Home Buying Guide: Getting Started

Your wish list

You’re ready to buy a home in Greater Vancouver. Before you begin searching for a home, make a detailed "wish list" of what you want and in a home. Your REALTOR® will help you prioritize your list and will suggest features you may overlook.

First, you need to decide where you want to live or the neighbourhood you’re going to call home.

Location is just as important as the property you choose.

Decide what you need in a neighbourhood. Do you have children that are school age or will soon be? Are you single without a vehicle and using local transit? Are you downsizing from a large home in the suburbs?

When you have determined your requirements, your REALTOR® can quickly source information about potential neighbourhoods, pricing trends and community information and suggest areas that seem best suited to your requirements. 

Second, think about the type of home you want, for example, condominium, townhouse or single family, new or resale, and the amount of space you need. 

What you can afford?

Before you start looking for a home, you and your REALTOR® need to determine how much you can afford. The main home buying expenses include the down payment, the mortgage and the completion costs. Current interest rates will effect the amount you can afford. Talk to your REALTOR® about various homebuyer incentive programs that can assist you with your purchase.

Down Payment

For a conventional mortgage, you must pay at least 25% of the purchase price as a down payment. However, you can find mortgages that require as little as 5% down and even 0% down payment that are fully insured by CMHC and Genstar.

The Home Buyers' Plan, a federal government initiative lets eligible home buyers withdraw up to $20,000 from their RRSP to buy/build a qualifying home. Couples, partners or roommates can withdraw up to $40,000. Once the RRSP is repaid, home buyers can participate more than once. For information go to www.cra-arc.gc.ca and in the search box enter home buyers’ plan or phone 1-800-959-8281.


Most homebuyers will need a mortgage. Ask your Mortgage Broker or financial institution to calculate how much you’re eligible to borrow based on your income and level of debt. And if you’re one of every six British Columbians self-employed, you can still qualify. Completion and Other Costs

There are additional costs when you buy a home. These include mortgage insurance, taxes, legal fees, house insurance, inspection reports, appraisal and survey fees. If you are a first time homebuyer, you may be exempt from the Property Transfer Tax.

source: www.realtylink.org