An RRSP Can Help A First Time Home Buyer

HomeA federal program is in place to assist first time home buyers with the purchase of a home. Under the federal government’s Home Buyer’s Plan, you can use up to $20,000 in RRSP savings ($40,000 for a couple) to finance a down payment on a first home. You are then required to repay your RRSP over 15 years.

You have to ensure that the RRSP funds have been deposited for at least 90 days. You will also have to sign an agreement to buy a new or resale home. Buyers have to qualify the  home purchase.

Depending upon your situation, it might be to your advantage to access savings through the Home Buyers’ Plan. For example, if you had already saved $20,000 for a down payment – and assuming you still had enough “contribution room” in your RRSP for a contribution of that amount you could move your savings into a registered investment at least 90 days before your closing date. Then you could withdraw the money through the Home Buyers’ Plan.

Your $20,000 RRSP would then count as a deduction for the year. You could also use any tax refund you receive to repay RRSP or other home buying expenses.

Many home buyers looking to purchase a home in Kamloops are trying to find ways to ensure they have an adequate down payment. First time home buyers can definitely put this technique to use. Ensure, prior to making any major financial decisions, to check with your financial advisor, lawyer or tax specialist. These professionals can determine whether this strategy is practical for your financial situation.

Home Buying / Hunting Tips

For up to date Kamloops and surrounding area home listings click here.

You have established your budget. You have been pre-approved for a mortgage. You have contacted a REALTOR to assist you with the purchase of a home. Now the fun, and evaluation begins. You will probably be looking at a few homes before you decide on the perfect one for your family. Before you decide to purchase that home you have absolutely fallen in love with, be sure to be objective in your decision. On appearance alone, the fireplace, the new flooring, paint job and new carpeting create a warm and inviting feeling. Yet, is the home really that perfect? Take a deep breath. Take some time to think about the bigger picture of the home in terms of your needs. Carefully consider whether this home offers the features that will last beyond the first impression. Here are some essential factors to consider:

* Location is a significant factor in your choice of home. An established community, with a good reputation, a low crime rate and well-maintained homes, maintains home values. A garbage dump, industrious buildings disposing bad odours and major freeways surrounding your neighborhood are unattractive and disruptive to a peaceful lifestyle. Many communities within Kamloops have positive and negative aspects about each and every one of them. Ensure you are informed about every area that you are interested in.

* Also consider availability and cost of access to public transportation, major roads and highways. This is especially important when considering properties outside of Kamloops.

* Also consider the condition of public areas such as streets, sidewalks, parks and recreational facilities.

* Public services should also be established including street cleaning, snow removal, garbage collection, and emergency services.

* You will also want efficient access to medical services including hospitals, doctors and dentists.

* Be sure that schools and related school services are also within easy access.

* Recreational, shopping and entertainment needs should also be considered.

Buying a home is a big job and there are many things to consider. With the Kamloops real estate market being a lot slower, buyers have more time to make an informed decision on a purchase. Before making an offer on a home take the time to look over the home carefully and really consider the floor plan and how your furniture will fit. Ensure your Realtor shows you the comparable homes on the market in your chosen area. Remember, often homes look much better in person than they do in pictures on the MLS.

Improvements Have Been Made To Realtor.ca

The Canadian Real Estate Association has made some improvements to realtor.ca (previously MLS.ca). I rarely search for real estate there unless I am curious about some area outside of the Kamloops region. As a result of two rounds of consumer testing, several enhancements have been made to REALTOR.ca.

* There is a new home page for residential real estate, designed to eliminate consumer confusion. The default is now set to a “Quick” search format, with an option to search by interactive map.

* The pop-up that had generated complaints has been eliminated.

* The results page has also been re-designed to make the photos larger and the interactive map space smaller. The address, if approved for display, has been added to the thumbnail. This has been a frequent request from consumers, although the address often is omitted.

* Zoom level restriction has been removed. There has been complaints that the site does not respond due to the number of properties in an area. Until this change was made, users would hit the restricted zoom level without displaying properties, creating the impression the map was zooming in and out, in effect, out of control.

Realtor.ca has received a lot of criticism since it debuted. I hope you like the changes and if not you can head over to my site and search there. I find that Realtor.ca is a very slow, time consuming website. Searches take a long time and often buyers are still left wanting more information in the end. Get ahead of Realtor.ca you can receive MLS listings days before they hit the web. To receive daily emails with personalized search results sign up here.

2008 / 2009 Annual Kamloops Real Estate Market Report

There is a lot of confusion about the state of the Kamloops, B.C. and National real estate market. Buyers and sellers are trying to figure out when the right time is to make a move. Below I have included my 2008/2009 real estate market report. Click the link for the pdf version and also for those who cannot open the pdf there are images of the document.

