When it comes to life, there are a few major decisions that make a lasting impact, no matter when they happen – tying the knot, having kids, and buying your first home top the list!

If you’re a first-time home buyer, the list of responsibilities and requirements can certainly be daunting, no matter how well-prepared you feel. As one of the most important (and expensive!) decisions you’ll ever have to make, it makes sense that you may have some unanswered questions, concerns, or even confusion on where it all stands – that’s why having knowledgeable gurus like Sitka Law Group in your corner is so beneficial!

Here are 5 things you need to know before going ahead with one of the biggest purchases of your life:


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1. Dates you need to remember – and insurance!

  • There are 3 key dates that to keep at the top of your mind when purchasing your first home:
    • Closing (or completion) date – this is when the legal title to the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer – in other words, it’s officially YOURS!
    • Adjustment date – when you become 100% responsible for everything to do with the property, including all costs associated
    • Possession date – next to completion date, this one is the most exciting – it means you can move in!
  • Home insurance should be purchased and in place by no later than midnight on the completion date – you’ll want to protect that shiny new home of yours!

2. Registering ownership – you have options

If you’re purchasing your home with someone else, there are two options for property to be held by more than one person – Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common:

  • ‘Joint Tenants’ is the most common way to hold property among spouses, and means that if one person were to pass away, 100% of their interest in the property transfers to the other
  • ‘Tenants in Common’ refers to owners that each hold a distinguishable interest in the property (e.g. 50/50) and if one owner passes, their interest in the property passes according to his or her will

Sharing is caring, but it’s always a good idea to discuss your ownership options with a lawyer, and Sitka Law Group and their team is always there to lend a helping hand with these kind of big decisions!

3. Identify yourself – they want to know who’s buying what!

When heading to your purchasing appointment, there are a few specific pieces of ID that are required by the purchaser’s lender, the Province of British Columbia and the Law Society. Here’s what you can bring:

  • Your SIN number, as required by The Property Transfer Tax Act
  • Any other pieces of ID that can verify your identity, such as driver’s licenses, birth certificates or passports

4. Legalese – ‘Subject to’, and what it means

When you’re a first-time home buyer, there is a lot of legal speak that may or not make the most sense to you. Some of the most common ‘subject to’ conditions you may come up against include:

  • The purchase being subject to the buyer obtaining mortgage financing
  • The purchase being subject to the buyer obtaining and approving a property inspection report
  • The purchase being subject to the buyer being satisfied with the state of title to the property

The experts at Sitka Law can help you wade through some of the legalese that comes along with buying your first home – and arm you with as much knowledge as possible when making such a huge life leap!

5. Property Transfer Tax Exemption – and do you have to pay?

Every little bit counts, and if you qualify, there is an exemption available for the general property transfer tax! To qualify (and not have to pay the PTT!) the purchaser should:

  • be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • have lived in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date the property is registered or filed at least 2 income tax returns as a B.C. resident in the last 6 years;
  • have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time; and
  • have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund.

In addition the property must meet the following requirements:

  • the purchase price of the property is $500,000 or less (you may qualify for a partial exemption if the price is less than $525,000);
  • the property is 1.24 acres or smaller;
  • the property will be used as your principal residence; and
  • the property is located in BC.

You guessed it – Sitka Law Group has a wealth of information on the subject, and you can always check out their website to learn more about PTT exemptions.

Whether you’re considering buying, already have your down payment saved or have your eyes on your dream house, first-time buyers have a lot to consider before making the move to their forever home.

Sitka Law Group is conveniently located on Shelbourne Street near the intersection of the borders of Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich, and are more than happy to advise you on all things real-estate related – plus a lot more!

Sitka Law Group

Address: 202-3750 Shelbourne Street, Victoria

Phone number:  (778) 265-2677

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