Spring is upon us (though the weather sure doesn’t feel like it) and real estate is just about to boom. That means home sales and purchases will be on the rise. In the mix will be a number of first-time home buyers. Buying a home for the first time is one of the most exciting and completely terrifying life moments. It’s thrilling to experience looking at homes, horrifying to see the inside of some homes and inspiring to see others. When you find the right home for you, you want to make sure you have everything in place to make it yours – and still do it right. There have been recent changes to the down payment requirements in Canada and this can make it challenging. This is where the government actually offers some assistance in the form of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Using this plan, you can use up to $35,000 from your RRSP for purchase of your home. If you’re buying with a second first time buyer, they can also withdraw the same amount giving you up to $70,000. That can make for a pretty nice house! Using the HBP may allow you to avoid paying CMHC fees. Mortgage default insurance is required for any home buyer who has a down payment equal to less than 20% of the purchase price. This is meant to protect the lender but it also opens up the purchasing option for those who don’t have the funds. The Home Buyers’ Plan is a great program, especially if you understand the parameters. You have 15 years to pay the funds back into your RRSP and this is an important number as any amounts not paid back are considered income and taxable. Now the question of paying it back should you come into some money. There are a couple of ways of looking at it. Say you’re required to pay back $500/year but you find yourself with $1000. You could put $1000 on your HBP and it will decrease the length of time for complete payback. This will improve your returns as you will start earning on those amounts. The other way to look at it is to take the $500 and put it towards your HBP and take the other $500 and claim it as a RRSP contribution which will benefit your tax return. Both are good options, it depends on your goals. Sometimes it helps to discuss these options with an independent party to get a better understanding of what this all means. As a Financial Planner, we can help clarify the best way to approach this exhilarating moment in time. Not to mention we can also help with setting up your mortgage based on our years of experience and contacts.
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net[/caption] If you’re one of the many Canadians who dream of home ownership, and you’re working hard to make this goal a reality, you should know that the Canada Revenue Agency has two programs that can help you get there faster. There is the First Time Home Buyers’ Plan. Because the required down payment on a house purchase can be a stumbling block, the government will actually let you borrow the money to put down on your dream home – from yourself. Under the rules of this program, you are allowed to take money out of your RRSP to help buy your home – up to $25,000. This money will remain sheltered from tax, so long as you pay it back within 15 years. This is a great way to put your retirement savings to work for you today, without the considerable tax consequences of withdrawing it outright. The only downside is that you won’t be earning interest on your investment, but that might be outweighed by the interest cost saved by using your own money instead of a loan. Another helping hand for new homeowners from the CRA is the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit on your tax return. It’s a non-refundable tax credit that can put money in your pocket by reducing the amount of tax you owe for the year in which you buy your house. Both of these programs are for first-time buyers only, and are designed to help you get yourself into the real estate market. If you have questions about these programs (or any other areas of estate planning or financial management), contact YourStyle Financial Inc. We take the financial stability or our clients very seriously, and can help you get your financial house in order, so you can get into the house you want. We’re more than an investment company – we tailor financial plans individually, to fit each one of our clients. If you’re thinking about jumping into the real estate market, we can help make sure you do it with both eyes open.]]>