What you need to know before applying to BC's new mortgage program to help 1st-time homebuyers with your down payment

As of January 16th, 2017, first-time homebuyers can now apply for a loan to go towards their down payment with the B.C. government's new Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership Program. If accepted, a homeowner could receive a maximum of $37,500 - or up to 5% of the purchase price - with a 25 year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years and is registered on title as a second mortgage.

 

Since applications opened, more than $1 million in loans have been granted to first-time home buyers. The HOME program is set to run until March 31st, 2020, as an effort to alleviate some of the financial burden of saving up for a down payment in the province's pricey housing market.

 

If you're thinking of applying for this program, here are the criteria you must meet in order to qualify for the loan:

 

  1. Timing: Any deals with a closing date of earlier than February 15th, 2017, will not be considered.

  2. Price: The property purchase price must be equal to or less than $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees.)

  3. High-ratio, insured mortgage pre-approval: Before applying to the program, applicants must be pre-approved for a high-ration, insured mortgage. A high-ratio mortgage means the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price. The minimum down payment required in order to obtain mortgage insurance from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation depends on the purchase price:

    • If the purchase price is less than $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5%
    • If the purchase price is above $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5% of the 1st $500,000 and 10% on the remaining balance

  4. Principal residence: All individuals on title must live in the home as the principal residence for 5 years after the purchase (or less if the loan is repaid in full.)

  5. First-time home buyers: Applicants must be a first-time homebuyer who have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time and have never before received a first-time homebuyers' exemption or refund.

  6. Income: The total annual household income for all individuals on title cannot be more than $150,000.

  7. Residency: Applicants must have resided in BC for the past 12 months prior to applying for the program.

  8. Location: The property must be located in BC.

  9. Citizenship: Program applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents that have resided in Canada for at least 5 years.

  10. Possession: Under this program, purchasers are required to take possession of the purchased property within 30 days of closing and must move in within 6 months.

BC Home Partnership Program Infographic


Additional Considerations

• The first 5 years are interest and payment free. However, once year 6 hits, interest will start accruing and principal/interest payments will begin, amortized over the remaining 20 years. The interest rate will be set at the Royal Bank of Canada Prime Rate, plus 0.5% at each of the 10th, 15th, and 20th anniversary dates.

 

• You should speak with your mortgage broker or bank representative before applying to make sure your lender will allow you to register the program loan on title as a second mortgage, which traditionally lenders do not permit on mortgaged properties.

 

• You may have your options reduced when it comes to re-financing your mortgage after year 6. This is because of the new stress test for loan eligibility which sets a debt ceiling of no more than 39% of household income going to home carrying costs, such as mortgage payments, heat, and taxes. While the HOME program loans are designed to be interest and payment free for the first 5 years and are presumably wouldn't impact that calculation of home-carrying costs during this time, home owners could have their re-financing options reduced after year 6 due to the emergence of a new debt obligation.

 

For more information about this program, including the application process, visit gov.bc.ca/housingaction

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The 6 steps to purchasing a Court Ordered Sale

 

  1. Buyer or Buyer's agent will present an offer to the REALTOR® representing the Seller  (Bank or Finance company), the Seller's REALTOR® will negotiate on behalf of the Seller just like on a typical Real Estate Listing (at this point the Buyer can have Subjects on the offer such as financing, inspection report, etc)
  2. After the Buyer has done their due diligence and removes all the Subjects (making the offer unconditional) a court date will be booked (typically 2-3 weeks)
  3. Once the court date is scheduled, the local Real Estate offices are made aware of the date
  4. On the court date the Buyers or REALTOR® representing the Buyers must have an unconditionalContract of Purchase and Sale (no subjects), a deposit (bank draft) for the amount which the Seller has requested, and a signed copy of the Schedule 'A' (a disclosure written by the Seller typically making the Buyer aware that they warranty nothing about the property and it is to be sold  'as is, where is' )

    THE MOST TYPICALLY MISUNDERSTOOD part of the process is what happens at court:
     
  5.  If the Buyer who made the initial offer is the only interested party who shows up to the court proceedings, the judge will most likely approve the purchase and the Buyer is now the new owner of the property (usually takes 2 weeks for the court to process documents and register the property in the Buyers name, after which the new owners can take possession)
  6. If more than one potential Buyer arrives at court, with all their due diligence completed (bank draft, schedule 'A', unconditional offer) the judge will ask all parties to submit their BEST offer.  The judge will most likely award the home to whomever he/she considers to have the BEST offer.  Typically theBEST offer is the highest dollar figure however this decision is at the Judge's discretion.  

 

*There is no auction bidding, there is one chance to submit the top dollar you are willing to pay for  the property*

 

I hope this was helpful Kelsey, don't hesitate to call or email  if you or anyone of your friends have morequestions or would like to request any Real Estate information.

 

Aaron

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