First-time home buyers can tap their RRSPs to help with a home purchase

Thinking about buying your first home? Wish you had saved up a good down payment? Maybe you have, but didn't know it. Designed to help first-time buyers get into home ownership, the federal Home Buyers' Program lets you access tax-free monies for use towards the purchase or even construction of your first home.


Why tap into your RRSP? The most common reason is to boost the down payment on a home. The bigger your down payment, after all, the smaller your mortgage. And you may qualify for better interest rates too; your healthy down payment shows the lender that you are a low-risk candidate for a mortgage loan.


Here's how it works. If you've been contributing to an RRSP, then you already know that the program is designed to set aside money for retirement, with the money going into the program tax-free (paying taxes on the funds when they're withdrawn later). But there are some valid reasons why you may want to access these funds earlier. A home purchase may be one of them. As a first-time home buyer, you are allowed to withdraw money tax-free, provided you adhere to the repayment plan. (Just make sure, of course, that your RRSP is not a locked-in plan.) You can withdraw up to $25,000 from your plan. If your spouse qualifies as a first-time home buyer, then he or she will also be able to withdraw $25,000. Between the two of you, you could possibly have a hefty down payment sum of $50,0000. That's enough to make a substantial difference in the affordability of home ownership!

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