First Time Home Buyers Guide

Are You Ready to Buy a Home?
First – do you have the financial resources? You should have five percent of the purchase price of a home on the Sunshine Coast for the down payment, but ideally even more. Are there other priorities in your life e.g. starting a new business in Gibsons or Sechelt, which require your savings? If not, buying a home on the Sunshine Coast should be on your radar.

Second – do you expect to stay in your new home on the Sunshine Coast for some time? Moving can be expensive, especially from the Vancouver area, and you will want to build some equity before having to relocate to the Sunshine Coast. Your job and home life should be stable.

What Can You Afford?
If you haven't already gone through the mortgage pre-qualification process with a local mortgage broker on the Sunshine Coast, you will need to meet with one.
They will establish how much of a mortgage you will qualify for when buying Real Estate on the Sunshine Coast. Mortgage rates vary considerably and it is paramount that you shop around for the best rate, terms and options.

My Mortgage Payment Calculator can help you determine what monthly mortgage payment and the maximum mortgage you can manage. Note: if you are buying a condo on the Sunshine Coast, the amount of your monthly maintenance fee has a direct impact on how much you can afford to spend on your mortgage. On the Sunshine Coast, you generally pay between $200-$400 a monthly in monthly condo fees and it will depend greatly on whats included such as gardening, gas/utilities, property management, etc.

Buying Real Estate on the Sunshine Coast as First time home buyers you may want to take advantage of the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan. Under this plan, you may use up to $25,000 of your RRSP towards the purchase of a home. The money is tax-free as long as you pay it back in the next 15 years. Another option as well to get into the market is the new First Time Home Buyers Program with the government of BC.

Questions To Ask and let your Real Estate Agent know
Do you need several bedrooms, more than one bathroom, space for a home office, a two-car garage?
Do you want air conditioning, storage or hobby space, a fireplace, a swimming pool?
Do you have family members with special needs?
Do you plan to have children? Do you already have children? What school do you prefer for them?
In town such as Gibsons and Sechelt or outskirts like Madeira Park and Pender Harbour?
Proximity to recreation, work and/or school?
Do you need a substantial backyard? Do you have Pets? How many and what size?
Will remodeling be an option to make the home viable for you?

Questions To Ask when interested in a property on the Sunshine Coast
What service providers (cable, Internet, telephone, satellite) are available in the area, and is the house completely wired for each?
Can you hear me now – how good is the cell phone reception? is this important?
How much are the yearly property taxes? What can you afford?
How much do utilities run each month? What can you afford?
Does the house use gas or electric for the furnace, water heater, and appliances?
How old are the major appliances, and which are included with the house?
Have there been any major repairs to the house, and if so, when were they completed? For example, how old is the roof?
Has water ever damaged the basement or foundation?
Ever had problems with insects, such as termites and spiders, or rodents?
Older homes need to be carefully examined - Windows may need caulking, bathroom tiles may need grouting, home may need rewiring (planning on a hot tub or sauna?), a new hot water heater, or a new furnace.

Location, Location, Location
How far will you be commuting to work? Do you work in the Vancouver area? Factor in cost of fuel and ferries.
How will your children commute to school?
Are there recreational facilities and parks close by?
Are you close to family and friends? Is safety or crime an issue?
Is the property close to an obstacle or negative influence? (i.e. an apartment building, shopping centre, school, radio tower, power lines, highway, airport or commercial project) Heavy traffic can be noise nuisance and hazard for children and pets.
Access to schools, work, recreation, shopping centres, public transportation, libraries, churches, hospitals and parks?
Adjacent undeveloped land - what is proposed for this or other green space?
Distance from the property to amenities such as corner stores, grocery stores, parking, walkways, roads, public transit, walking trails, etc
Does the neighborhood reflect positively on the value of the property and your lifestyle choice?
Does this neighborhood, for any reason, have a poor reputation?
Is the future economic climate for the area good?
Are businesses, commercial or industrial, moving in?
Are people moving in or out of the neighborhood?
What is their age, income level, family size?
Are there plans for this neighborhood that you may be unaware of (i.e. a future highway, a commercial development or a new housing development) that will provide competition on resale?

Noise and Privacy
Proximity to highways, driveways, parking lots, playgrounds, airports, other buildings, etc
Proximity to elevators, garbage disposal, fire exits, heating and air conditioners.
If a condo or townhouse, how well is the building soundproofed?
Pro tip: Visit at different times/days to check noise levels and activity.