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What to do when you’re a first-time home-buyer

What to do when you’re a first-time home-buyer

Thinking of buying your first home in 2020? We understand that it might be the biggest purchase you make. Together let’s eliminate some stress from the process with these essential tips from the team at Macdonald Realty.

Buying your first home with Macdonald Realty

Macdonald Realty’s Real Estate Agents


1. Asses your financial situation

  • Credit:

This is a critical first step in the home-buying process. You don’t want to start house-hunting and fall for a home you can’t afford. Understanding your credit score is important not only because you will want to make sure it is accurate and free of errors as it will be checked before getting your mortgage approved.

What else is important to be considered? Two other crucial factors are income and, of course, your down payment.

  • Income:

Most mortgages are long-term commitments: Keep in mind that you may be making those payments every month for the next 25 years.

Are you expecting a raise soon or changing jobs? You may want to consider if you will have more buying power in a few short months and wait the grace period for getting approved after you move.

Are you self-employed? There are different qualifications needed for different types of income earners, make sure you talk with a mortgage broker on your options.

  • Down Payment:

As a first time home buyer there are some programs to help you increase your down payment which will help your mortgage payments and buying power.

   1. First Time Home Buyers

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive helps people across Canada purchase their first home. The program offers 5 or 10% of the home’s purchase price to put toward a down payment. This addition to your down payment lowers your mortgage carrying costs, making homeownership more affordable.

According to these are a few criteria to determine your eligibility for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive:

  • you have your minimum down payment
  • your total annual qualifying income doesn’t exceed $120,000
  • your total borrowing is no more than 4 times your qualifying income
  • you or your partner are a first-time homebuyer
  • you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or non-permanent resident authorized to work in Canada


   2. Home Buyer’s Plan / RRSPs

The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw from your registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself. If you’re buying with your partner you can contribute $50,000 together from your RRSPs.

2. Get your approval

“Getting pre‑approved for a mortgage before looking at properties gives you a more realistic expectation of what you can afford.” – CREA

According to CREA, a mortgage is a loan, generally used to buy a property. How much you pay depends on how much you borrow (the principal), the loan’s interest rate, and how long you take to pay it back (the amortization period). You can negotiate interest rates and mortgage terms with different lenders.

Assess mortgage products and different types of lenders to see what fits your needs helps you make an informed decision.

  • Types of Mortgages

What type of mortgage is best for you?

   1. Fixed rate mortgages: Your interest rate is locked in for a specified period called a term. Your payments stay the same for the mortgage’s term so you will not pay more if interest rates increase over time.

   2. Variable rate mortgages: Rate of interest you pay may change if rates go up or down.

   3. Conventional mortgages: Require a down payment of 20% or more of the property’s value. You are not required to get mortgage default insurance with a conventional mortgage.

   4. Closed mortgages: The mortgage cannot be paid off early without paying a prepayment charge.

   5. Open mortgages: A mortgage that can be paid off at any time during the term, without having to pay a charge. The interest rate for an open mortgage may be higher than for a closed mortgage with the same term.


3. Determine your down payment amount

Just because the bank approves you for a certain amount doesn’t mean you have to spend it all. Think about what would happen if you lost your job and stay unemployed for three months or if you have any other unexpected financial situations.

Based on CREA’s Homebuyer’s Road Map, you may have to pay penalties if you prepay large portions of your mortgage early or if you break your mortgage due to unforeseen life changes. It is your right to know how lenders calculate prepayment penalties.

“Read your mortgage contract carefully and make sure you understand how penalties will be calculated before you sign.” – CREA

4. Find a real estate agent

If it’s your first time going through the process of buying a home, having a real estate agent by your side is extremely recommended. The agent knows essential information about the current market, fair pricing, neighbourhood amenities and so much more. They are there to guide you through the process and help you make the best decision for you.

The Real Estate Council of BC is the legislated regulatory agency that works to ensure real estate professionals have the skills and knowledge to provide you with a high standard of service.

