Buyer information

Thinking of making a real estate purchase? There are a few questions that every buyer has to sort out prior to viewing properties. Here's a few to consider.

Have you been pre-qualified by your bank or mortgage specialist? If not, I can recommend a mortgage specialist to walk you through the qualifying process. Why are you considering a move? When would you like to be moved by? Where would you like to live? Once you've considered your answers, give me a call and I'll be able to guide you in the right direction...towards your next home purchase! I'm looking forward to working with you!

Once you're ready....I have set up some often-asked questions and answers below. Feel free to use the jump menu and/or scroll to areas of interest for the remainder of this page.

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As a potential buyer, here's some information you should consider:

Are you pre-qualified at a local bank? If not, perhaps I could recommend some options. Do you know how much you can afford? Ask me and I can help you determine the amount of mortgage you qualify for, and also the home you can afford.

Check out this website where it lists NEW developments by AREA:
or perhaps you're just interested in NEW PROPERTY in the New Westminster area's the weblink for that...

Looking for French immersion school information for the Greater Vancouver area? Or perhaps a Catholic elementary school in your new neighborhood? Or maybe a private school? gifted school? alternative school?

Use this square meter conversion chart to help you out. View the website located at:

Thinking about a new home, townhouse, or condo? Ensure you're protected with a New Home Warranty. Check the Homeowner Protection website for details: Or refer to the 2-5-10 homeowner warranty insurance document located on the web at:

Is your house constructed by an Owner Builder?

If yes, check out this document at:

Have you decided on a particular location?
Ask questions about different locations within the Lower Mainland and select one that best suits your needs. I can direct you to different internet sites for local communities.

Community websites for the surrounding areas:
Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody.

Are you looking for a home? Townhouse? Apartment? Do you have a dog? Cat? Any special needs? Let me know and I can narrow down your search.

Use the following sites to preview some of the possibilities and then phone me to arrange a viewing:—use this site to search for local listings. Then, send me an email and I can locate further details on the property you're interested in, and send it along by email or phone. —use this site to search for real estate listings in your area, and then access the 'Calculate Mortgage' button to determine strata fees and taxes, where applicable, and get a better idea if you qualify for this property. Phone me to view any homes you see here. —view MLS listings in your desired area. Phone me to view any homes you see here. —view Real Estate Weekly advertised listings in your area. Phone me to view any homes you see here. Use this site to create saved searches after identifying your search criteria and have my website regularly email you new listings that fit your criteria.

Do you need to sell your current home before purchasing? Let me assist in determining the market value of your home.

Is this purchase an investment or are you planning on living in the apartment/home/townhome? This makes a difference on the homes I'll show you so it's best to determine the reason for your purchase ahead of time.

Government programs for first-time buyers

Five per cent down
The federal government's Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a program for first-time buyers. The First Home Loan Insurance Plan will insure mortgages up to $300,000 in the Greater Vancouver area if buyers are able to put five per cent down. Contact your financial institution for more information. For more information:

No money down
Often the biggest obstacle for first-time buyers is saving a down payment. Now there's a tool for buyers who qualify for a mortgage—they have steady employment, a good credit rating and can meet payments. It's a no down payment mortgage. Offered by the Royal Bank and Scotiabank, and soon the Bank of Montreal, the no down payment mortgage is insured by GR Mortgage Insurance.

RRSPs for down payments
Under the federal government's Home Buyers Plan buyers can use up to $20,000 worth of RRSPs toward a mortgage. Couples can use up to $40,000. Your financial institution will know about it. For information go to: (Scroll down. It is there!)

Property transfer tax relief
changes to the property transfer tax relief (as of today's date....Wednesday, February 20, 2008)

The Government has issued an amendment for the First Time Home Buyers requirements in regards to the Property Transfer Tax.

As of February 20, 2008, a first time home buyer can now qualify for a full exemption with a purchase price of less than $425,000.00 (previously $375,000.00).

A partial exemption is available if the purchase price is more than $425,000.00 but less than $450,000.00.