2008/2009 Annual Kamloops Real Estate Market Report

Kamloops Annual Real Estate Market Report Page 1

Kamloops Annual Real Estate Market Report Page 1

Kamloops Annual Real Estate Market Report Page 2

Kamloops Annual Real Estate Market Report Page 2

Kamloops Annual Real Estate Market Report Page 3

Kamloops Annual Real Estate Market Report Page 3

What the Analysts say about B.C. Real Estate for 2009

In Kamloops, I continually talk to clients regarding the local real estate market and the factors contributing to the recent downturn. There are many predictions and opinions about the market. Below I have compiled a series of analyst opinions on the BC and national real estate market which in turn directly apply to Kamloops real estate. Hopefully you will find this information useful to your search, whether you are a home buyer, seller or just looking for some clarification.

Scotiabank’s senior economist Adrienne Warren says Canadian real estate prices will drop 10-15% nationally, with B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan taking the brunt of the downturn. They predict that much of the runup in prices seen this decade will remain intact.

Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) report states that despite the traumatic American mortgage fall out, Canada has managed to steer clear of deflated markets. The Canadian system is supported by low and steady interest rates, better underwriting processes, different products and normal re-sale activity levels. “Canada is a financially conservative country where consumers are able to meet the terms of their mortgages and buying decisions are based on affordability,” said Dunning. “This contributes to a solid real estate market that will not experience the same drop off we see south of the border.”

Cameron Muir of BCREA believes BC could see an upswing in housing markets as early as spring 2009. This doesn’t necessarily mean that housing prices will increase. Consumer confidence in the market is predicted to stabilize and buyers will become more active in the market place.

CMHC see a further drop of up to 9% in 2009. Home prices in Kamloops and district have fallen so far anywhere from 10% and above to date.

Ozzie Jurock sees increased activity in Spring and sales lower in 2009 and calls for us to start thinking positively.

Other points of interest:

  • Across the country, downward movement of house prices are only 3% year-over-year in the third quarter (compared with a 5 to 15% decline in the U.S.)
  • International studies conducted by agencies such as the International Monetary Fund have found that Canada is still considered to be one of the countries where the housing market is least overvalued
  • Canada’s housing market is also much less vulnerable given the very limited sub-prime mortgage activity (5% of outstanding mortgages compared to approximately 14% in the U.S.)
  • The speculative sector is relatively small
  • Housing affordability – which had deteriorated over the past two years – will improve with the recent significant rate cuts by the Bank of Canada and softer house prices.

They all agree that consumer confidence is one of the real estate market’s biggest challenge. There is a lot of uncertainty locally in Kamloops and in the world as a whole. Predictions are never certainties. There are a number of factors that affect consumer confidence and unfortunately this confidence is not only a local and national feeling but also a world wide concern.

5 Tips for Buying in a Buyers Market.

It’s a Buyers market! This is what we hear on the News, in newspapers and from professionals in our community. It is a great time to buy, prices are coming down, there are a lot of homes to choose from and sellers are getting more anxious to sell their homes. On the other hand there is the belief that it may not be a good time to buy because prices may fall further. How do you know when the best time is to buy? Below there are five things to consider if you are trying to decide if now is the right time to purchase a property.

  1. Timing the BOTTOM is very difficult for many reasons. The timing of the bottom of the market is different in every region. Just because the market has bottomed in one region of BC doesn’t mean that the same is happening here in Kamloops. There are many different factors that go into the state of every market. Waiting for the absolute bottom often causes buyers to miss it and get stuck in the upswing of the market, making purchasing a home more difficult. Buy a home because you need to or have found the right one for you, not because you are waiting for the bottom, often the bottom is seen in the rear view mirror.
  2. Often the best places sell FIRST. If you find a home that is perfectly suited to your needs and desires then buy it! When that perfect home comes along, and you chose to wait it can be scooped up from under you. Often if a home is desirable to you it is also very desirable to others looking. Buyers have to put some value on a home that meets or exceeds their needs that is not a monetary value. Desirable homes in desirable areas in a down market hold their value much better than less desirable homes in less desirable areas.
  3. Find a home you can GROW with. Think long-term when purchasing a home. Find a place that you can see yourself in for years to come. The Real Estate market is cyclical with ups and downs. If the market is on the decline now, there is no telling when that will change. We all wish that we could have a crystal ball to predict the future, but that just isn’t the case. Over the long term Real Estate has proven to be a good investment, so thinking long term will help with your decision.
  4. Use TECHNOLOGY in your search. Then internet has a wealth of information on home buying. Use the internet to your advantage! Educate yourself in order to prepare for that important purchase. The more you know the better off you will be. There are many free services you can find on the internet to make your search easier.
  5. BUYERS AGENTS are there to help you! Find yourself a good buyers agent who will help you search through all the listings in Kamloops. A buyers agent will find the best suited homes for you. There are other advantages of having your own buyers agent which are: they arrange appointments for you on your time, keep you up to date on current market conditions, prepare a comparative market analysis on any home you may be interested in purchasing and finally negotiate a contract. Most people are not well versed on contract negotiation and real estate purchasing, having an agent on your side is always beneficial. Don’t forget, the best part about having your own representation is it is FREE!

There are many factors that go into your decision to purchase a home. Buyers have their own personal reason for purchasing and you can’t time the market. Become an informed buyer, help yourself in this dynamic market. Remember, knowledge is power!

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