That makes the program more accessible for those looking to buy again. However, you’ll still have to meet all the other eligibility requirements, and there are many.
Land transfer tax rebates
You can’t escape taxes. No matter where you’re buying a home in Canada, you’re going to pay land transfer taxes or fees. It’s a hefty expense of several thousand dollars, and it can easily be overlooked. Fortunately, the governments of Toronto, Ontario, British Columbia, and Prince Edward Island offer land transfer tax rebates to first-time home buyers.
But, unfortunately for those buying a second home, these programs are the most restrictive of the bunch. If you’ve bought a house before, or you lived in a home that belonged to your spouse or common-law partner, you’re no longer eligible for these tax rebates.
In fact, every jurisdiction specifies that you cannot have previously owned a home, or even had a share of a home, anywhere in the world. And in Ontario, it doesn’t even matter if you didn’t buy the home yourself. Inheriting or being given a home still counts as having been a first-time home buyer.
The benefits of being a first-time home buyer—again
For some Canadians, home ownership seems like a difficult goal to achieve, so Laframboise suggests considering all your options.
“If there’s a program that can assist you in purchasing a home federally, provincially or municipally, it is worth exploring,” advises Laframboise. “Some [of my] clients are able to purchase homes in a higher price range or sooner than they thought possible through first-time buyer initiatives, so it really can be a valuable tool in your home ownership journey.”
The same approach can apply to buying a home a second time, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. However, for repeat buyers, Laframboise adds that it’s good to have a conversation with a mortgage broker or financial advisor who can determine the pros and cons related to your specific situation.
Laframboise points to a few recent clients who have been able to take advantage of first-time home buying programs for the second time. When divorcing or separating, a person’s household income may be divided in two, but life’s expenses (including paying for a home) often remain the same. In these cases, first-time home buyer programs can help people re-enter the real estate market sooner than if they didn’t use them.
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