Calgary First-Time Homebuyer Guide

Buying your first home in Calgary can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. As a first-time homebuyer, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the process and work with a trusted professional to guide you through it. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about buying your first home in Calgary.

Why Calgary is a Great Place for First-Time Homebuyers

Calgary is an attractive city for first-time homebuyers due to its strong economy, affordable housing market, and high quality of life. According to CREA's statistics for the first quarter of 2024, the median sale price for single detached homes in Calgary was $688,500 which makes it relatively affordable compared to other major Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

Calgary also offers a diverse range of neighbourhoods and housing options, from condos and townhouses to single-family homes. Whether you're looking for an urban lifestyle or a quiet suburban setting, Calgary has something for everyone.

Steps to Buying Your First Home in Calgary

  1. Determine Your Budget

Before you start house hunting, it's crucial to determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Consider factors such as your income, debt, and savings. As a general rule of thumb, your monthly housing costs (including mortgage payments, property taxes, and utilities) should not exceed 30% of your gross monthly income.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage in Calgary is a crucial first step towards buying your dream home. Here's a breakdown of the process:

  1. Gather Your Documents:
  • Proof of income: Paystubs for the past 2-3 months, employment letter (if applicable).
  • Proof of assets: Bank statements, investment statements, RRSP/TFSA statements.
  • Proof of down payment: Savings account statements, and investment account statements demonstrating the down payment amount.
  • Identification: Government-issued photo ID (driver's license, passport).
  1. Choose Your Lender:
  • Banks: Major banks like TD, RBC, and Scotiabank offer mortgages with competitive rates and stability.
  • Credit Unions: Credit unions can offer lower rates and more personalized service.
  • Mortgage Brokers: Brokers can compare rates and terms from multiple lenders to find you the best deal.
  1. Submit a Pre-Approval Application:
  • Many lenders offer online pre-approval applications, or you can visit a branch in person.
  • Provide your basic information, income details, and desired loan amount.
  • The lender will conduct a credit check and verify your documents.
  1. Pre-Approval Process:
  • The lender will assess your financial situation, including income, debts, credit score, and employment history.
  • Based on this assessment, they will provide a pre-approval letter outlining the maximum mortgage amount you qualify for.
  • The pre-approval letter is typically valid for 3-6 months.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a clear idea of how much you can borrow and help you narrow down your search for homes within your budget. It's important to shop around and compare rates from different lenders to find the best mortgage option for you.

3. Find a Top Realtor in Calgary

 Working with a knowledgeable and experienced realtor can make a significant difference in your home-buying experience. A top realtor in Calgary will have in-depth knowledge of the local housing market, negotiate on your behalf, and guide you through every step of the process.

4. Start House Hunting

With your budget and pre-approval in hand, it's time to start looking for your dream home. Your realtor will help you find properties that meet your criteria and schedule viewings. It's essential to keep an open mind and be willing to compromise on certain features or locations to find a home that fits your budget.

5. Make an Offer

Once you've found a home you love, it's time to make an offer. Your realtor will help you determine a fair offer price based on market conditions and comparable properties in the area. They will also handle the negotiations with the seller's agent on your behalf.

6. Home Inspection and Closing

Before finalizing the purchase, it's crucial to have a professional home inspection to identify any potential issues with the property. Your realtor will also help you navigate the closing process, which includes signing the final paperwork and transferring the funds to complete the purchase.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers in Calgary

  1. Don't Overspend

It's easy to get carried away when buying your first home, but it's essential to stick to your budget. Remember that homeownership comes with additional costs, such as property taxes, maintenance, and repairs.

  1. Consider Resale Value

When choosing a home, consider its potential resale value. Look for properties in desirable neighbourhoods with good schools, amenities, and transportation options.

  1. Think Long-Term

Buying a home is a long-term commitment, so it's important to think about your future plans. Consider factors such as your career, family, and lifestyle when choosing a home that will meet your needs for years to come.

  1. Work with a Top Real Estate Agent in Calgary

Partnering with a top real estate agent in Calgary who specializes in working with first-time homebuyers can make the process much smoother and less stressful. They can provide valuable advice, answer your questions, and help you make informed decisions throughout the buying process.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much do I need for a down payment?

In Canada, the minimum down payment required is 5% for homes priced under $500,000. For homes priced between $500,000 and $999,999, you'll need a minimum of 5% down on the first $500,000 and 10% on the remaining amount. For homes priced at $1 million or more, a 20% down payment is required.

  1. What are the closing costs associated with buying a home in Calgary?

Closing costs are expenses above and beyond the purchase price of the home. These can include legal fees, land transfer taxes, home inspection fees, and mortgage appraisal fees. As a general rule, budget for around 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price for closing costs.

  1. How long does the home buying process typically take in Calgary?

The timeline for buying a home in Calgary can vary depending on factors such as market conditions, financing, and the complexity of the transaction. On average, the process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months from start to finish.


Buying your first home in Calgary can be a complex and emotional process, but with the right preparation and guidance, it can also be a rewarding and exciting experience. It’s important to understand the steps involved, work with a trusted Top Luxury Real Estate agent in Calgary, and stay within your budget. This way, you can successfully navigate the home-buying process and find the perfect home to start your new chapter.

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