Real estate professionals have a regulatory requirement to present you with some consumer information before providing services to you. When you become a client, you may be asked to sign a written agreement setting out you and the real estate professional’s responsibilities.

Contact us today to be connected with one of our agents who can help you achieve your goals.

5. Stay positive & open to opportunities

Maybe your first home will most likely look nothing like a multi-million-dollar property, but keep your options open for small renovations or upgrades that could help save money. Don’t concern too much about wallpaper, or lighting fixtures; these are easy to change or update. The things you should be more concerned about are the size and layout of the property, along with the condition of the roof, hot water system and plumbing, etc. — the reason why an inspection is one of the most important recommendations during this process.

6. Found your space, now what?

Buying a house requires a lot of time and effort but we can help you make the home buying process manageable and make the process as easy as possible. There are many things to consider along the process and an agent can help be your guide beyond finding your home. The home buying process is a long map all the way through your possession date!

You can count on Macdonald Realty to help you dream big and help you to make things happen. Visit our website to find more information:



6 Minimalist Holiday Decoration Ideas

6 Minimalist Holiday Decoration Ideas

We’re excited for the most wonderful season of the year! The holidays are around the corner and we know decorating can be fun and challenging if you want to keep your space simple, contemporary or modern.

Whether you’re into winter land décor or prefer the traditional red & greens, we’ve searched Pinterest for five minimalist holiday decoration ideas that everybody will love! Start setting up early a fun, minimalist feeling for celebrations while crafting a cozy atmosphere at your home to get you in the festive spirit.

1. Bring the outdoors inside
String pinecones across a wall to bring a bit of the wintertime inside. Spray a bit of fake snow to make it extra wintery.

2. Trees of all shapes and sizes
Giving the hint or suggestion of a wintery tree will allude to the season, coordinate with your own colour scheme or let your imagination run wild.

Via “Sugar & Cloth

3. Forage for your decor
Decorative branches can be found in some designer store but also at your local park, be sure not to harm the trees. Hang the branch, lay it on your mantel for a forest feeling.

Via “Woods And Weaves”

4. Happiness is simple
You can bring a joyful mood to your home without feeling overwhelmed. Gold ornaments and tiny lights are timeless and will reflect natural shine throughout your home to add that extra sparkle to your decor.

Via “Elle Mixe


Via “Domino


Via “Domino


Via "Maison de Pax"

Via “Maison de Pax

6. Holiday colour palettes
Red and green are the power colour duo of the season. Create beautiful decorations by combining different elements like flowers, leaves and berries.

Via “Shifting Roots

Ready to give your home a glow and festive spirit?
Have fun and happy holidays!

Custom “Modern Farmhouse” in Campbell Valley, Langley, BC

Custom “Modern Farmhouse” in Campbell Valley, Langley, BC

At Macdonald Realty, we’re proud to have a team of talented and experienced real estate agents who sell one of the best luxury listings currently available in the market.

Today we’re featuring a modern and unique farmhouse! This fantastic architectural masterpiece is everything you have imagined as a dream home. Perfectly situated on a private 6.23 acre, this south-facing residence has extraordinary landscape details including a dream kitchen, floor to ceiling solid copper fireplace and more.

Let’s take a tour and see how amazing this property is — listed under $6M by Emily Sandhack.

This cozy living room is the perfect space for lounging by the fireplace – sip a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day while you enjoy the peace and quiet.   Read your favorite book or invite your friends over for a game night. Regardless of what you decide to do, this room surely radiates warmth as you hear the fire burning.

Don’t let another get together pass by as you prepare mom’s lasagna in the kitchen – those days are over! This open concept kitchen allows you to engage in a conversation without burning what’s in the oven. The natural colours of the cabinets with the minimalist décor welcome you as you entertain your family and friends.

Wine not? Never worry about wasting another bottle with this UV-controlled wine cellar.

