first time home buyers

Buying homes with First Time Home Buyers

Buying a home can be a detailed step by step process.... 


So much time, effort, overloading of information, and the legalities & costs that goes into the home buying process, for a First Time Home Buyer can be overwhelming. Hiring a professional and experienced Realtor to take that stress on for you and protect you in the process is essential... and below is a list of what to expect.

Getting Pre-Qualified for a Mortgage

The first step to buying a house or strata property (condo/townhouse) in Victoria is finding out how much your Lender/Mortgage Broker or Financial Institution is willing to lend you. Mortgages are available from several types of lenders, such as:

  • banks
  • caisses populaires
  • credit unions
  • mortgage companies
  • insurance companies
  • trust companies
  • loan companies

 Applying for a  pre-approval on a mortgage, your lender will look at your:

  • Income vs. assets
  • Proof of Employment
  • Level of Debt(s)
  • Downpayment
  • Any CRA assessments if you are self employed
  • Credit history

The pre-approval should be in writing and will include a guaranteed interest rate (usually valid for 90-120 days). 

TIP: Confusion often happens, when buyers have had a discussion with their lender(s) and assume they can buy a home for a certain amount based on their feedback to the lender. This is not pre-approval and this isn’t a verified amount. 

Pre-approvals are written like a promissory note that outlines the type of mortgage, amortization period, interest rates and the maximum amount the lender can provide you and what your margin is for buying. 

This will ensure that you know exactly how much mortgage you can obtain, which in turn will help you know what exact price range of homes you should be targeting in your search. Strata properties are treated differently versus freehold homes as to the amount you can purchase. Mortgages look at costs associated with strata fees so they have to take into account this number. Purchase price point therefore can be a bit lower than freehold properties. 

Pre-approval will also allow you to focus your house-hunting efforts and will eliminate the risk and uncertainty of financing, once you find your perfect home

Janine works for you to achieve the best outcome. She is passionate about what she does. Above and beyond is what I experienced with Janine. If you want something to truly represent you and understand your needs then I highly recommend Janine. She is simply the best in the area." - Troy Wilson

Develop your Wish List    

Knowing what you need and want in your home is essential and can be divided between thoughts on what are your must-haves, your nice-to-haves, and your no-way-absolutely-nots? 

How many bedrooms & bathrooms do you need? 

How large of an outdoor space do you want? 

What about square footage and neighbourhoods?

You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what you want.

It’s essential to know that the locations in Victoria will be a big part of your decision and can influence your decision but at what price point? Since price can dictate the area. Keep in mind, that maybe neighbourhoods outside your desirable area are more affordable. 

Choose Your Agent  & Team

Buying a house or condo can be your most riskiest and biggest purchase you’ll ever make in your life – but don’t worry, you don’t need to do it alone. 

Your team will include:

  •  A Victoria real estate agent, who works exclusively in your best interests. Think of your REALTOR as your Protector & Advisor in your home buying process. There are many risks associated in Buying, and a Realtor will have the knowledge and experience to manoeuvre and guide you around any obstacles. 
  • A lender or mortgage broker to take you through your financing options and help you on the right path to achieve the best mortgage and financial situation for you.
  • A real estate lawyer will wrap up the final documents, transferring of titles & advise with the legal aspects of the purchase and in closing.

Time for House Hunting

Now that you are pre-approved, narrowed down your search and have picked a great Victoria Realtor to work with, its time to start looking at homes.  

While most people search through to start their searches, your real estate agent will send you custom listings that match your criteria directly from the Victoria MLS. 

Tip: This direct MLS access, will allow you to see more details on the property that are accurate and 100% current. Through here, you can obtain the most accurate listing info, live time updates, and communicate your desirable properties directly with your agent through this. 

House hunting will involve screening listings for accuracy, previewing properties online through phots and virtual video, visiting the neighbourhood prior and then finally going out to view the homes “Live’ and of course with Covid safety in mind. 

This is your opportunity to get a feel for different Victoria neighbourhoods, communities, municipalities and refine your wish list accordingly. As time goes along, you can get  a feel for your area that feels like home to you. A wish list is a great starting point, but often and from experience, most buyers walk into the home and they just “know it” or “feel it.”

