Category Archives: Buyer Info

Down payment assistance homes for sale in the Cowichan Valley

Down Payment Options

This is a question first-time buyers ask themselves when they find the perfect starter home in the Cowichan Valley. It’s in the right neighbourhood, at the right price, and it shows pride of ownership. All the things a first-time buyer wants in a house or a condo. They can afford the payments but haven’t been able to save a down payment. Luckily, Canadian homeowners have a number of options available to them.

Did you know that the minimum down payment is only 5% of the purchase price? That means a $350,000 home requires only $17,500 to qualify for an insured mortgage. Based on the Realtor.ca affordability calculator, you would need an income of $55,000 to afford the mortgage on this example.

The Government of Canada offers an incentive for first-time buyers. A buyer can receive 5% of the purchase price for a resale property or 10% of the price for a new home. This can significantly reduce payments by reducing the mortgage needed to purchase. The incentive is an equity-sharing arrangement, which means the government has an interest in the property and the loan must be repaid when it is sold.

Through the Home Buyer Plan, regular deposits to an RRSP are a terrific way to save money and taxes, too. Your contributions are deductible from your taxable income so you’re able to save and receive a refund at the end of the year. Saving $300 per month for three years and depositing the tax refund to the RRSP at the end of each year would add up to a down payment for a $350,000 home.

Gifts from parents or relatives can be a helpful way to get started. It’s also possible to borrow the down payment from sources other than the mortgage provider. A personal line of credit can be useful in these types of circumstances if the overall debt service ratio is within allowed limits.

If you’re thinking of buying a home, it’s a good idea to defer large purchases that will affect your credit and debt servicing ratios. For example, buying a car before a purchase – even if you’re in escrow – can affect your debt ratio and cause the lender to withdraw the mortgage offer. The best approach is to wait until you have moved into your new home before shopping for big ticket items or using your credit cards for travel, etc.

With some planning and foresight, a new home might be within your reach already!

Are you a first time buyer? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today.

Cowichan Valley eco-friendly home maintenance

Create an Eco-Friendly Zone at Home

January is a good month to look at your home environment for opportunities to detox, go green, and get eco-friendly. Making do, making your own, and doing good are what it’s all about. Here in the Cowichan Valley, we have a special pride in our environment and it shows!

Plants purify the air that we breathe and some species will actually remove toxins such as benzene and formaldehyde. As plants respirate, or breathe, they’re taking in carbon dioxide and releasing pure oxygen. That’s why a room with lots of plants encourages a deep breath. It’s because the extra oxygen feels good. Choose plants that are suitable for your space and ability. In the kitchen, food herbs are very easy to grow and make a nice addition to the menu.

Chemical cleaners can add to the overall toxin load in your home. Consider making your own for windows, bathroom disinfection, and kitchen sanitizing. Bleach is one of the most eco-friendly and safe cleaners available. It decomposes back to the principal ingredient, salt, within a few hours. Ammonia, vinegar, lemon juice, and green tea are a few ingredients in homemade cleaning solutions that are inexpensive and all natural. Recipes are available online for easy reference.

Water is the most important element for good health. Older pipes and apartment plumbing can leave a bad taste. While this is off-putting, poor water quality could also be a sign of contaminants like excessive copper, sulphur, and lead. Contaminated water can have direct, negative health effects such as developmental problems in children and cognitive disorders in adults. The good news is that your tap water can be purified using an under the sink reverse osmosis filter system. Water is also an ingredient in cooking so when you use filtered water, you’ll naturally improve the taste of coffee, tea, pasta, and other dishes that rely on it.

Look around your home for ways to remove plastic from the waste stream. Fabric grocery bags or totes are a little more work to manage but they save trees and keep plastic out of the environment. If you still prefer plastic, bring your own bags to the grocery store. They tuck into a pocket or purse easily and you’ll save a nickel on each one. Sturdy plastic bags can be recycled into kitchen-catcher garbage bags. The handy loops can be tied into knot to keep everything neat.

For a wood and paper alternative, consider bamboo. It’s one of the fastest growing species of plants in the world. It can be used to make paper, furniture, hardwood flooring, and even fabric! When cellulose is extracted from bamboo it can be spun into a luxurious silky textile that is perfect for sheets and garments in place of linen. It’s a wonder plant that we’ll see a lot more of in the future.

Questions or comments? Want to talk about your next real estate transaction? Contact Lorne Gait and Morgan Fisher today for information about buying or selling a home in the Cowichan Valley.