First Time Home buyer: Alberta

Are you thinking of buying your first Edmonton home? You’ve come to the right place! Purchasing your first home is a significant milestone, and having the right knowledge and guidance to make the most informed decisions is critical. Here, we provide plenty of in-depth information, specifically tailored to first-time buyers in Edmonton, offering valuable tips and insights to help you navigate the home buying process successfully. So, let's dive in and explore everything you need to know before purchasing your dream home in this vibrant city!

Understanding the Edmonton Real Estate Market

Before beginning your home buying journey, it's crucial to learn more about current Edmonton real estate market conditions, including market trends, average home prices, inventory levels, and sales data. Consider market conditions (i.e. a buyers, sellers, or balanced market) as well as future conditions to make the best decisions possible. You can learn more by connecting with a local Realtor® or brokerage, they can answer all of your questions regarding Edmonton's real estate market and also provide you with home valuations for your home or neighbourhood. 

Determining Your Budget and Affordability

Evaluate your financial situation, including income, savings, debt and expenses, to determine a realistic budget for your first home purchase. Use a mortgage affordability calculator to estimate your monthly mortgage payments and consider additional costs like property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. Sticking to a budget that aligns with your current and long-term financial goals is important. Our site provides a mortgage calculator with each Edmonton MLS listing that is viewed so you can see the potential costs with each mortgage. 

Exploring First-Time Home Buyer Programs and Incentives

There are various programs and incentives available to help first-time home buyers in Canada. Research government initiatives, such as the First-Time Home Buyer's Tax Credit and the Home Buyers' Plan for down payment help:

  • First-Time Home Buyers' Incentive: The First-Time Home Buyers' Incentive helps eligible Canadians purchase their first home by providing a shared equity mortgage. Simply put, the government contributes a certain percentage towards the purchase price, reducing the mortgage amount and making home ownership more affordable.
  • Home Buyers' Plan: The Home Buyers' Plan allows first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $35,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to use for a down payment on a home. This program provides a tax-free option to access funds for home buying, which can help make homeownership more accessible. If your partner also qualifies as a first-time buyer, they may draw the same amount for a total of $70,000. 
  • First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit: The First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit that can be claimed by eligible individuals who have purchased a qualifying home. This credit helps offset some of the costs associated with buying, such as legal fees and taxes, providing some financial relief.
  • GST/HST New Housing Rebate: The GST/HST New Housing rebate is a program that offers a rebate on the GST or HST paid on the purchase of a new home. This rebate aims to offset a portion of the taxes paid on new construction homes, making it more affordable for home buyers.
  • First Home Savings Account: A First Home Savings Account is a tax-free savings account specifically designed to help individuals save for their first home. Any interest earned and withdrawals made to buy a home are tax-free, providing a helpful tool for aspiring homeowners to grow their down payment.

Choose the Right Edmonton Real Estate Agent

Partnering with a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent is invaluable for first-time home buyers. Look for an agent who specializes in working with first-time buyers and understands the Edmonton market. An agent will guide you through the process, provide market insights, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure a smooth transaction. In short, a good Edmonton REALTOR® can save you valuable time and money!

Getting Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Before beginning your home search, it is necessary to obtain a mortgage pre-approval by working with a reputable mortgage broker who is able to find the best mortgage product for you. This process involves providing your financial information and undergoing a preliminary credit and financial assessment. A pre-approval will help you understand how much home you can reasonably afford, interest rates, and mortgage options, helping you streamline your home search and making your offers more competitive. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry: your REALTOR® can help you find the right broker for your needs. 

Finding Your Ideal Community

Consider your lifestyle, commute times, and proximity to amenities when choosing a neighbourhood in Edmonton: research local schools, parks, shopping centers, and healthcare facilities. Visiting the neighbourhood at different times of the day and speaking with residents will also help you determine if it’s a good fit for your needs. 

Researching and Viewing Homes

Use online listings, real estate websites, and your agent's expertise to search for properties that align with your criteria. Attend open houses and schedule private viewings to get a realistic idea of the properties you're interested in. Note important factors such as property size, condition, potential repairs, and any unique features that can influence your decision.

Conducting Home Inspections 

Be sure to hire a professional home inspector when considering a property. They will evaluate the structural condition, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as other critical components. Your Edmonton real estate agent will work with you to review documents such as property disclosures and history, condominium bylaws (if applicable), and any other information you’ll need to make the right choice.

Making an Offer and Negotiating

Work closely with your real estate agent to prepare a competitive offer based on market research, property conditions, and your budget. Your agent will leverage their expert negotiation skills to secure you the best deal possible but be prepared for counteroffers. You can also expect your REALTOR® to maintain clear communication with the seller throughout the process.

Finalizing the Purchase and Closing Process

Once your offer is accepted, a real estate lawyer will help you handle all legal aspects of the purchase. They will ensure all necessary documents and contracts are prepared and review the title to confirm the property's ownership. Coordinate with your lender to finalize the mortgage payment and be ready for closing costs (approximately 2 to 5% of the home’s purchase price). 

Moving In and Settling Down

  • Plan your move by organizing professional movers or handling it yourself.
  • Notify utility providers, update your address, and transfer services to your new home.
  • Explore your new neighbourhood, make connections, and settle into your new community.
  • Enjoy your new home!

As a first-time home buyer in Edmonton, Alberta, you have access to a diverse and dynamic real estate market. By following these tips, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the home buying process and make informed decisions confidently. Remember to stay within your budget, explore available programs and incentives, and engage with a reputable real estate agent. Good luck on your exciting journey of becoming a first-time homeowner!

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