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Licensed REALTOR® in Victoria, BC with Pemberton Holmes + Mavrikos Collective

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A First-Time Home Buyers Guide For Victoria, BC

February 23, 2024


Are you ready to make your dream of homeownership a reality in Victoria, BC? You’re in the right place! From essential tips and benefits to tax rebates and a step-by-step guide to buying your first home in BC. Before we dive into the tips and strategies, let’s first go over what makes Victoria so special.

From charming heritage buildings in James Bay, Oak Bay, Fernwood and Fairfield to the scenic waterfront drive along Dallas Road. Victoria offers plenty of family-friendly neighbourhoods, a vibrant downtown with delicious restaurants and activities, and a bustling Inner Harbour. Victoria, BC, provides visitors and residents with a unique combination of city life, natural beauty, and year-round outdoor activities.

For these reasons, Victoria’s real estate market is competitive, with high buyer demand and low inventory. While home prices have stabilized over the past year, a small decrease in interest rates and inventory will drive prices upwards in popular neighbourhoods and desirable properties.

Instantly download your first-time home buyers guide below! In this guide, you’ll find a detailed 10-step home-buying process, a summary of the buyer’s roadmap, tips for a successful negotiation, common real estate terminology, home buyer closing costs, and plenty of home buyer resources like mortgage brokers, home inspectors, insurance providers, lawyers and notaries to help you succeed with your home buying goals!

Tips for First-Time Buyers: Navigating the Home Buying Process

1. Are You Ready, and Do You Want To Be a Homeowner?

It’s important to ask yourself if you really want to buy a home or if you would rather rent. Homeownership isn’t for everyone and that’s ok! There are lots of benefits to owning a home, such as building equity, the ability to customize the home as you wish, stability and security, tax benefits, and an overall sense of pride and achievement. But renting has some great benefits too! Renting provides flexibility, lower upfront costs, zero to low maintenance responsibility, and predictable monthly expenses for the renter.

2. Set a Realistic Budget

Victoria’s real estate market is dynamic and competitive, with a wide range of properties available at varying price points. Before you start searching for homes, it’s essential to look at your finances to determine your price ranges for homes. It’s recommended to consider your income, savings, debt obligations, and other financial commitments you may have.

3. Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage

This is the best way to establish a realistic budget and determine a price range for what you can afford before you start looking at homes. A mortgage broker will help you get pre-approved with a reputable lender and determine how much you can borrow based on your income, debt, financial history, and credit score.

It’s important to remember that you’ll need to factor in your down payment and closing costs. The down payment amount is typically 5% to 20% of the purchase price. The closing cost amount will vary depending on the purchase price and whether the home will be your principal residence or an investment property.

Your highest closing cost will likely be Property Transfer Tax (PTT). Property transfer tax is payable in addition to the downpayment and is due by the completion date. In BC, the property transfer tax is 1% up to $200,000, 2% greater than $200,000 up to and including $2,000,000 and 3% greater than $2,000,000. For example, if a buyer purchases a home in BC for $900,000, the property transfer tax amount would be $16,000.

In April 2024, the government in BC changed the eligible threshold for first-time home buyer’s property tax exemption. The new exemption increased from a fair market value of $500,000 to $835,000, with the first $500,000 exempt from the tax.

Finally, other expenses associated with homeownership, in addition to mortgage payments, include property taxes, home insurance, utilities, strata fees (if applicable), property maintenance and repairs.

3. Prioritize Your Needs, Wants, and Preferences

Before starting your home search, make a list or have a general idea of your must-have features in a home. For instance, your ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, desired neighbourhoods, and if you’d like to be close to work, amenities, or family and friends.

4. Research Neighbourhoods

Explore different neighbourhoods to find the right fit for your needs, preferences and lifestyle. You may want to consider factors like proximity to schools, family and friends, work, public transportation, and amenities. You also may want to consider upcoming developments in the neighbourhood if noise or traffic will be a concern for you.

5. Work With Your Favourite Local REALTOR®

Working with an experienced REALTOR® will be so helpful when looking for your first home. They will guide you through the home-buying process and help you find properties that match your search criteria, negotiate offers on your behalf, and offer support as you navigate any challenges that may arise.


A Couple of Final Points To Consider

Consider your long-term plans. Are you planning to stay in the same home or neighbourhood for several years, or do you anticipate you’ll want to move in a couple of years? While not always easy to predict, it’s good to think about your long-term plans and how they align with your homeownership goals.

While it may seem distant, it’s also good to consider the resale potential of the home you’re considering. Great neighbourhoods and up-and-coming neighbourhoods will likely appreciate faster because of strong buyer demand and potential for appreciation.

Purchasing your first home is a significant milestone and is sure to be a memorable time in your life! Congratulations on taking the first step towards homeownership in Victoria, BC! With its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and thriving real estate market, Victoria offers an unbeatable lifestyle.

By understanding the local market, exploring different neighbourhoods, and working with a trusted REALTOR®, you can find the perfect home that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations. If you’re a first-time home buyer in Victoria, BC, I’d love the opportunity to work with you. Kindly reach out via my contact page or email I look forward to hearing from you!

February 23, 2024

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