Of course, it helps when it satisfies your needs and wants too, but don’t underestimate the power of ‘just knowing’.

Making an Offer as a First Time Home Buyer


Your home search efforts have paid off, and you have now found the ideal home for you: it satisfies your wants and needs, it’s in your price range, and it feels right. Now its time to write an offer of purchase, which will be both exciting and nerve-wracking a the same time. In British Columbia, your offer must be in writing and will form the Contract of Purchase and Sale (CPS) which is a legally binding document containing valuable conditions: 

  • The price you are prepared to pay
  • The amount of your deposit (usually 5% of the purchase price, due within 24 hours after the offer is accepted)
  • Closing date (the date you take possession)
  • Inclusions you want (washer/dryer, blinds/window coverings, etc)
  • Conditions that need to be met for the deal to go through and be 100% complete.  (EX: financing approvals, title and property disclosure verification, house insurance, home inspection, etc)

Once your agent has submitted your offer, the Seller can accept it, reject it or sign back a counter offer. During these back-and-forth negotiations, you may need to compromise on small things, but a great REALTOR will work hard to get you what you want.

Providing The Deposit & Meeting Conditions

Conditions are requirements within the Contract of Purchase and Sale (CPS) that must be met for the sale to go through. This is not a solid sale until conditions have been met and satisfied. As a first time home Buyer, you may have included a financing condition in your offer, or a condition that allows your lawyer to review the legal details of the property, or a home inspection condition. 

And of course, you’ll need to submit a deposit on an amount up to 5%-10% of the purchase price, upon the date you remove these subjects or as outlined in the CPS. Your deposit will be held in trust until closing day and submitted to your lawyer for final paperwork.  

Once the conditions have been met, verified and removed, the sale is said to be ‘firm’, and now it’s just a matter of waiting for your closing and move-in dates. And additionally, some pre-packing & preparing for that big day

Time for the Move!

You’re almost a homeowner! 

Closing is the point at which the ownership and possession of the property are transferred from the Seller to you. It takes place once all the legal and financial obligations have been met. This is when you Lawyer comes in. Closing the purchase will be a team effort: in addition to yourself as the buyer, the seller and both your lawyers and your lender, they will all be involved in helping to close the deal smoothly and on time. Once this is achieved, you're ready to move in and your agent is ready to pass you your new keys!

Janine was easy to work with and understood what our requirements were. She was highly dedicated and I would have no hesitation in recommending her as I believe her professionalism and interpersonal skills are second to none."                       - Ralph Miller 

Looking for an agent that has well known experience working with First Time Home Buyers and Sellers. Get in touch…… Call Janine!

Get in Touch 

Janine Thomson

Pemberton Holmes

103-814 Goldstream Ave  Victoria,  BC  V9B 2X7 

Mobile: 778-678-5466

Phone: (250) 384-8124

Toll Free: 1-800-665-5303

Fax: 250-380-6355

Recent Blog Entries

Pet Friendly Plants: Safe Greenery for your Dogs & Cats at Home

Household plants bring a touch of nature indoors, improving air quality and adding beauty to your living space. However, if you have pets, choosing the right plants is crucial since many common houseplants can be toxic to cats and dogs. Thankfully, there are plenty of pet-friendly options that allow you to enjoy greenery without compromising your f...

Read More

New & Upcoming Trends in Condo Developments in Canada

The Canadian real estate market continues to evolve, and new construction condo developments are at the forefront of this transformation. As urban centers grow and housing demands change, developers are innovating to meet the needs and desires of modern buyers. Here are some of the latest and upcoming trends shaping the future of condo developments...

Read More

Where You Can Buy a House in B.C. on a Single Income

Buying a home on a single income can be challenging, especially in a high-demand real estate market like British Columbia (BC). However, it's not impossible. With careful planning, research, and a bit of flexibility, you can find affordable areas where you can achieve your dream of homeownership. Here are some of the best places in BC where you can...

Read More