First Time Home Buyers Guide to Buying a home in Halifax (HRM) Nova Scotia

First Time Home Buyers Guide to Buying in Halifax (HRM) Nova Scotia

Welcome first home buyers looking in Halifax Nova Scotia and area !!

One of the most terrifying and exciting things you will do in your life is buy your first home. Nothing is more stressful and more fun then buying your first home.
 We can make it easier. There is a lot to learn about the process and this guide should help. There is also loads of information about the process in the BUYERS section above.

Tips for First Homes Buyers in Nova Scotia


First Home Buyers Rebate Grant for Buying New Home in Nova Scotia

First new home home buyers in Nova Scotia can get a rebate on HST portion of a new home. Nova Scotia's First-Time Home Buyers Rebate is a rebate equivalent to 18.75 per cent of the provincial portion of the HST up to $3,000, on newly built homes. The newly constructed home will be used as your primary residence and the individuals that will occupy the newly constructed home have not owned and occupied a home in Canada in the last five years.
In Nova Scotia builders have you sign over this rebate and don;t give you additional credit for it.The price of the new home assumes that the buyer will be eligible for this rebate.

First Home Buyers Tax Rebate Program

There is a Canada wide First Home Buyers Tax Credit Program for buying a new home. You can claim a one time $5000 non refundable tax credit that could net you $750 off your taxes. You must claim this within a year of purchase.

Are you in a position to start looking for a house:
You need to have a few things lined up before you can buy your first home.

Lease: If you are in a rental you need to know when you can get out of your lease. Check with your landlord or property manager and find out the exact date you can leave and get it in writing. Many buyers assume things about their lease that turn out to be wrong. You don't want to start the buying process only to find out you can't get out of your lease for several months.


Pre-Approved Mortgage:  There are several good reasons to get a pre-approved mortgage. One of the most important is you lock in your interest rate for an extended period of time. If rates go up you still get your pre-approved rate and if they go down you get the lower rate.
Another reason is you will know exactly how much you can afford. That way you can limit your search to that amount. Mortgage approval rules changed in Canada in October 2016. Prior to the new rules if you wanted a 5 year locked in mortgage you only needed to qualify at the best interest rate you can get. At the time that rate was about 2.5%. The new rule states you have to qualify for a set rate  regardless of the rate you can get in the market place. This means that you will qualify for a less expensive property. We recommend mortgage brokers over going directly to a bank. They are specialists that only do mortgages and they will offer you more options that one lender can.

Down payment and closing costs in place: In your meeting for your pre-approved mortgage you will be told how much money you will need to buy your property. Before you start to look you should either have all your money already saved or be close enough that you will have it when your closing date comes around. As a first home buyer you can use your RRSPs for your down payment. See our page on RRSP by clicking here : 

General idea of what you want in a property: First home buyers sometimes have trouble understanding what they want and need in a home. You should have an idea of the locations are you are open to look at, the price, the number of bedrooms you need etc. You only need a general idea. You can fine tune this in your meeting with a realtor.

Pick a realtor to help you: You need a realtor to help you. Do your research and find a realtor you are comfortable with. You should have one realtor looking out for you. We would like to be that realtor and are available to meet you any time to explain how we work and you can decide whether you are comfortable with us or want to use someone else. .

A few real estate terms a First Home Buyer should know:
Real estate has its own language. Here is a brief explanation of some of the most common.

Closing date: This is date that you take possession and pay for the property. This date varies depending on the seller's needs but generally it is 30-60 days from the date of an accepted offer.

Closing Costs: These are the expenses that you will incur when buying a home. Many of these are paid on the closing at your lawyer`s office but some are paid ahead of that. Closing costs include home and other inspections, lawyer, deed transfer tax, property tax adjustment, fuel adjustments and others. For more detailed information see out section on closing costs by clicking here
Closing Costs

Agreement of Purchase and Sale: This is often called the "offer". It is the formal written agreement you sign when you make your offer to the seller. In this agreement the terms and conditions are outlined including the purchase price, deposit, inspections you will need to complete, mortgage you will need and much more. If the seller signs you have a legal agreement to buy.


Deposit: This is the amount of money you will need to provide when you have an accepted agreement of purchase and sale. This money is held in trust until the closing date at which time it is applied to the purchase price and forms part of your down payment. It usually ranges from between $1000 and $5000 but there are many exceptions. This is often confused with down payment. The down payment is the amount of money you will need to come up with on closing.

Buyer Brokerage Agreement: All buyers of property in Nova Scotia will be required to sign a Buyer's Brokerage Agreement with their realtor. This agreement is a legal agreement that outlines what terms that you will work with your realtor on including any costs or obligations you may have. This is supposed to be signed very early in the buying process so you should have some understanding of what you are signing.


How we can help you as a First Home Buyer:
We have dealt with many first home buyers and enjoy it tremendously. We love watching the excitement. We understand that you may need hand holding and will need many questions answered. We will walk you through the entire process.


Here's how we work:
1) We will send you a Buyers package of information.

2) Meet with you and explain the buying process in detail and answer any questions that you may have.
3) Together we establish the areas you want to look at, price range, style of home and more. 
4) Together we make a list of properties for you to view.
5) We set you up to automatically be emailed all new MLS listings that match your requirements. You see the properties the minute they hit the MLS system and ahead of when they are posted on This can be important during a busy market.

6) We make all the arrangements for viewing the properties you choose. We work around your schedule. This includes weekends and evenings. We make ourselves available when you are.
7) We begin looking at properties. We go out as many times as you need to find your home over as long a period of time as you might need.
8) We get additional information on any property you like. This information could include property taxes, heating and electrical costs, lot plan and much more.
9) When you find a property you are interested in and ready to buy we advise you and write the agreement of purchase and sale for you.
10) Guide you through the negotiation with the seller. We are very good negotiators.

11) Recommend lawyers, any inspectors you will need, insurance companies and whatever other professionals you may need. We have a great team of professionals we like to use and will provide you with those names. You are always free to use whoever you want.
12) Setup any inspections that are needed.
13) Negotiate issues post inspections. Often there are issues that need to be negotiated after the inspections. For example the inspector finds something structural that you were unaware of and needs to be addressed.
14) We stay involved and make ourselves available from the start until the closing and afterwards if needed.
15) We give frank advise through the whole process.

16) We guide you through everything. It sounds corny but we are in this together with you from start to finish.
17) After you move in we are still available at any time for any questions that you have about your property or changes that you are considering making.

Why pick us as your realtor:
1) Experience. We have sold hundreds of properties. We know and understand the process.
2) Knowledgeable. We know all areas of HRM well. We know what areas to stay away from and we know what to watch out for in properties.
3) Organized. We have a good buyers system that works great.
4) Get two for one. We are both full time and work together with you. Buyers often comment that they like that they get both the man and woman perspectives. With two of us availability is never an issue.

5) Quick to respond -You contact us and we respond and fast.

6) Great team of professionals that we can recommend such as lawyers and all kinds of inspectors. You will deal with what we believe are the best people in their field. We can also advise you on things like best insurance, cable/internet, telephone, fuel etc.

7) We make the process fun. This is a stressful event but it also should be a very enjoyable experience.

Check out our profile above in the About Us section to see more details about who we are.