Step out onto the massive green space and listen to birds chirping in the morning straight from the privacy of your own room.  Embrace nature from every room and enjoy the dazzling sunlight all day long.

Need I say more? A piece of paradise in your own bathtub.

Ready to make this dream home yours?  Click here for additional property details and request a private showing.

Want to see more beautiful homes like this?  Check out today!

5 Incredible Luxury Listings Under $2M Dollars – Marketed by Macdonald Realty Agents

5 Incredible Luxury Listings Under $2M Dollars – Marketed by Macdonald Realty Agents

Macdonald Realty is proud to have been selected for membership in Luxury Portfolio International®, the luxury marketing division of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World™. Membership is awarded solely to brokerages like ours, with significant luxury market share and expertise in buying, selling and marketing high-end properties to today’s global affluent. Today the Luxury Portfolio International represents the largest global network of the most powerful, independent luxury firms.

Backed by Macdonald Realty’s 75 years’ experience in selling luxury real estate, and this partnership with Luxury Portfolio International®, Macdonald agents regularly market some of the most spectacular listings in BC.

Today we’re proud to profile 5 incredible luxury listings under $2 Million Dollars, currently on the market.


40543 Thunderbird Ridge / Squamish, BC, V0N 1T0 / $1,998,000

This spectacular West Coast design home offers incredible ocean and mountain views. This picturesque house offers incredible mountain & ocean views, surrounded by forest. Entirely updated and renovated to a high standard with design by Jamie Martin


Listed by Gena Belanger Personal Real Estate Corporation and Andrew Laurie Personal Real Estate Corporation from Macdonald Realty.

Click here to visit the property website!


2700 Turnbull Road / Qualicum Beach, BC, V9K 2L7 / $1,149,000

Exceptionally beautiful home on a private and peaceful 4.94-acre land. Minutes from Spider Lake and a short drive to Qualicum Beach, this perfect house offers a balance of lawns, carefree perennial gardens, and mature, serene forest with two natural ponds.

Listed by Mercedes Bourgaize from Macdonald Realty.

Click here to visit the property website!


949 Windjammer Road / Bowen Island, BC, V0N 1G2 / $1,149,000

Planned to incorporate the natural landscape into its design, this special Bluewater property is truly one-of-a-kind. The home is balanced across the creek that dissects the property and tumbles through the terraced gardens and meandering pathways, and past the mini orchard – complete with apple, pear, plum, fig and olive trees.

Listed by Frazer Elliott from Macdonald Realty.

Click here to visit the property website!


1700 North End Road / Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 1C6 / $1,450,000

Comfortable custom-built country home on a singular 18-acre property just north of St. Mary Lake. This home sweet home offers a lovely sunny setting, abundant bird & wildlife viewing, + 3400 sf of gracious living space. Land is mostly wetland with some formal gardens and primarily easy-care landscaping.

Listed by Susan De Stein from Macdonald Realty.

Click here to visit the property website!


5345 La Bonne Road / Metchosin, BC, V9C 0A5 / $1,850,000

Created by environmentally conscious owners, the “Eagle’s Perch” is nestled on private 10-acre land in beautiful rural Metchosin. Let the water & mountain views ‘wow’ you as you enter this spectacular property. Enjoy the abundance of natural sunlight and nature with indoor and outdoor living.

Listed by Nathalie Neral from Macdonald Realty Victoria.

Click here to visit the property website!

You can find other incredible properties by visiting the Luxury Portfolio International® website (

Contemporary West Vancouver home designed by Marque Thompson

Contemporary West Vancouver home designed by Marque Thompson

There is no doubt Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The city of West Vancouver is nestled between Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains and offers city, water and mountain views from its many high-end neighbourhoods.

The lower mainland has also developed unique architectural and design styles that benefits from the natural beauty of our environment. Beautiful homes decorate the neighbourhoods and it’s not difficult to find prestigious design projects around town.

Today we’re bringing to the blog, this incredible property – a stunning, custom-built 5 bedroom home designed by Georgie Award Winner Marque Thompson.

