The government has put together a few programs to assist first time home buyers in buying their first property in Vancouver, and some that are applicable to any home buyer, so make sure you familiarise yourself with these, and find out which ones can apply to your situation.

While you won’t literally be handed money, these programs can make your home buying journey more affordable!

First Home Savings Account

This is one of the newest programs available, which launched April 1, 2023. A First Home Savings Account (FHSA) is a registered plan allowing first-time home buyers to save for their first home tax-free. It is similar to an RRSP in that your contributions will be tax-free, and similar to a TFSA, in which your qualifying withdrawals will also be non-taxable. 

To open a first home savings account you must be:

  1. A canadian citizen

  2. 18 years or older

  3. A first-time home buyer

Every year you can contribute $8,000 up to a lifetime contribution limit of $40,000. A maximum of $8,000 of unused contribution room can carry forward to the following year and the account can stay open for a maximum of 15 years or until the end of the year you turn 71. If you haven’t done so already, this is a good program to look into right away with your bank, so that when you are ready to purchase your first home you’ve already got a leg up. 

First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit

The First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit is a non-refundable tax credit for first-time home buyers who buy a qualifying home. 

Basically, you can recover some of the costs from your home purchase, which can offset those extra costs you paid such as legal fees, inspections or other closing costs. You and a spouse or common law partner can claim a combined $10,000, which at a tax rate of 15%, is a maximum of a $1,500 rebate. 

Even if you’ve already owned a home in the past, this tax credit could apply to you as it also applies to those that haven’t owned a home in more than 4 years. Though if you don’t owe any income tax the year you buy a home, there is no benefit to this tax credit.  

First-Time Home Buyers’ Incentive 

The First-Time Home Buyers’ Incentive is a program built to help home ownership become more achievable for first-time home buyers by reducing their monthly payments. In short, it is a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. 

The loan amount can range from 5-10% of the home's purchase price, depending on the type of home, which can be put towards your down payment to reduce your monthly mortgage costs. The loan is not interest-bearing and does not require ongoing payments. However, you have to repay the loan within 25 years or when the property is sold, whichever comes first. You can also repay this loan anytime without a penalty.

First-Time Home Buyers’ Program

The First-Time Home Buyers’ Program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay on your home purchase. To give you some context into how much property transfer tax actually is, it’s calculated in a tiered way as follows:

1% on the first $100,000

2% on the amount from $200,000 to $2,000,000

And 3% on the amount above $2,000,000

If you’re hitting the $3,000,000 mark, you’ll be paying an extra 2% on the amount above that. But as a first time home buyer in Vancouver you probably don’t have to worry about that!

So for a $500,000 property, property transfer tax is $8,000. 

To qualify for a full exemption, among the basic qualifications, the property must have a market value of below $500,000 and below $525,000 for a partial exemption. If you’re buying within Vancouver this may not be applicable because most condos are priced above this, even at the bottom end of the market, but if you keep your eye out you can actually find some properties listed below this price!

RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan

As the name suggests, you’ll have to have an RRSP account already for this one to be applicable. The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 tax-free in a calendar year from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs). This money would go specifically to fund your down payment for buying a home or building a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability. 

The Home Buyers’ Plan can be a great option because generally, early withdrawals from your RRSP is considered taxable income - and really, when buying your first home, every bit of savings counts! You will need to start repaying the amount you took from the RRSP 2 years after buying, over a 15-year period. And keep in mind the money taken must be in your RRSP for at least 90 days prior to the purchase.

GST New Housing Rebate

GST is a whopping 5% of a purchase price, and can easily become one of the largest taxes on buying a new home or one that has been substantially renovated. 

As a first-time home buyer you can apply for a GST credit from the government and/or developer, which can offset part of the GST costs on your home as long as the home is under $450,000. Again, within Vancouver this would be hard to find, though as you move further away this becomes more possible so I wanted to include it!

Now that you know some programs to help you save some money on your home purchase, I have a home buyer guide built just for you that I would love to share. I’ve linked it HERE! Reach out if you have any questions or would like to start your home search!


Are you a first time home buyer? Or maybe it's been a while since you bought a home? I am going to outline the process in 5 steps, nice and simple, so you’ve got a better idea of what actually happens.

If you're looking for a complete, thorough guide to buying a home, you can find my Home Buying Guide HERE!

Do you know how to buy a home?

And I am not just talking about what you see on TV when someone walks into an open house and says “I’ll take it!”... becasue it doesn't happen like that in real life.

Step 1: Find your people

This means, find your realtor and your mortgage broker. If you already know a realtor, it’s a good idea to talk to them first and they can pass along their trusted mortgage broker contacts. The same goes the other way; If you already know a mortgage broker, reach out to them for their trusted realtor contacts.

The reason for this? Not all realtors and mortgage brokers are the same. I had a transaction fall through recently because the mortgage broker representing the buyer on the other side of the transaction somehow screwed up after they already gave them the green light to buy. It's unfortunate for everyone involved in the transaction, but it does happen.

Step 2: Start the search

It’s really important in this step to make a needs vs. wants list, and go through this list thoroughly with your realtor. They can also help you look for homes online - as in set up a specified search for your criteria and set up notifications if you’d like.

