With Ottawa’s new First Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI), there’s a lot of confusion about what are the best incentives for new home buyers.

While the FTHBI has too many downfalls to recommend, there are plenty of other programs that genuinely help first-time buyers, with little or no downsides.

First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit

What do you get?

You and your spouse can file for a $5,000 income tax credit when buying your first home. This will amount to $750 in tax savings, which can help offset legal fees, inspections, and other closing costs.

Any catches?

This isn’t as exciting as actual cash in your pocket, as it’s just a tax break. But every little bit helps. And you must of course be a first-time home buyer.

Land Transfer Tax Rebate

What do you get?

A refund for all or part of the Land Transfer Tax in Ontario.

You can request the refund at the time of registration, which may offset the tax entirely. Otherwise, you must pay the tax first, and file a claim for the refund to the Ministry of Finance.

Any catches?

It does have a strict requirement: neither you nor your spouse can have ever owned a home anywhere in the world at any time you were together. If one of you did, you’re both disqualified.

RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

What do you get?

Make an impact with a huge down payment. With this plan, you can borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP to put it towards your down payment. All tax-free!

Best of all, only one of a couple needs to be considered a first-time buyer. Even if you or your spouse previously owned a home, one of you may still be considered a first-time home buyer.

Any catches?

The money must have been in your RRSP for at least 90 days before the purchase of your house.

GST/HST New Housing Rebate

What do you get?

This is a tax rebate for Canadians who buy a newly built home, are constructing a new home, or making substantial renovations to their existing home.

Keep all your receipts and invoices, and you can get back some of the tax you paid.

Any catches?

For a renovation to count, at least 90% of the interior of the existing house must be removed or replaced. So that kitchen reno isn’t eligible.

Helping you get started

As your REALTOR, it’s a part of my job to help you find the resources you need for these first-time home buyer incentives.

With my experience, and with my trusted financial colleagues, I’ll help you save money on your first home.