A Step-by-Step Guide for First-Time Home Buyers in Greater Vancouver

A Step-by-Step Guide for First-Time Home Buyers in Greater Vancouver

Welcome to the exciting journey of buying your first home in the vibrant and diverse region of Greater Vancouver, Canada! This guide is designed to simplify the process and help you confidently navigate your home-buying journey.

Step 1: Assess Your Financial Health 

- Understand Your Budget: Begin by evaluating your current financial situation. Determine how much you can afford by considering your income, savings, debts, and other financial obligations.

- Contact a mortgage broker or a mortgage specialist. (Pro tip: ask your Realtor to refer you to someone good they've worked with before. Not all mortgage persons provide the same service)

Step 2: Getting Pre-Approved

- Gather Necessary Documents: Prepare documents such as proof of income, employment verification, and financial statements.

- Pre-Approval: A pre-approval letter will give you an idea of the mortgage amount you qualify for and allow you to determine your budget limit.

Step 3: Determine Your Needs and Preferences

- Location: Decide on preferred neighbourhoods. Consider factors like proximity to work, schools, public transportation, future growth, and amenities.

- Type of Home: Choose the type of home that suits your lifestyle – whether a condo, townhouse, or detached home. 

- Must Haves vs. Nice to Haves: Determine what aspects of the home are most important to you. Consider factors like outdoor space, EV parking, Air conditioning, the direction the home faces, amenities, etc.

Step 4: Start Your Property Search

- Involve a Real Estate Agent: An experienced local agent can provide valuable insights, guide you through the process, and make sure you don't overpay or miss out on your dream home.

- Online Listings and Open Houses: Explore listings online and attend open houses to get a feel for the market and what’s available within your budget. I recommend using as a search engine because it's easy to use and mirrors Realtors' MLS system (with a slight delay). 

Step 5: Make an Offer

- Making an Offer: Once you find a property you love, work with your agent to make a competitive offer.

- Understand the Home Buyer Rescission Period: Ask your Realtor.

- Negotiations: Be prepared for possible negotiations regarding the price, terms, and conditions of the sale.

Step 6: Home Inspection and Appraisal

- Home Inspection: Always opt for a home inspection to check for any hidden issues with the property.

- Appraisal: Your lender will require a home appraisal to ensure the property is worth the loan amount.

Step 7: Finalize the Deal

- Remove conditions/subjects: Firm up the deal and give your deposit, typically 5% of the purchase price in Greater Vancouver. 

- Closing the Sale: Work with your real estate agent, lender, and lawyer to finalize the sale. This includes signing the final mortgage paperwork.

- Closing Costs: Be prepared to pay closing costs, including Property Transfer Tax, Lawyer fees, and moving costs. In B.C., the home seller will pay your real estate agent's commission. 

Step 8: Move In!

- Preparation: Plan your move, transfer utilities, and change your address.

- Enjoy Your New Home: Congratulations! You are now a proud homeowner.


Buying your first home is a significant milestone. With the right preparation and guidance, you can make informed decisions and enjoy a smooth home-buying experience. Getting in touch with a real estate agent early on can expedite the process and help you avoid costly mistakes. Remember, as a home buyer in British Columbia, you don't pay anything for the service of a real estate agent, so it's almost always beneficial to have one looking out for your best interest. 

Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.