Saving for that down payment is tough enough.

Fortunately, there are a number of options available that can alleviate some of the burden and get you into your home a little sooner and take advantage of record low mortgage rates.

Here are three great options that will help you get into your home sooner. But keep in mind; there are caveats with all of them.

Land Transfer Tax Rebate

First-time home buyers can access a Land Transfer Tax Rebates to a maximum of $8,475 between both Toronto Municipal rebate and the Provincial rebate. This rebate applies only if you plan to occupy the house within 9 months. Also, If you have owned a home anywhere else in the world, you do not qualify. Also, if your spouse owned a home prior to the date of marriage, you still qualify, but for half the rebate.

There’s a great little Land Transfer Tax Calculator found on the TRREB that can help you quickly determine how much you’ll have to pay based on the purchase price.


Using RRSP’s as a Down Payment

The next option is the long standing First-Time Home Buyer Program which allows each borrower to leverage up to 35,000 in RRSP’s – the caveat here is the same – you must occupy this home as your primary residence. Also, you’re still considered a first-time home buyer if you have not owned a home in the last four years.  If you are divorced, and re-buy a home, you still qualify and don’t have to wait the four years to take advantage of this program.

This program allows you to take advantage of the RRSP tax break, and use your money without penalty. You have 15 years to pay yourself back.


Purchase Plus Improvement Program

If you have a small-ish down payment and yet still need money for renovations, most lenders with CMCH approved mortgages will typically lend an additional $40K with most lenders approving much more. The caveat here is that home improvements must add value to the home. For example, new energy efficient windows, or installing a new kitchen. A detailed quote is required. The real benefit here is that this loan amount is paid back at the same mortgage rate.


Home Buyer Incentive Program

The Federal Government launched a program whereby you can borrow up to 5% of the purchase price of your home. The loan is paid back with a percentage of appreciation when you sell your home. For example, if you borrow 5% ($25,000 on a $500,000 purchase) and later sell for $1million, you would pay back 5% of $1 million or $50,000. Or, the funds need to be paid back within 25 years.

In essence, the government owns a 5% stake in your home which is to be repaid with appreciation.  Not a favourite incentive and most Toronto home purchases do not qualify as the maximum purchase price is $500,000. The key benefit here, is lower monthly mortgage payments. For more details on this program visit:


Co-Ownership With Friends

The last and my favourite option is co-ownership with friends – call it friends with benefits. Buying a home with another party could mean getting into a larger property and in a better neighbourhood. A solid co-ownership agreement is a must and the most important first step in protecting all parties.

For more detail on these and other programs, contact me at 416.271.7680 or


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