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Basic Information about the Program
If you are a resident of British Columbia, and you qualify as a first-time homebuyer, the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership, or the BC HOME Partnership, could help you by giving you a down payment assistance loan.
The loan makes up a part of your personal down payment, as much as 5 per cent of the total purchase price. It’s up to you to make sure that your personal down payment, in addition to the BC HOME Partnership loan, totals enough to satisfy requirements for an insured first mortgage note.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you found a house that you wanted to purchase for $500,000. You have $12,500 to put down (2.5 per cent), and the BC HOME Partnership loan would give you another $12,500 (2.5 per cent) to bring you to $25,000, or the 5 per cent that you need to qualify for insurance.
Even if you already have the minimum 5 per cent, you can still use a BC HOME Partnership loan to help your standing with a lender. If you had 10 or 15 per cent to put down and wanted that extra 5 per cent to get your down payment even higher, this program could help.
The BC HOME Partnership loan comes with a 25-year term – free of interest and payments for the first five years of the note. It registers on your real estate property as a second lien.
Are you eligible?
Here are the requirements for eligibility in the BC Home Partnership loan program. You must:
Hold Canadian citizenship or have been a permanent resident for at least the last five years
Have resided in BC for at least 12 full months before making your application
Purchase a home that costs no more than $750,000
Hold eligibility for a high-ratio insured first mortgage
Be a first-time homebuyer who has not held any interest in a residential property anywhere (not just Canada) and has never taken a refund or exemption as a first-time homebuyer
Have a gross combined household income for all titled individuals of no more than $150,000
Use the purchased home as the primary residence for all persons on the title for a minimum of five years after the purchase
Things to Know Before You Apply
Do you have your contribution to the down payment saved up? Have you already been pre-approved for a high-ratio first mortgage from a lender approved by the National Housing Act? Then you’re ready to apply.
You’ll need to upload electronic copies of a Canadian birth certificate, a permanent resident card or a Certificate of Canadian Citizenship for everyone on the application. Usable formats include PDF, DOC, DOCX, JPG, TIFF, JPEG, PNG or GIF.
Were you born outside Canada and lack the requisite identification? Get in touch with Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 888-242-2100.
In addition, you must provide a driver’s licence or ID card issued by BC. Alternatives include a passport, a secure certificate of Indian Status. If you don’t have any of these but do have ID with a signature and photo, those may work as well – those are considered case by case.
Proof of income takes the form of your Notice of Assessments from Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You can also submit a Proof of Income Statement (Option C Print) that CRA provides. You can log into your CRA account and print it out, or ask CRA for an Option C print at 800-959-8281.
Finally, you need to provide confirmation that a lender approved by the National Housing Act has pre-approved you for a high-ratio mortgage.
Once you are found eligible for the program, and you enter into a Contract of Purchase and Sale for a residence, you and your lender would need to collaborate to put together a high-ratio mortgage that an insurer such as Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) would approve.
How to Apply
Follow this link to apply. Allow up to six business days for the processing of your application.
Are you already looking for a home? You have to remember to give BC Housing time to go through your application when determining the closing time. Once you’ve put together a Contract of Purchase and Sale, enter the information about the property on your MyBCHousing account. If the dwelling is eligible, a Loan Approval Letter will come to you. Pass this on to your lender or broker for your first mortgage.
After all of the conditions have been met (or waived), sign in to your MyBCHousing account no fewer than 14 days before closing and provide this information:
Confirmation of dates of closing and possession, purchase price and down payment
Mortgage commitment letter from the first lender
Contact information for your lawyer or notary public
Any amendments to the sale contract (if needed)
After You Qualify
You’ll receive confirmation of your pre-approval and the Homebuyer’s Package, which has more thorough information about the steps necessary for the BC Home Partnership loan. There is also information for your lender, realtor and lawyer or notary public.
Just remember to provide BC Housing with the Contract of Purchase and Sale as soon as you receive it. Following the steps in the Homebuyer’s Package makes the approval process go as smoothly as possible, keeping you from unnecessary delays at closing.
The first five years of the term are free of interest or payments. However, you can start making payments earlier without any penalty – even if you pay the note in full. After the sixth year starts, interests starts accumulating, and you’ll start making interest and principal payments, amortized over the next 20 years.
However, the loan becomes due and payable and full should any of the following events happen:
Default on either your first mortgage or the BC HOME Partnership loan
Change of ownership (including adding new people to the title) or transfer of the home
The home does not remain your primary dwelling for the first five years