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Here’s how you can take the stress out of buying your first home

BlueShore Financial's team of expert advisors specializes in turning first-time homebuyers' dreams into reality.
Financial Advisor at BlueShore Financial, Mirena Velikova (Right) meeting with a client. Photo via BlueShore Financial

Outside of starting a family, there is perhaps no bigger leap of faith for a young couple – and it’s even more pronounced for those living in one of the most expensive areas in Canada.

And while contemplating homeownership for the first time can feel daunting, the team at BlueShore Financial specializes in equipping clients with the most accurate, up-to-date information such that informed decisions can rule the day.

And it’s in this area that Mirena Velikova finds her niche. A financial advisor out of BlueShore’s Burnaby branch on Hastings Street, Velikova prides herself on helping young families navigate the many nuances that go into what will be one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

“Being a part of this experience with clients is so exciting and it really strengthens our relationship and bond with our clients,” Velikova says.

Velikova begins this process by developing a comfortable rapport with clients and establishing a baseline of their financial literacy, ensuring that the information she’s providing is understood and retained. Velikova’s detailed note-taking also serves as a fail-safe so that clients can refer back to those conversations after the fact.

From there—budgets, goals and timelines are established, cash flow is examined and Velikova provides any number of BlueShore product lines or financial options that align precisely with where her clients are at in life.

Because there are so many variables involved with home ownership, Velikova also outlines any potential blind spots a client may have. Those who have rented their entire lives may not be aware of all the costs associated with a home: strata fees, the effect of high interest rates, property taxes, mortgage payments, levies or other unanticipated costs.

Financial Advisor at BlueShore Financial, Mirena Velikova (Left). Photo via BlueShore Financial

“I make sure that my clients come up with a number that will cover all of those total costs,” Velikova says. “This really gets them thinking about whether home purchasing in the Lower Mainland is the right thing for them or if they’d prefer a different lifestyle, in which case, renting may be the better option.”

If and when those numbers make sense, Velikova then introduces a handful of options to make that first home purchase a reality, namely through the recently introduced first home saving account (FHSA). Under this plan, first-time homebuyers can save up to $40,000 towards their home purchase without accruing tax. The FHSA carries an annual contribution limit of $8,000 and any unused contributions can be carried forward into the next year, to a maximum of $8,000.

“This is a great plan that has really opened up a lot of doors for many people so they can really accelerate their savings,” Velikova says.

Should clients want to explore other options, Velikova can also educate them on the RRSP home buyers withdrawal, which allows for the withdrawal of up to $35,000 from your RRSP per calendar year. There’s also the option of using insured mortgages, which are insured by a third party such as CMHC and allow for a down payment of less than 20%. An increasingly popular option is family support—whether it’s a gift for a down payment, co-signing a mortgage or co-owning the home.

“It’s very rewarding to see young people get into the market and achieve something that maybe wasn’t going to be an option for them even a couple years ago,” Velikova says.

To learn more about how BlueShore Financial can help you get prepared to buy your first home, visit