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From an Immigrant to a Homeowner in Calgary

by Busines Newswire
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Calgary offers a welcoming environment for newcomers, and owning a home can be a significant step towards building a secure future here. Calgary is probably the most vibrant and diverse city in the heart of Alberta. It has become a sought-after destination for immigrants looking to build a new life in Canada. With its strong economy, excellent quality of life, and welcoming community, it’s no wonder that many newcomers aspire to own a home in this beautiful city.

However, navigating the real estate market as an immigrant can be challenging. This is why we have taken some time to write a post on the subject of owning a home in Calgary as an immigrant. We’ll explore the steps you can take to turn your dream of homeownership into a reality, with the help of the best real estate agents in Calgary.

Understanding the Calgary Real Estate Market

“What should be my financial projection?”

Before starting your homeownership process, it’s essential to understand the Calgary real estate market. According to the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB), the average price of a detached home in Calgary was $596,000 as of March 2023, while the average price of a condo was $257,000. These prices are expected to have slightly gone up, however, the market has shown resilience despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, with sales activity remaining strong.

Calgary offers a diverse range of neighbourhoods, each with its unique character and amenities. From the vibrant downtown core to the family-friendly suburbs, there’s a perfect fit for every lifestyle and budget. Working with the best realtor in Calgary can help you navigate the market and find the ideal home for your needs.

Establishing Your Finances

As an immigrant, establishing your financial footing is crucial when pursuing homeownership. Start by building a strong credit history in Canada. Open a bank account, secure a credit card, and make timely payments on all your bills. A good credit score will make it easier to qualify for a mortgage and secure favourable interest rates.

Mortgage Options for Newcomers

  • Newcomer Mortgage Programs: Several lenders in Canada offer specialized mortgage programs for newcomers with limited credit history in Canada. These programs may consider alternative forms of credit verification, such as employment letters and proof of income from your home country.
  • Co-signing with an Established Resident: Partnering with a friend or family member with a strong credit history as a co-signer can improve your chances of mortgage approval and potentially qualify you for a better interest rate.

Building Your Credit Score

  • Obtain a Secured Credit Card: Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit used as your credit limit. Using and responsibly paying off the balance can help establish a positive credit history.
  • Pay Bills on Time: Paying your rent, utilities, and phone bills consistently demonstrates responsible financial management and positively impacts your credit score.
  • Seek Guidance from a Financial Advisor: Consulting a financial advisor can provide personalized strategies to build your credit score and improve your financial standing for mortgage qualification.

Next, determine your budget. Consider factors such as your income, savings, and debt obligations. It’s recommended to aim for a home price that doesn’t exceed 2.5 to 3 times your annual household income. Don’t forget to account for additional costs such as property taxes, insurance, and maintenance.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Navigating the real estate market can be overwhelming, especially for immigrants who may be unfamiliar with the process. That’s where finding the best real estate agents in Calgary comes in. A top realtor in Calgary can provide invaluable guidance, helping you understand the market, find the right property, and negotiate the best deal.

Look for a realtor who specializes in your desired area and property type. For example, if you’re interested in purchasing a condo, seek out the best condo realtor in Calgary or the best condo real estate expert in Calgary. They are professionals who have in-depth knowledge of the condo market and can help you find the perfect unit to suit your needs.

If you’re in the market for a luxury property, consider working with a top luxury realtor in Calgary or a top luxury real estate agent in Calgary. These agents have expertise in the high-end market and can help you find the most prestigious properties in the city.

The Homebuying Process

Once you’ve established your finances and found the right realtor, it’s time to start the homebuying process. Begin by obtaining a mortgage pre-approval from a lender. This will give you a clear idea of your budget and demonstrate to sellers that you’re a serious buyer.

Your realtor will help you find properties that match your criteria and schedule viewings. When you find the right home, your agent will guide you through the offer process, ensuring that your interests are protected.

After your offer is accepted, there are several steps to complete before taking ownership of your new home. These include conducting a home inspection, finalizing your mortgage, and reviewing the closing documents. Your realtor will be there every step of the way to ensure a smooth transaction.

Government Programs and Incentives:

Calgary offers a welcoming environment for newcomers, and owning a home can be a significant step towards building a secure future here. Here are some initiatives and strategies specifically designed to help immigrants fast-track their journey to homeownership in Calgary.

  • The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP): Permanent residents of Canada can withdraw up to $35,000 from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to use as a down payment on a first-time home purchase.
  • The Immigrant Settlement Adaptation Program (ISAP): This program provides financial support to help immigrants with pre-arrival planning, language training, and integration into the workforce. While not directly for homeownership, securing employment can significantly improve your mortgage eligibility.
  • The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) – This program, while not specific to Alberta, offers an interesting example. It has a category for skilled trades immigrants, where getting a job in an in-demand skilled trade can expedite your permanent resident application. This can be particularly relevant as owning a home often involves maintenance needs, and being in a skilled trade can put you in a good financial position. (Note: Double-check if Alberta has a similar program; this example is for illustration purposes).

Calgary Real Estate Resources

  • Calgary Immigrant Services Council (CISC): This organization offers resources and support to help immigrants settle in Calgary, including workshops on homeownership.
  • The City of Calgary’s Newcomer Resources: The City of Calgary website provides valuable information and resources specifically tailored to newcomers, including guidance on housing options.

Settling into Your New Home

Congratulations! You’re now a proud homeowner in Calgary. As you settle into your new home, take the time to explore your neighbourhood and get involved in the community. Calgary offers a wealth of resources for immigrants, including language classes, employment services, and cultural associations.

Owning a home is not only a financial investment but also a symbol of your hard work and dedication to building a new life in Canada. With the right preparation, guidance from the best realtors in Calgary and a positive attitude, you can achieve your dream of homeownership and thrive in this wonderful city.

Additional Tips

  • Save Diligently: Building a strong down payment demonstrates financial commitment and reduces your reliance on borrowing.
  • Research and Compare Mortgage Rates: Shop around for the best mortgage rates and terms from different lenders.
  • Work with a Calgary Realtor Who Understands Newcomers’ Needs: A realtor specializing in working with immigrants can provide valuable guidance on navigating the Calgary housing market and government programs.

Conclusion

The journey from immigrant to homeowner in Calgary may seem daunting, but with the right knowledge, support, and determination, it’s an achievable goal. By understanding the market, establishing your finances, and working with the best real estate agents in Calgary, you can navigate the process with confidence and find the perfect home to call your own.

Remember, whether you’re looking for a cozy condo or a luxurious estate, there’s a top realtor in Calgary ready to help you every step of the way. So, take that first step towards homeownership and start building your Canadian dream today.