First-Time Home Buyers Guide: Your Path to Homeownership

Welcome to the exciting journey of homeownership! At DG & Associates, we’re here to guide first-time home buyers through every step of buying your first home. Whether you’re in your 20s or approaching retirement, our comprehensive guide will help you navigate the real estate market in Canada with confidence. We have units available in our projects at Prospect by Harbourview District and Wellington – Lake View Living, which would make great first-time purchases. These units are conveniently located close to downtown Nanaimo as well as North Nanaimo.

1. Understanding Your Needs and Budget

Before you start house hunting, it’s crucial to understand your needs and establish a budget. At DG & Associates, we take the time to sit down with first-time home buyers and understand your unique requirements. Consider the size of the home you need, the ideal location, and any must-have features. We’ll help you calculate your budget based on your savings, income, and potential mortgage options. Remember, staying within your budget is key to a stress-free home buying experience, and we’re here to ensure you stay on track.

2. Securing Financing: Mortgage Pre-Approval

One of the first steps in the home buying process is securing financing. We connect you with trusted mortgage professionals who can help you get a mortgage pre-approval. This not only gives you a clear idea of how much you can afford but also shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer. We will guide you through researching different lenders and mortgage rates to find the best deal, simplifying the process and saving you time.

3. Discuss with Our Team About Your Ideal Home

A knowledgeable team is your best ally in the home buying journey, and at DG & Associates, we’re dedicated to being that team for you. Discuss your ideal home with us, and we’ll help you find properties that match your criteria. We’ll schedule viewings, offer insights into each property, and negotiate the best price on your behalf. Our experience in the Nanaimo area means you get personalized, expert service tailored to your needs.

4. House Hunting Tips

House hunting can be overwhelming for first-time home buyers, but staying organized can make it enjoyable. We will help you create a checklist of your top priorities to bring to every viewing. We’ll assist you in taking notes and photos to compare properties later. Don’t rush – finding the right home takes time. Summer 2024 is an ideal time to buy, with an active market and plenty of listings. We’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure you find the perfect home.

5. Making an Offer

When you find your dream home, it’s time to make an offer. Your DG & Associates real estate expert will help you determine a fair price based on market conditions and comparable properties. Be prepared to negotiate and possibly counteroffer. With our strategy and support, you can secure your new home at a reasonable price, ensuring your investment is sound.

6. Home Inspections and Appraisals

Once your offer is accepted, the next step for first-time home buyers is a home inspection. This ensures the property is in good condition and there are no hidden issues. An appraisal is also necessary to confirm the home’s value matches the agreed-upon price. Both steps are critical in making an informed decision and securing your mortgage. DG & Associates will coordinate these processes and keep you informed throughout.

7. Closing the Deal

Closing is the final step in your home buying journey. This involves signing the necessary paperwork, transferring funds, and obtaining the keys to your new home. Your DG & Associates team will guide you through the closing process to ensure everything goes smoothly. Congratulations, you’re now a homeowner!


Buying your first home is a significant milestone, and DG & Associates is here to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible for first-time home buyers. With careful planning, the right support, and a little patience, you’ll soon be holding the keys to your new home. Embrace this exciting journey and start making memories in your new space. For personalized assistance and expert advice, contact DG & Associates today. Welcome to the world of homeownership!

Know the Programs:

RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) – This plan allows you to withdraw up to $60,000 tax-free in a calendar year from your RRSP for a down payment, whether building/buying your home or for a relative with a disability. The money must be in your account for at least 90 days prior to withdrawal.

HBP is advantageous for Canadians, as early withdrawals from RRSPs are generally considered taxable income. In this case, an exemption applies, but you must start repaying the amount borrowed from the RRSP five years after you buy the home, over a 15-year period.

Property Transfer Tax Exemption (PTT):

PTT is a land transfer tax that buyers pay with the purchase of any property. However, first-time homebuyers are exempt under the following guidelines:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
  • Have lived in B.C. for a minimum of 1 year immediately before the date of property registration, or
  • Filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 taxation years.
  • Never owned a registered interest in property as a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time.
  • Never received a first-time homebuyers’ exemption or refund.
Property Must:
  • Only be used as a principal residence.
  • Have a fair market value of $835,000 or less (effective April 1, 2024).
  • Be 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller.
  • Contain only residential improvements.

If all of the above requirements are met, then the purchaser will be exempt from property transfer tax on the first $500,000 of the purchase price of the property.

Note: If you purchase the home before April 1, 2024, to receive the full exemption, the fair market value must be $500,000 or less.

PTT is charged as follows:

  • 1% on the first $200,000.
  • 2% up to $2,000,000 ($1,800,000).
  • 3% above $2,000,000.

There are also partial exemptions if the property:

  • Has a fair market value more than $835,000 but less than $860,000 (effective April 1, 2024).
  • Is larger than 0.5 hectares, and/or
  • Has another building on the property other than the principal residence.

Note: If you purchase the home before April 1, 2024, to receive a partial exemption, the fair market value must be more than $500,000 and less than $525,000.

Basically, the PTT exemption amounts to $8,000, but once it surpasses $835,000, it incrementally decreases to 0 at $860,000.

Tax Credit for First-Time Homebuyers:

This allows first-time buyers to recover some of the costs associated with their purchase, such as legal fees, inspections, and other similar closing costs.

The First-time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit is a non-refundable credit of $10,000, which equates to a maximum tax rebate of $1,500 as of 2023 (up from $750 until the 2022 budget was approved).

GST Housing Rebate:

This rebate can be applied to newly built homes up to a threshold of $450,000. GST is 5% on new homes. The rebate allows homebuyers to claim 36% of the 5% GST. The full rebate has a limit of $350,000, after which it becomes partial up to $450,000. The home must be used as the primary residence to qualify.

Ensuring awareness and understanding of these programs can significantly ease the financial burden of first-time homebuying.