Then you’ll start physically viewing homes! Which, to be honest, is one of the most fun parts of the process!

Step 3: Put in an offer

This step includes the most amount of paperwork you’ll see from the realtor, and can be very stressful if you end up being in multiple offers. However, if you make sure you have a clear goal in mind, and understand the amount you’re willing to pay for that home, it will ease some of the stress. Your realtor will help provide comparable sold properties so you’ve got some information to base your offer on.

Step 4: Due diligence

Typically when writing an offer you leave yourself a period of time, called a subject period, where you get to fulfil the subjects you’ve included in your offer. This period is typically about 7-10 days and usually includes reading strata documents, getting your financing in order, doing an inspection, getting insurance and reviewing the title (those are the "big 5" that are typically included). The subjects can also include other things, such as subject to selling another property. This one can be seen often for upsizers and downsizers, so ensure some stability when moving homes. It’s also a good idea to find your notary or lawyer during this time.

Once you’ve satisfied all of your subjects, you will remove those and submit your deposit to your realtor, which will be held in trust in their bank account. Then the offer goes firm, which leads us to the next step.

Step 4: Closing

The closing date will be negotiated in the contract and is typically 30 to 60 days after subject removal, but I have seen it as short as 10 days after subject removal to 3 months, so there can definitely be some room to negotiate that. If the owner is looking for another home, rezoning is involved, or for other reasons, the closing can be 6+ months. The timing can also differ greatly if you’re dealing with a tenanted property versus owner occupied or vacant.

Of course, this is also the best part because this is when you get the keys to your new home and celebrations can really begin!

Now that you know the process of buying a home, some questions may have arisen. Feel free to download my Home Buying Guide HERE. It has tons of information for any home buyer! If you have more questions reach out anytime, I am always happy to help!


Wow, 2023, what a year.

It turns out, the Vancouver real estate market is super resilient! And despite what was going around in the media… the market did not crash. In this blog going to give a short and sweet recap about what's been happening in the market as of December 2023!

We have seen some of the highest borrowing costs in over a decade and the market still was in a balanced market at the end of the year.

Prices had actually dropped slightly by the end of the year, over all residential properties in Metro Vancouver; Taking a closer look at Vancouver (both West and East side), the prices dropped 1.3% in the East side and 2.1% on the West side from November to December. 

Though if we’re looking long term, they’re still on trend of real estate prices increasing with the one-year-change in prices being +2% (5.4% in 2022 to  7.4% in 2023). 

Condo prices remained the most stable from November to December, whereas townhouses took the biggest hit in price. If you think about it, it does make sense, because townhouses are usually big for upsizers, specifically growing familie. However, with the interest rates being where they were, there was less room in the budget for people to move on up the real estate ladder.

There were a total of 26,249 sales in the region for 2023, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. This amounts to 10.3% less sales recorded than in 2022,

And get this, a 41.5% decrease in sales from 2021. 

such a big decrease, but really that’s not surprising... 2021 was a record hot market year! With the exceptionally low interest rates, it made sense for a lot of people to jump into the market.  

The 2023 sales were 23.4% below the 10-year annual sales average in greater Vancouver. If you were a homebuyer or a seller during the year, I am sure you felt the slower market too. Buyers weren’t feeling as rushed, and it was normal to see listings sitting on the market longer.

Andrew Lis, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s director of economics and data analytics said:

“In our 2023 forecast, we called for modest price increases throughout the year while most other forecasters were predicting price declines. The fact that we ended the year with five-per-cent-plus gains in home prices across all market segments demonstrates that Metro Vancouver remains an attractive and desirable destination, and elevated borrowing costs alone aren’t enough to dissuade buyers determined to get into this market.” 

Bottom line, people love Vancouver and will always be buying and selling, our market did not crash, and interest rates are predicted to start going down in 2024 — what do you think will happen to the market in the coming year?


Is this your first time buying a home? Do you want it to go as smoothly as possible? 

This blog will outline the 3 most common homebuyer mistakes I see all the time, so you can avoid them in your home buying journey! Be sure to stick around for the bonus mistake that many people are completely unaware of.

It’s Jemma Sallay-Carrington here, residential realtor working in Vancouver and the North Shore, specializing in helping renters become homeowners.

Mistake #1: Starting The Search Without Being Prepared

Looking for homes online can be a lot of fun, as well as going to open houses. This is all good fun if you’re not actually serious about buying.

If you are serious  and you’re doing this without speaking to a real estate professional first, you could be setting yourself up for potential heartbreak. Whether you’re looking for homes out of your budget, or maybe you’re looking for homes in your budget but you’re not ready to write an offer… Heartbreak is no fun. 

Really, the first thing you should do if you are considering buying your first home is speak to a realtor first. The reason I say this, while you can go directly to a mortgage broker, is because a realtor will have contacts for some local trusted mortgage specialists that they can direct you to. 

This way you’ll be prepared with a pre-approval and an agent already on your side looking for your new home.

Mistake # 2: Focusing On “Wants” Rather Than “Needs”

In an ideal world, we can all purchase our dream property right off the bat… but in reality, we’ve got to work our way UP to that dream home.

