Lethbridge First Time Home Buyers

Lethbridge First Time Home Buyers

Lethbridge first time home buyers grants

This is a question that I get often from  those buyers who are new to the market.  They ask if there are any grants or loans or government programs for first time home buyers.  It is always the case that some relative of theirs who's neighbor's brother's wife's co-worker told them that there was free money for anyone to buy their first home.  This information is wrong, as is the majority of all urban real estate legends you will hear from people who do not sell real estate for living right now.  Sure they mean well, and often their opinion is based upon some ancient information that they heard about 2 decades ago, but the reality is that they are still wrong and have no idea what they are talking about.


The truth is there is currently no grants for 1st time buyers from the Government for down payment money.


There has been a few programs over the years, but the last one for down payments disappeared in the mid 1990's.  Since then there have been some other interesting programs, just not ones for down payment.  For example, just a few years ago we had a program called the eco-energy grant.  This program might show up again soon and if it does, it is a great one to take advantage of.  This program gave rebate to homeowners for making improvements to a home they own that save energy.  This could be a new furnace, new windows, hot water tank, finishing the basement, etc.  The amount of the rebates were based upon what work you did and how much it improved the air tight seal of the home.  Personally, I used this program to upgrade a few things on my home and ended up getting about $1200 back in a rebate.  It was only a percentage of what I spent, but it was still a good program.


First Nations communities have also had programs over the years, but those programs were not publicly available to anyone else.  Under their program, a qualified mortgage applicant could be loaned up to $20000 to be used for downpayment on a home.  This was an interesting program, but from many Native friends of mine in the area said they were unable to qualify for the mortgage anyways.  Overall, I think that program was well intentioned but not very well thought out or executed.  Personally I never had one Native family successfully use it.


Another small incentive in buying your first home is that there is a tax deduction available to you.  This is again a rather small amount and it is not free money or a rebate, but it is a deduction which would reduce the amount of income tax payable to the Federal Government if you use it.  I think less than half of all new home buyers know about this and most are not even told this by their real estate agent or their mortgage broker since that is not their duty to know those things.


There are a couple other programs that I have seen try to get launched but none with too much success.  There was a private company that was trying to loan new buyers the down payment money and then sell them one of their own homes.  I have seen new home builders try to do some creative stuff to lend or lower the down payment for new buyers, and i have seen some creative "sweat equity" programs where the buyer could work off the down payment or a portion of it instead of coming up with cash.  These are all creative ways the market has tried to induce new buyers to become home owners.  All these programs are creative and I strongly recommend you have a knowledgable real estate expert advise you and a good real estate lawyer.


In the future, I fully expect that we will see some more programs appear that will help new buyers become home owners.  Specifically in markets like Vancouver and Toronto the prices are far too high for most people to do so.  In Lethbridge real estate market things are not like that at all.  Our average home is priced around $300,000 and with the CMHC mortgage insurance a first time home buyer would only be required to come up with $15,000 down.  Plus, I have seen this money come as a gift from family or borrowed from the bank if the customer has great credit and strong employment.  So there are ways for a 1st time buyer to get into a home, even if they haven't yet saved up enough money.


As these programs are announced, I will always hear about them and share the information with my friends and clients.  This is the sort of stuff that gets shared quickly on realty social media sites, so stay tuned to this blog and you will likely hear about these programs as promptly as they happen.   If you would like to talk to me about down payment option, how you can get into your first home, and work on a plan to become a homeowner in the future, lets get together for a chat.  Give me a call or contact me through this website at my Lethbridge real estate office, I can get you information on current programs and current real estate listings.

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