Marque is the Principal of Design Marque Consulting Ltd and has won both silver and gold design awards at the Georgie Awards. He has been featured in countless design magazines and has completed more than 1,200 projects from small cottages to multi-million-dollar homes throughout Canada, United States, England and Singapore.

This 2014-built house located at 1418 Haywood Avenue in Ambleside is featured on Luxury Portfolio International® by Jennie Frizzo Personal Real Estate Corporation and Nathalie Frizzo from Macdonald Realty.


This home is situated on a large property with south-facing back gardens and beautiful views of the ocean, city and Stanley Park.  As you walk through the front doors, you’ll find a modern, open-concept space, with 20’ ceilings in the living room.


Contemporary West Vancouver home designed by Marque Thompson

The kitchen is equipped for family dinners and entertaining, featuring Wolf & Sub-Zero appliances.

Contemporary West Vancouver home designed by Marque Thompson

Walkout on to a large covered heated deck, built-in BBQ, & outdoor gas fireplace.  Perfect for entertaining on long summer nights.

Contemporary West Vancouver home designed by Marque Thompson

The private master suite is a romantic escape with a fireplace and large deck from which to enjoy views.

Contemporary West Vancouver home designed by Marque Thompson

Ready to make this dream home yours!  Click here to request a private showing and view more property details.

Want to see more luxury homes?  Search on our website or visit our beautiful properties featured in Luxury Portfolio International®

Luxury Portfolio International



5 Tips to Have a Stress-Free Back to School Routine

5 Tips to Have a Stress-Free Back to School Routine

School bells are buzzing all around the country and families everywhere are getting everything organized to ensure that their kids have a smooth transition from summertime to school time. We all know how crazy the back to school routine can get, so here we have prepared a few tips to help you to develop habits to improve your day-to-day responsibilities.


Create a Morning Routine Schedule

Your family’s back to school morning routine will determine the rest of the day. How to improve your morning to be a productive and pain-free time of day?

–      Define a morning routine schedule with set times and who is responsible for what daily

–      Prepare at night for the next morning: lunch bags, clothes, backpacks, breakfast – anything that can be prepared the night before is one less thing to do during the morning rush.


Plan the Lunch Bags

Think “out of the lunch box” and have your lunches ideas prepared ahead. You can try:

–      Come up your lunch box plan the weekend before. Find great fresh lunch ideas here:

–      Leave the kitchen clean and organized – you will need a lot of space to set out breakfast while packing the lunches and watching the kids.


Create Strategic Places

Sometimes it can be challenging to keep children organized. This is where establishing specific places where everything belongs in your home plays an essential role in your back to school routine.

You can create a homework station, for example, and also some designated spaces to backpacks, papers, projects, forms that need to be signed, etc.

Multifunctional bedroom and workspace interior with bed and desk


Define a Bedtime

Bedtime is a significant part of the school routine. According to the National Sleep Foundation babies, children and teens need significantly more sleep than adults, as we can see in the table below:

Talk to your children about the importance of having a good night of sleep and try to create a comforting schedule for them that allows plenty of time for each step so they don’t feel rushed. Add storytime to create a moment of togetherness. Bedtime is one of the most challenging times for all families, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good and continue to work on it.


Your Ideal Home

As a real estate company, we can come up with lots of ideas about your ideal home, but only one is really essential when you have a school-age child: live as close as possible to your kids’ school.

A home that’s walking distance from your children’s school is a dream, especially for working parents. You can quickly drop off the kids on your way to the office, without having to worry as much about traffic or worry that you’ll be late to your important meeting at work.

Investing in a new home also means investing in a new community, and our team of expert real estate agents can introduce you to everything about the neighborhood you’ll potentially live-in – partner with an agent and find your dream home today.

Start by searching our listings here at – you can also explore the home details – as the example below, the general information, ask the agent to schedule a showing, save to your favourite list of homes, and more.