First Time Home Buyers


There’s a lot to know when you’re a first-time home buyer and at times, the information may be overwhelming or hard to understand. But taking the time to read, chat with friends and family and do your research can pay off in the end when you decide to purchase. Having the power of knowledge is the first critical step – and it can be as simple as arming yourself with the right team.

Getting Mortgage Pre-Approval

Getting a mortgage pre-approval still is, and always will be the number one step in anyone’s home buying process, but this is especially true for first time buyers. You’ll want to find a good mortgage agent who can educate you and guide you throughout the entire process. There is a lot to know and a lot of information to provide, so starting on this early is a good idea. You will be able to determine your spending power, your monthly payments and your deposit. And once you have all of these in place and on paper, you’ll feel comfortable looking at houses that you can afford.

Your Real Estate Wish List

When buying your first home, what’s the most important thing to consider? To some, it’s the neighbourhood – location, location, location in Toronto. This can be especially important, as work commute, proximity to cafes and restaurants or fitness centers come into play. Perhaps you need a yard for Fido and that’s a non-negotiable. Dedicated parking spaces? Condo amenities such as BBQ’s, concierge and well-equipped gym? Maybe there is no way you can even imagine sharing a bathroom with your significant other. Or a basement apartment to rent out to assist in paying the mortgage is at the top of your list.

Regardless of your wish list and how outrageous some of the items on it are, it’s your list. We always suggest making a list of ten items – the first five are absolute musts. Things like neighbourhood, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. The last five would be nice-to-have but you’re willing to overlook them should the first five be fulfilled.

And finally, if you’re not going at this alone, you and your spouse should be aligned. It’s incredibly important to go into this process together as a solid unit – this avoid any disagreements or disappointments throughout the process.

On the Hunt for Your First Home

Now that you’ve got all of the pre-work done, it’s time for the exciting part – looking at homes! The Realtor you select to work with will be able to send you listings that meet your criteria, and should also provide you with properties that you may not think to be the right fit right away. Don’t be too quick to dismiss anything – keep an open mind and trust your gut. Many times clients talk about “that feeling” they get, or “just knowing” it was the right first time house or condo. And it’s true! We’ve had that feeling ourselves and have seen the look on our clients face when they get it too.

Check out: Ultimate Guide for First Time Buyers: House vs Condo vs Pre-construction

First-Time Buyer Tax Credits & Other Fees

So now that you’ve found your dream home, you’ve made an offer and you’re ready to go, there are still a few other things to think about. As part of your Real Estate team, you’ve got a lawyer to work with who will review all of your documents and give you the green light to proceed. You’re well-versed in the land transfer fees, closing costs and legal fees. But something else to think about is tax credits that may be applicable to your purchase.

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you can claim up to $5,000 on your taxes when purchasing your first home. This is the First-Time Homebuyers (FTHB) Tax Credit. There are some requirements on both fronts, however. The home must be owned by you, or your spouse/common-law partner and the buyer has not lived in another home they owned in the year of purchase, or within the previous four years. Single family homes, semis, townhomes and condos all fall under this credit.

Buying your first home will be the biggest purchase of your life, so ensuring you have the right team in place to guide and educate you is the most important first step. Look for a real estate team that cares about their clients and can give personal references. Don’t be afraid to interview multiple people – having the right team in place can make the entire process a fun one. Yes, we said fun. We promise.


  1. Comment by Richard Davis | on

    I agree with getting mortgage pre-approval and when everything is in place you will know how much you can afford. Nice blog by the way and thanks for sharing!

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