New to Canada: Buying your First Home

Date: May 26, 2023

Buying a home is an exciting milestone, but it can also be a daunting process, especially for newcomers to Canada. The Canadian housing market can be complex and navigating it as a newcomer can present unique challenges. However, with the right guidance and preparation, buying a home in Canada can be a smooth and rewarding experience. Let’s explore some key considerations and tips for newcomers looking to purchase a home in Canada.


Understand the Canadian housing market

The Canadian housing market can vary greatly from region to region, and even from city to city. It’s important to do your research and get a good understanding of the housing market in the area where you are considering purchasing a home. This includes understanding the average home prices, market trends, and the local real estate laws and regulations. Consult with a real estate agent to help you get a better understanding of where you’re looking to buy property.


Determine your budget

Before you start looking for your first home in Canada, it’s important to determine your budget. This involves taking into account your income, expenses, and any debts you may have. There are several expenses you need to budget for, including the down payment, closing costs, and ongoing monthly expenses like mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance.

Our New to Canada mortgage is built for newcomers to Canada and requires a minimum downpayment of 25% of the purchase price. You must obtain life insurance or assign existing life insurance and be purchasing your first primary residence in Canada. Closing costs typically range from 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price and include expenses like land transfer taxes, legal fees, and title insurance.


Get pre-approved for a mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an important step in the home-buying process. As Jennifer Knapp, Branch Manager at Westoba, states, “It helps you determine how much you can afford to spend on a home and gives you an advantage when making an offer on a property.” To get pre-approved, you will need to provide documentation of your income, assets, and debts. “A mortgage specialist will then assess your financial situation and determine how much they are willing to lend you,” says Jennifer.

While Westoba has very competitive rates, we still encourage folks to shop around and compare mortgage rates and terms from different lenders to ensure you get the best deal. After all, we want you to make the best decision for you. Read more about getting a mortgage as a newcomer with Westoba, below.

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Consider your location

When buying a home, location is key. Consider factors such as proximity to your workplace, schools, public transportation, and amenities such as grocery stores and restaurants. If you’re new to Canada, you may also want to consider the community and cultural offerings of the area you’re considering. Connecting with people you may know on their suggestions for most appropriate areas to live.


Hire a real estate agent

A real estate agent can be a valuable asset when buying a home in Canada, especially if you’re new to the country. Working with a real estate agent can help make the home buying process easier and less stressful. They can help you find homes that fit your budget and preferences, negotiate the purchase price, and guide you through the closing process.

When choosing a real estate agent, look for someone who is experienced and knowledgeable about the local market. You can also ask friends, community, and family for recommendations or do some research online to find an agent who has good reviews.

“Having a reliable realtor by your side can greatly simplify the home buying process. A skilled real estate agent possesses in-depth knowledge of local markets, Manitoba trends, and pricing,” continues Jennifer, “They act as your advocate, helping you navigate complexities, finding properties that match your preferences and budget, and negotiating the best possible deal.”


Get a home inspection

Before making an offer on a home, it’s important to get a home inspection. This can help identify any potential issues with the property and ensure that you’re making an informed decision. A home inspection is worth it to ensure that the home you’re buying is in good condition. A professional home inspector will examine the home’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, and other key features to identify any issues.


Understand the legal process

Buying a home in Canada involves a number of legal processes, including signing a purchase agreement, securing financing, and transferring ownership. It’s important to understand the legal requirements and regulations associated with these processes. Consider consulting with a real estate lawyer to help you navigate the legal aspects of buying a home in Canada.


Benefits of government programs

As a newcomer to Canada, you may be eligible for a number of government programs and incentives designed to help make home ownership more accessible. For example, the Government of Canada offers a First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, which provides a shared-equity loan to eligible first-time home buyers.


Consider home insurance

Home insurance is an important consideration when buying a home in Canada. It can provide protection against unexpected events such as fire, theft, or natural disasters. Be sure to shop around and compare insurance policies from different providers to ensure you get the coverage that best suits your needs and budget.


‘Don’t rush the process

Buying a home is a big decision and it’s important to take your time to keep yourself from making rash decisions. While it can be tempting to jump on the first home that catches your eye, it’s important to do your due diligence and ensure that the home meets all of your needs and is within your budget.


Buying a home as a newcomer to Canada can seem like a daunting process, but with the right guidance and preparation, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. By understanding the local housing market, determining your budget, working with a real estate agent, and taking advantage of government programs and incentives, you can find the perfect home that meets your needs and fits your budget.

Speak with us about our New to Canada mortgage today, call 1-877-WESTOBA or visit the below link to find out more!

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