Buying your first home can be both adventurous and overwhelming. The Government of Canada and other financial institutions (insurance agencies, banks, mortgage agencies, etc.) present several financial incentives and assistance to help you throughout your home buying journey.
You can also consider cashing out your RRSP early – click here for more information on how you can do so.
Find out which financial assistance schemes are fit for you! But before that, let’s understand the costs associated with purchasing a home.
Costs Associated With Purchasing A Home
While buying a home, the upfront cost of the property isn’t the only cost associated. Various other additional factors add up the total cost of your property purchase.
Legal Assistance Expenses
On the day you close the deal and finally purchase your home, you’ll be required to pay legal assistance fees. Lawyer expenses typically range between $400 to $2,500. The fee varies with your lawyer’s experience, expertise, and notary’s rates.
A lawyer or notary assists you in protecting your legal interests. They ensure that all the legal documentation is accurate and the property you’re purchasing does not have a lien against it.
A lien can be defined as a legal claim over another individual’s property that someone files to ensure a debt amount gets paid.
A legal expert reviews all contracts, your offer, agreement to purchase, and documentation before you sign them. This prevents you from getting involved in any legal trouble or complications (worst case scenario- freezing of the asset) in the future.
Insurance For Your Property
Insurance is generally not an option but a necessity if you want to secure a credit or mortgage loan from financial institutions.
Home insurance policies help safeguard your home and its contents in unfortunate circumstances such as theft, loss, or damage. Depending on the home loan schemes, you can get coverage for both inside and outside components of your property.
Land Registration Fees
Before closing the sale, you’ll need to pay the registration fee required to register the purchased property’s title under your name. This is known as land transfer tax, a tariff, a deed registration fee, or a property transfer tax.
The fee for this registration is a percentage of your property’s purchase price. For example, suppose your property transfer tax is 2%, and your home’s price is $500,000. In that case, you pay an additional $10,000 above your home’s purchase cost (excluding legal expenses, insurance, and any other cost.)
New Property HST
Generally, if you buy a newly built home, i.e., become the first owner of a brand new property, you’ll need to pay GST or HST.
Some dealers/ project owners include the HST in the property’s sale price, while some might not. Ensure to discuss this aspect with your property broker/seller. Otherwise, the additional cost might drop as a surprise on the closing day.
Other Associated Final Costs
- Interest adjustments
- Certificate of Location charges
- Estoppel certificate (primarily applicable for condominium units)
- Township or municipal fees
- Property appraisal fees
- Home inspection costs
- Packing and moving costs
4 Financing Options When You Require An Extra Fund For Your Home
Explore the various financing options and choose the best for your requirements.
Home Equity Loans
Home Equity can be defined as:
Value of your property – Amount owing on your mortgage/other types of loans = Home equity.
A home equity loan offered by a credit institution is simply a mortgage against the property (against home equity value) you’re purchasing or any other previously purchased real estate you may choose to use.
- The schemes and plans can vary. You might find financial institutions that provide assistance even with third mortgages.
- You don’t require any credit score or detailed information about your income for home equity loans as the lenders use your property as collateral.
- With home equity loans, you can secure a lump sum upfront.
- In return, you’ll be required to pay fixed payments throughout the loan period and have fixed interest rates.
Home Equity Line Of Credit (HELOCs)
This works much like credit cards, where you have an upper credit limit.
- You can tap into your home equity when required up to a specific predefined credit limit with HELOCs.
- Once you exhaust a certain limit, you’ll be required to repay that debt to reset the full limit (revolving credit just like a credit card).
- In case you use up the entire limit, you’ll need to repay the entire home equity value along with interests for using the HELOC credits again.
Since the amount you lend can be different every time, HELOCs have a variable interest rate, and the payments don’t have a fixed value. Just like home equity loans, the collateral is your real estate property.
However, for securing HELOCs, you’ll require a good credit score and a stable source of income.
Loans From Banks
Various leading banks have introduced home loan schemes to offer credit for purchasing your dream house. However, this loan is generally opted for as the first option for financing rather than additional assistance.
Bank loans access your income information, property details, credit score, your account statements before offering you a loan. The loan amount and the interest depends on these factors.
With a good credit score, the loan amount you receive is high, and interest rates are low. However, in case of a poor credit score or unstable income, a co-signer is required, and the rates can be high. In some cases, your loan application can even get rejected.
Personal Savings And Investments
Another source of financial assistance can be your personal savings account and investments. Whether you’ve put your money in a typical bank account (TFSA) or invested in any investment accounts (such as mutual funds, GICs, etc.), you can secure the additional amount from any one of these sources.
However, you’ll need to ensure that the required amount is present and accessible when you need it.
RRSP (Retired Registered Savings Plan)
Another popular investment fund that you can tap into is RRSP (Retired Registered Savings Plan). As the name suggests, this funding plan is specifically designed to secure your financial future after your retirement. However, under certain circumstances, you can use your RRSP funds before retirement.
You may be able to utilize $5,000/individual from your RRSP funds under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) scheme. Your fund withdrawal can be tax-free as long as your investment sits in the fund for 90 days.
However, you’ll be required to pay back that money within 15 years. However, RRSP forms the backbone of your expenses after retirement. Therefore, this fund should only be used if other options don’t work for you!
While financial institutions can provide you with additional funds, you should always take advantage of homebuyer incentives and rebates offered by the Government.
These schemes offered by the Government (First-Time Home Buyer Incentives, GST/HST New Housing Rebate, Canada Greener Homes grants) might reduce the overall cost required to purchase the property.