This is why I always emphasize the “wants” vs. “needs” list with my clients. I love sitting down over a cup of coffee or going for a walk and chatting about this list.. Really getting down to the stuff that matters in your future home.

Is it important to you that you have a gas stove or that you are allowed to rent your unit if you need? Is that second bathroom important to you, or would you give it up if you’re able to have an office space? These are just examples of what might cross your mind when you start looking at homes, so definitely be prepared with what you simply cannot give up, and what you could do without.

You really want to think about the next 5 or so years, as this is about how long people tend to stay in their first home. And remember – this is your first home, and it will typically not be your dream home but you’ll work your way up to it!

Mistake #3: Making Yourself “House Broke”

What I mean by this is stretching yourself too thin and not having anything left for the ongoing costs of homeownership. Keep in mind, I am not a financial expert, but I want to make sure you can still LIVE after moving into your home.

While your bank, lender or mortgage broker will use your income to calculate how much you can borrow for your mortgage, they are not calculating how much your lifestyle costs, cash purchases you might make or home purchases you may need to make after closing. 

You will want to do your own budgeting and calculations to find out how much you may actually want to spend.

I do see people stretching themselves so thin trying to make a larger down payment, especially trying to reach that 20% down payment mark in order to avoid mortgage insurance, but you don’t want to do this if you won’t have ANY cushion leftover.

Make sure you factor in the extra closing costs, which is covered in greater detail in another video of mine.

Bonus Mistake

Now the little bonus mistake I see is home buyers trying to navigate the buying process by themselves!

While it is definitely possible to buy a home by yourself, you don’t have to because it’s actually FREE as a buyer to use a realtor. The buyer’s realtor gets paid a commission out of the seller’s closing costs, so use this to your advantage and have an expert do all the work for you!

While Buying A Home Can Have A Lot Of Ups And Downs In It, I Hope This Video Helps You Avoid Some Common Home Buyer Mistakes And Make The Process A Little Smoother For You.

You might also be interested in learning about the dates you will find on a contract of purchase and sale or what to do after you close on your first home.

As always, you can get a hold of me anytime with questions about buying or selling, and I look forward to helping you find your first home!


2023 brought changes for how real estate works in British Columbia and Canada as a whole. Check out this blog to find out what changes these are, and if they affect you!

Watch the condensed version above, with the two largest changes that have been implemented: Foreign Buyer Ban and Rescission Period.

Foreign Buyer Ban

The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (aka Foreign Buyer Ban) was put into place on January 1, 2023. This is a federal change which prohibits non-canadians from buying residential real estate in Canada for 2 years. While this ban was just rolled out, this idea got its wheels spinning years ago when the Liberal Party promised the ownership ban in the 2021 election and rolled it out in the federal Budget  in 2022.

The budget was clear on the government’s goals, as they stated “We will do everything we can to make the market fairer for Canadians. We will prevent foreign buyers from parking their money in Canada by buying up homes. We will make sure that houses are being used as homes, rather than as commodities to be traded.”

Like usual, these changes come with a list of exceptions:

  • Temporary resident within the meaning of the ‘Immigration and Refugee Protection Act’
  • A non-Canadian who buys residential property with a Canadian spouse or common-law partner if the spouse or common-law partner is a Canadian citizen or PR, or person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act
  • Those with temporary work permits, refugee claimants, international students (who meet certain criteria)
  • Homes in municipalities with a core population of less than 10,000
  • Recreational properties such as cottages and lake houses

Just a few years ago, a foreign buyer tax was implemented in BC to limit the amount of foreign buyers entering our market as the prices were skyrocketing. These new changes are definitely a more extreme measure, but will they really make that much of a difference?

Homebuyer Rescission Period

The Homebuyer Rescission Period started on January 3rd, 2023, and implemented a mandatory rescission period for home buyers in BC, so they have a 3-day period to back out of a residential purchase after signing a contract with proper written notice.

If a buyer decides to exercise this right, they will pay a penalty to the seller equivalent of 0.25% of the purchase price. This is mandatory and is written into the Contract of Purchase and Sale. 

They are hoping this change will allow buyers more of a chance to do their due diligence among many competing and subject-free offers we were experiencing in the last few years.

This change really only affects subject-free offers.

Residential Property Flipping Rule

Individuals who purchase a residential property and sell it within 12 months of their purchase may be subject to this federal tax, and any profit from the sale, within a year would be taxed as business income and ineligible for either the 50% capital gains rate or the principal residence exemption.

Empty Home Tax Increase

The Empty Homes Tax in the city of Vancouver will be increasing from 3% to 5% in 2023.

Homeowners in Vancouver have to declare every year that their home is not subject to the Empty Home tax. Declaration deadline this year is February 2, 2023.

Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit

This tax credit is for families and applies to eligible construction costs for those adding a secondary unit to their home to allow an immediate or extended family member to live with them.

The tax credit covers 15 % of the costs, to a maximum of $7,500, and is a federal tax credit to make real estate more affordable for Canadians.

How Do You Think These Changes Will Affect You?

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