First Time Buyers

Buying a home is an exciting adventure and one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It can also be somewhat overwhelming and daunting. This is where we come in. We have helped people buy homes for over 25 years—and we love it!  

One of our passions is to provide clear communication and information so you feel well-prepared. We will walk alongside you on this journey, giving guidance every step of the way. From discovering what you can afford, to finding the perfect home, negotiating on your behalf, to coordinating all of the people that will help us finalize your sale, and get you moved into your home—we’re there to help you!

We value providing excellent, professional, and informative service to our clients.  Buying a home is a process that can run smoothly when you have professionals navigating the process with and for you. Our guide to buying includes answers to questions like:

  • Where do we start?
  • What are our options?
  • How can the SW Properties Team help us find what we’re looking for?
  • What does it really cost to buy a home?
  • What about all the logistics?

We’re looking forward to helping you with your home-purchasing journey.

First Time Buyers FAQ

Is there really a difference between renting and owning?

Real Estate is a great investment. And with increasing housing prices, it’s all the more important for first-time buyers to get a foot on the first rung of the property ownership ladder. One hundred percent of rent paid goes to paying off your landlord’s mortgage. Building your equity is smart for your future, and is less risky than many other types of investments. Property values in Canada have had some ups and downs, but overall, property values keep increasing. Real estate increases in value over time. How many of you have heard a grandparent say: “I bought my first home for $18,000!”

How do I know what I can afford?

Great question! We have several trusted mortgage brokers that we work with, who will sit with you, go through your financial history and current situation, and explain the process of qualifying for a mortgage. They have access to many banks, credit unions, and lending institutions and will find the best fit for your situation. A mortgage broker can cater a mortgage to your unique needs.

<LINK: 02.6 Businesses We Trust | Mortgage Broker Section>

What can Shawn, as a licensed agent, offer me that I can’t do on my own?

He’s a trained professional! We’re guessing you wouldn’t pull out one of your own teeth just because you have access to a pair of pliers! We spend time listening to you, to understand what you need, and even what you dream about in a home. We put your search parameters into our matrix system which accesses all listings on the MLS (multiple listing system). This tool is only available to licensed realtors. This means you receive information on new listings that fit within your search parameters the minute they become active on the market. This happens 24-48 hours before you will see those listings on any public websites (like  This gives you an advantage over those not working with a realtor, which can mean everything in a fast-paced market like Kelowna is experiencing. We are also intimately familiar with all the in’s and out’s of buying a home. We have years of experience. Shawn is a certified negotiation expert, and will go to bat for you. He knows real estate law, and knows how to write effective contracts that promote and protect your interests. We problem solve, deal with paperwork, set up home inspectors, do the conveyancing, and handle deposits along with a million other small details. When the unexpected happens, you can be sure you are covered and protected by our professional expertise. Shawn knows the questions that need to be asked, can offer advice, and can help you avoid costly mistakes that have big ramifications. 25 years of experience is at your service!

What does it cost me to work with the SWP Team to buy a home?

As a buyer, we work with you for free! Our commissions are entirely paid by the seller of the home you buy. This is standard industry practice. We only get paid if we do our job and find you a home, putting the deal together from start to finish.   We’ll even get you a latte to enjoy as we go out house shopping.

What are the other costs to buying a house?

There are other costs in purchasing a home besides the price of the house itself. Our buyer’s guide breaks down these costs for you so that you can make an informed decision on the timing of buying your first home.

<LINK: Buyer’s Guide>

How much do I need for a downpayment?

A down payment is the amount of money of the purchase price that you pay upon closing. A prescribed minimum down payment (e.g. 5% – 20%) may be required to obtain a mortgage. It can be to your advantage to put down as much money as possible because lower interest costs over the life of a smaller mortgage can add up to significant savings. That being said, waiting to save more down payment and delaying your purchase can result in a higher purchase price, so it’s always important to consider all alternatives.

  • For homes with a purchase price less than or equal to $500,000 the minimum down payment is 5%.
  • For homes with a purchase price greater than $500,000 and less than $1 million, the minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000 plus 10% of the remaining balance.
  • For homes with a purchase price of $1 million or more, the minimum down payment is 20%.

The down payment amount (plus legal fees and closing costs, unless any deposit is paid prior) is to be included in the cheque given to the lawyer at time of closing. All major banks/institutions will verify your down payment by way of a 90 day history. The funds must have been in your account or accumulated “normally” during that time, with any large “unusual” deposits required to have source of funds (i.e. tax refund, asset sold, etc.).

CTA: Buyer’s Guide 101