For more information, please see:

old requirements are still valid for purchasers not a first time home of Wednesday, February 20, 2008...When you buy a home, the provincial government charges a tax of 1 per cent of the first $200,000 (in the Greater Vancouver area) of the purchase price and 2 per cent of the remainder. But if you're a first-time buyer, you can purchase tax-free. There are some special stipulations if you are a first time home buyer. Refer to this online page for details:

First Time Home Buyers may qualify for exemption if:

  • The purchase price (including net GST) is below $325,000 in the Lower Mainland and below $265,00 for the rest of BC. A partial rebate on purchases between $325,000 and $350,000 is available (see below).
  • Each purchaser applying for exemption is a permanent resident of Canada or a Canadian citizen. Each purchaser must have resided in Canada for at least one year immediately prior to registration date.
  • Each purchaser has never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world.
  • The amount borrowed must be at least 70% of the fair market value of the property. The amount borrowed does not include funds borrowed from relatives.
  • During the first 12 months, the mortgage cannot be reduced by more than the greater of $13,000 (Greater Vancouver & Fraser Valley) and the amount that would reduce the mortgage to 70% of the fair market value.
  • The mortgage term must be at least one year. If not, the full Property Transfer Tax is payable at the time of purchase and the rebate may be applied for after residing in the residence for 12 months.
  • The purchaser must occupy the property within 92 days from the date of registration of the transfer in the Land Titles Office.
  • The purchaser must reside in the property for a period of at least one year from the date of transfer.
  • If one of the purchasers does not qualify for exemption and the other does, the amount of exemption will depend on the percentage of ownership registered. For example; Joe qualifies and owns 60% of the property, Sam does not qualify for the exemption and owns 40% of the property. They would qualify for 60% of the tax exemption.

Buyer Agency information. It's important to work with a realtor working on your behalf. Read more about Buyer Agency agreements to ensure you get the best service possible. Article: What a buyer wants. Read testimonials from past clients, and familiarize yourself with the Buyer Agency contract. Print all of this information off and let's discuss it.

Looking to speak with a Mortgage Broker? Here's four I use regularly:

Corinne Lundale, Dominion

For long term rate hold, like a Development pre-sale:
Rebecca Awram

Rebecca Awram website

Stephanie Barritt

Matt Chan, Dominion

Looking to convert square meters to square feet? Use this handly online conversion tool.

Top 28 Grants and Rebates for Property Buyers and Owners (as of April 5, 2012 and subject to change without notice)

Strategic information for REBGV REALTORS® April 5, 2012
1) Home Buyers’ Plan
Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time.

Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287

2) GST Rebate on New Homes
New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is less than $350,000. The rebate is up to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000.

Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287

3) BC New Housing Rebate (HST)
Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a provincial enhanced New Housing Rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500.

4) BC New Housing Rebate (HST) for Secondary Vacation or Recreational Homes
Buyers of new or substantially renovated secondary or recreational homes outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional District priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a provincial enhanced New Housing Rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. home_tax_calculator

5) BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST)
Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST, up to $42,500.

6) BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus
First-time new home buyers may be eligible for a one-time grant equal to 5% of the purchase price of the home, or if you are building a home, 5% of the land and construction costs, up to $10,000. The bonus is based on the net income of the home buyer. This program ends March 31, 2013. /FTHB_Bonus.pdf

7) BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program
Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000.
BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue Taxes/Property_Transfer_Tax/ptt.htm

8) First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)
This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, townhome, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. The calculation: multiply the lowest personal income tax rate for the year (15% in 2011) x $5,000. For the 2011 tax year, the maximum credit is $750.
Canada Revenue Agency

9) BC Home Owner Grant
Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,285,000. The basic grant gives home owners:

a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts; an additional grant of $770 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; and an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue or contact your municipal tax office.

10) BC Property Tax Deferment Programs

Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors.
Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program.
Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.

Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children.
Qualifying low-income home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes.

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue Taxes/Property_Tax_Deferment/ptd.htm

11) Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants.
This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites.
1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408

12) Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI)
A new program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer.

BC Housing
604.646.7055 or toll-free 1.800.407.7757 extension 7055

13) CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund
Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient mortgage or make energy saving renovations.

14) Energy Saving Mortgages
Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. energy-saver-mortgage.html

15) Low Interest Renovation Loans
Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. products/personalloans/energy-saver-loan.html

16) LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program
Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with FortisBC and BC Hydro. Rebates are for energy efficient products which replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy assessment, directly to the service provider.

17) BC Residential Energy Credit
Home owners and residential landlords buying heating fuel receive a BC government point-of-sale rebate on utility bills equal to the provincial component of the HST. energy/residential_energy.htm

18 BC Hydro Appliance Rebates
Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers.

19) BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program
This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition.

20) BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program
Pay no HST when you buy ENERGY STAR high-performance windows and doors. offers/current_offers.htm
604.759.2759 for a free in-home estimate.

21) BC Hydro Mail-in Rebates/Savings Coupons
To save energy, BC Hydro offers rebates including 10% off an ENERGY STAR cordless phone. Check for new offers and for deadlines.

