Real estate and money expert, Limor Markham, suggests the housing market is in turmoil right now. Lenders are becoming more conservative, appraisers are lowering home valuations, home buyers are finding themselves short on financing, and sellers are threatening lawsuits.
I sat down with her to discuss tips for those looking to buy a home for the first time. Here’s what she said:
1. Always set up your offer to have the financing condition waived ONLY after an appraisal is complete.
2. If you are getting money gifted from family for a down payment, put that money into your RRSP if you haven't maxed out your contributions. The funds must be in the plan for 90 days to get the tax benefit. Plus you can delay claiming the tax benefit to future years when you may be earning a higher income.
3. Don't give your financial deposit to the seller's realtor (as is commonly done) - submit it to your lawyer to hold in trust. Otherwise, once you've given the seller's realtor your funds, if you the buyer pull out of the deal, it could take a really long time for you to get your full deposit back. That in turn could compromise an offer on another home if you don't have enough money available.
4. Adjust ownership ratios for parents of buyers when they must go on title, thereby reducing future capital gains taxes. A common split for tax purposes 1 per cent – 99 per cent.
Real estate is an emotional and expensive purchase. Arming yourself with tips and facts can be empowering and help to put more money in your pocket rather than the sellers’ pocket.