Are you a first-time homebuyer considering condo living in Canada? Condos offer a more affordable entry point into the real estate market with less responsibility for property maintenance. To help you make an informed decision, here are some key factors to keep in mind.
What is a Pre-Construction Condo?
When purchasing a condo, you’ll need to choose between pre-construction and resale properties. Pre-construction, or “pre-sale,” units are sold before the building has finished construction. These are often sold several years before the expected move-in date and it’s purchased directly from the property developer.
What is a Resale Condo?
Resale condos are move-in-ready and generally more affordable, requiring a lower deposit. When buying a resale condo, you are purchasing the property from the previous owner.
Pre-Construction vs. Resale
When buying resale, you’ll be able to walk through the actual unit to see if it is what you’re looking for. You’ll also get to move in right away once the deal is closed. Resale units are generally more affordable, requiring a lower deposit.
With pre-construction units, you have the benefit of customizing the property to your liking, rather than having to do construction and repairs upon moving in. Pre-sale condos also typically allow you to pay the deposit over a period of several months rather than all at once.
Down payments for condos can vary from 5% to 20%, depending on the property’s value. To be eligible for a lower downpayment, the condo must meet a certain value. This may change over time and from region to region, so you should always reach out to a local real estate expert for more information.
If you are planning to mortgage more than 80% of your home, you will likely have to pay for mortgage default insurance, which can add to your costs. The smaller the down payment you make on a condo, the higher your mortgage insurance premium will be.
Government Incentives for First-Time Homebuyers
At the time of writing, the First-Time HomeBuyer Incentive and the HomeBuyer’s Plan are two significant programs offered by the Government of Canada. The First-Time Homebuyer’s Incentive provides a shared equity mortgage, while the HomeBuyers Plan allows tax-free withdrawal from your RRSP, both aimed at easing the financial burden of first-time homebuyers.
Land Transfer Tax Rebates
In many Canadian regions, first-time homebuyers are eligible for land transfer tax rebates, potentially reducing closing costs. Explore the rebates available in your area to make the most of these cost-saving opportunities.