22) FortisBC Rebate Program
A range of rebates for home owners include a $50 rebate for upgrading a hot water tank, $300 rebate on an Ener-Choice fireplace and a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system. /Pages/default.aspx

23) FortisBC Efficient Boiler Program
For commercial buildings, provides a cash rebate of up to 75% of the purchase price of an energy efficient boiler, for new construction or retrofits. Offers/Pages/default.aspx

24) City of Vancouver Rain Barrel Subsidy Program
The City of Vancouver provides a subsidy of 50% of the cost of a rain barrel for Vancouver residents. With the subsidy, the rain barrel costs $75. Buy your rain barrel at the Transfer Station at 377 W. North Kent Ave., Vancouver, BC. Limit of two per resident. Bring proof of residency. conservation/programs/rainbarrel.htm
Other municipalities have similar offers.

25) City of Vancouver Greenest City 2020 Pilot Home Energy Loan Program
The City of Vancouver in cooperation with Vancity, FortisBC, BC Hydro and Natural Resources Canada offers access to loans for energy retrofits including heating systems, insulation and air sealing. The Home Energy Loan from Vancity is a 12 month pilot program that will end October 21, 2012. For more information attend a workshop (see third link below). The goal is 500 homes, and loans are offered at 4.5% fixed rate over 10 years. The program also helps with accessing grants from the federal ecoENERGY program, the provincial LiveSmart BC program and FortisBC.


26) Vancity Green Building Grant
In partnership with the Real Estate Foundation of BC, Vancity provides grants up to $50,000 each to qualifying charities, not-for-profit organizations and co-operatives for projects which focus on building renovations/retrofits, regulatory changes that advance green building development, and education to increase the use of practical green building strategies. The deadline for applications was January 23, 2012. If you are still interested in this grant, open the link and consider contacting Vancity to express your interest. /ActingOnClimateChange/GreenBuildingGrant

27) Local Government Water Conservation Incentives
Your municipality may provide grants and incentives to residents to help save water. For example, the City of Coquitlam offers residents a $100 rebate and the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, and District of West Vancouver offer a $50 rebate when residents install a low-flush toilet. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘toilet rebate’ to see if there is a program.

28) Local Government Water Meter Programs
Your municipality may provide a program for voluntary water metering, so that you pay only for the amount of water that you use. Delta, Richmond and Surrey have programs and other municipalities may soon follow. Visit your municipality’s website and enter ‘water meter’ to find out if there is a program.

How do foreclosures work?

Good question! Foreclosures are tricky. Make sure you're working with an experienced realtor familiar with how foreclosures work. And also make sure you and your realtor are talking about how they're getting paid because often foreclosures aren't paying much commission and require a lot of time and energy on the realtor's part--make sure you're paying them for their time and energy to help you move forward. The Buyer Agency Agreement and Fee Agreement with your realtor is signed prior to viewing any properties. An appointment with your realtor should be set prior to viewings so you can review how the process works and put these agreements in place.

Generally speaking, here's how a foreclosure works... Typically, a bank/seller will list a foreclosure property in the hopes of getting an offer. Once an offer comes in, the bank/seller decide if they'll accept it. If they choose to accept it, they apply for a court date (which can vary from two to six weeks, or possibly longer). At the court date the Judge will ask for all offers, then he'll allow for one last offer change and all those present can come forward with their BEST offer for this property. After those are presented, a decision is made.

By the time offers are presented in court, they are subject free. When you present an offer to the bank/seller, you can have a few subjects, but if your offer is chosen to go forward to court, you must remove subjects prior to the court date.

Deposits are paid prior to the court date as well. The deposit can either be made out to the court or in some cases it's made out to your realtors realty company trust account and transferred at time of completion to the notary or lawyer involved. Again, check with your realtor.

At the court date, possession could be as little as 15 days later so be prepared financially to buy immediately. Or in some cases, you are able to negotiate dates depending on whether the seller is still in the home. Check with your realtor on this question.

A few other things you should know about foreclosures is you're buying them AS IS. Often, a seller may destroy appliances, walls, and change locks before you move in so be aware of how this might affect you. For example, when you view the home it may look one way, and when you get the keys and take possession, it may not look the same. There's nothing you can do... you're buying it AS IS.

Many buyers find, that after looking at foreclosures and all the hassle involved in purchasing one, that they're not worth the trouble. That might be you! Bear in mind that there are plenty of wonderful properties on the market right now that are not foreclosures and still may offer you THE BEST DEAL. Ask me for more information and I can send you properties in your price range that are available and in, most cases, in much better shape, for a good price too.

Dianne Moscrip

Ready to find out more?

Call Dianne today! 604.518.0573