Build up

Always choose the smallest house in the best neighbourhood! In a recent study, over 75% of purchasers rated the quality of the location as MORE important than the size of the home! Remember, its always possible to change the house, but not the neighbourhood!

 

Realawstate will take care of the little odds and ends at the end of the buying process, that can really add up…such as the legal fees included in the closing of a home. Interested in getting started purchasing your first home? Contact us for a free consultation today!

We’ve compiled some resources and information on some more programs here for your reference:

 

Programs:

RRSP HOME BUYERS PLAN

HOME BUYERS TAX CREDIT

CMHC GREEN HOME

LAND TRANSFER TAX REFUNDS FOR FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS

ONTARIO ENERGY AND PROPERTY TAX CREDIT

MUNICIPAL LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE

GOVERNMENT OF CANADA FIRST TIME HOME OWNER INCENTIVE