10 Ways You Can Save Money When Buying a Home

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There's no question that becoming a homeowner is an expensive endeavour. From taxes and legal fees, to upkeep and repairs, the list of bills is never ending. However, whether you are a first-time home buyer, or have been in the game for years, there are a number of grants and rebates available that can help ease the burden on your bank account.


Here are the top 13 grants and rebates for home buyers and owners:


1. Home Buyers' Plan: Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. See Canada Revenue Agency & search “Home Buyer Plan”. www.cra.gc.ca


2. GST Rebate on New Homes: New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST) if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. The rebate does not apply to homes $450,000 and above.


3. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers' Program: Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. The rebate does not apply to homes $450,000 and above.


4. First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit: This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached,

attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a co-operative housing corporation. For the 2012 tax year, the maximum credit is $750.


5. BC Home Owner Grant: Reducing property taxes for homeowners with an assessed value of up to $1,295,000, this basic grant also gives home owners: 

  • A maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts;
  • An additional grant of $200 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province;
  • An additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65-plus, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

6. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs:

  • Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55-plus may be eligible to defer property taxes.
  • Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes.
  • Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying low-income home owners who financially support children under age 18 maybe eligible to defer property taxes.

7. Canada Mortgage and Housing Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program Grants: This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low income homeowners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites.


8. Home Adaptation for Independence: A program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled homeowners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer.


9. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund: Home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance who purchase an energy efficient home or make energy savings renovations qualify for a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge.


10. Energy Saving Mortgages: Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient.  For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver Mortgage may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account.


11. Low Interest Renovation Loans: Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades.  Vancity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers homeowners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years.  RBC’S Energy Saver loan offers a 1% interest rate discount or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit with a qualifying purchase through a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000.  For more information, visit your financial instituition.


12. BC Hydro Appliance Rebates: Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers or freezers.


13. BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program: Turn in your old, energy-wasting fridge for recycling and BC Hydro will pay you $30. It must be clean and in working condition.


14. BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program: Receive rebates or tax savings when you by ENERGY STAR high-performance windows.


15. FortisBC Rebate Program: A range of rebates for home owners include a $75 rebate for upgrading to an ENERGY STAR washing machine, a $300 fireplace rebate, $500 off water-heaters and $1,000 for switching to natural gas.


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