The British Columbia government offers a number of incentives for first-time home buyers,

What a first-time home buyer in BC should know

Make the most of first-time home buyers incentives to help you with your first-home purchase

For many of you, buying your first home can be complex and overwhelming. Despite this, there are many incentives that you can take advantage of as a first-time home buyer to make the process a little less stressful.  

And when it comes to provinces like British Columbia, you also have a few to tap into.

With its diverse landscapes–think waterfalls, mountains, and forests–and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia can be a popular location for first-time home buyers in Canada. And their first-time home buyer incentives might help solidify the decision to buy there. 

Your options for B.C. first-time home buyer incentives

The British Columbia government offers a number of incentives for first-time home buyers, including the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program, the First-Time Home Buyers' Program (FTHB) as well as a “cooling-off period,” which is unique to B.C. as it’s the only province in Canada with this kind of program. 

BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program

The HOME Partnership program is a government-backed program that provides first-time home buyers with up to 5% of the purchase price to be used as a down payment. To be eligible, the home must be located in British Columbia and have a purchase price of less than $750,000. The amount of assistance you receive for your down payment depends on the amount of the down payment you’re able to put down as well as the home you’re purchasing. 

First-Time Home Buyers' (FTHB) program

The First-Time Home Buyers' program provides a refund of the property transfer tax for eligible first-time home buyers. To be eligible, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and have lived in British Columbia for at least 12 consecutive months before the date of registration for the property. The refund is based on the amount of the property transfer tax and is equal to the amount of the tax paid, up to a maximum of $13,000.

Cooling-off period

The cooling-off period in British Columbia is a three-day period where you can cancel a contract for the purchase of a home. This period begins on the day the contract is signed and allows you to review the contract and make sure you are comfortable with the terms before finalizing the deal. This rule applies to all contracts for the purchase of a home in the province, no matter if the home is new or a resale, and where it’s located within the province.

During this period, you have the right to cancel the contract, by providing written notice of your intention to cancel to the seller or the seller's agent.  However you’ll have to pay a fee for rescinding of 0.25%. That means if you were to buy a $1-million home, but backed out during the cooling-off period, you’d have to pay the seller 0.25%, which in this case is $2,500. 

The cooling-off period is a useful tool for first-time home buyers in British Columbia, as it provides an opportunity to reconsider the purchase and make sure it is the right decision before finalizing the deal. You can take this time to really consider any doubts or concerns you might have about the purchase of the home. It’s important to understand that this period is not a right to renegotiate the terms of the contract: it’s simply a small window where you can cancel the contract without penalty.

Other factors to consider as a first-time home buyer in B.C.

Aside from capitalizing on the first-time home buyers’ incentives in B.C., there are several other important factors to think about when making your first home purchase. 


Determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Factors to consider include your income, expenses, and debt. You can use a mortgage affordability calculator to help you determine your budget.

Down payment

The minimum down payment for a home in British Columbia is 5% for a home under $500,000 and 10% for a home over $500,000. It’s a good idea to start saving early for your down payment and remember to consider this when determining your overall budget. 

Closing costs

Closing costs can often be overlooked during the home-buying process. These costs include legal fees, property transfer tax, and other miscellaneous expenses that can often be forgotten about when budgeting for the purchase of a home. Make sure to factor in these costs when determining your budget so they don’t end up surprising you near the end of closing your deal.

Homeowner's insurance

Homeowner's insurance is required when purchasing a home in British Columbia. Take the time to research different insurance options and find the right policy for your needs.

Your mortgage pre-approval

Before you start shopping for a home, it is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This can help you determine your budget and give you an advantage when negotiating with sellers.

Do your research to make the best decision for you

Being a first-time home buyer in British Columbia can be made easier by taking advantage of the different incentive programs available. By being informed about your options, you can make this home ownership journey a successful and enjoyable experience. If you’re ready to begin your  mortgage approval process or have any questions, one of Pine’s mortgage agents would be happy to speak with you.  

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