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How to move fast on your dream home

As more home buyers find creative ways to navigate the BC housing market, competition to find the perfect home is on.

With over 40 years’ experience serving home buyers (like you), BCAA understands the challenges you face in this competitive market. We’re here to help you secure and protect your perfect pad.

Whether you’re purchasing for the first time, or moving to your dream home, here’s how to prepare for home-buying success.

Before you go home hunting

  • Prepare your finances: Time to get your financing ready and ensure it’s accessible. Start by pulling together your down payment. A 5% down payment is the bare minimum in Canada, while a 20% down payment means you avoid paying mortgage default insurance. In addition to First Home Savings Accounts (which are offered by most banks) and RRSPs, here are a few home buying programs and incentives to help your down payment grow.
  • Get a mortgage pre-approval: A pre-approval from a lender lets you know the details of your financing before you choose a home. You’ll know your interest rate and you can lock it in for a set period (usually 90 to 120 days). Knowing how much you can spend takes the guess work away from what you can afford and gives you peace of mind you’re not over-spending. Check out this advice from the federal government on how to get pre-approved.
  • Calculate closing costs: Use a separate bank account for your closing costs to more easily manage these funds, like legal fees, adjustment fees and property transfer tax, to name a few. To help you estimate your total costs, here’s a helpful closing cost calculator for home buyers.
  • Make a wish list: Create a list of non-negotiables and 'nice-to-haves' for your dream home. Here’s a house-hunting wish list that helps you write down your needs vs wants, what you really don’t want and your location priorities.
  • Team up with a realtor: Find a realtor you really connect with. They are crucial in helping you find homes that fit your wish list, negotiate prices and complete the paperwork. Here’s how to choose a realtor when buying your first home.
  • Research the market: Investigate similar homes and prices to understand what you can afford. Your realtor will tell you what similar homes sold for nearby.
  • Advice for first-time buyers: Your first dip into the housing market? Follow our helpful advice for first-time home buyers.

Kelowna landscape at dusk. Two condo buildings sit at the edge of the water. The far riverbank is visible behind them.

Be ready to make a move

It’s important to make sure all your paperwork is in order so you can hit the ground running when you find your perfect place. You don’t want to stall and risk missing out on your future home. You’ll want to have:

  • Mortgage documents: These include your government ID, proof of income, basic financial information, proof of down payment and property details from the listing’s ‘feature sheet’, including square footage, taxes and strata fees.
  • Prepare your offer: Decide on conditions for your offer and suggest a target closing date. An offer always includes the purchase price, terms and conditions, deposit amount, payment dates and closing date.
  • Personalized letter: You can stand out from the competition by writing a personalized letter to the seller about how much you love the home. Have a template you can quickly customize once you’ve found your dream home.
  • Look at your deal with an expert: Your realtor will assist with putting an offer together, share advice and answer any questions you have. If there's anything additional that needs clearing up, consider checking in with a real estate lawyer.

Financial advisor shaking hands with customer in the living room at home

The value of home insurance and why you should budget for it

We live in BC for its beauty. But living near the mountains, sea, in the freezing north or in hot and dry wine country exposes homes to weather and unexpected events that impact insurance coverages. For example, Vancouver Island is more at risk of earthquakes, while the Fraser Valley and Thompson-Nicola Valley are prone to flooding, and there are optional insurance coverage add-ons for eligible properties that offer protection against these events.

Wildfires evoke increasing concern for BC homeowners too, especially in the Okanagan region, so fire and smoke coverage is a key feature on all of our home insurance policies – just be sure to secure your coverage before the unexpected happens.

When you’re thinking of buying property, you need to understand its risk of flood, earthquake and wildfire to decide if you truly want to live there. Then you need to know if you can get insurance coverage. To avoid buying a home that potentially can’t be covered, you can add a purchase condition that the sale is ‘subject to insurance’.

Waterfront townscape, Sooke, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Offer accepted? Time to secure your new home

Here at BCAA, we love protecting homes and the people who love them. You'll need to secure a home insurance with a provider you can count on to close the deal, smoothly. Over a one-year period, BCAA paid out 95% of claims related to fire, water, weather and theft.* That’s why you can count on BCAA Home Insurance, as it’s is built for life in British Columbia. 

Your lawyer and bank or credit union will require proof of insurance (also known as a binder of insurance) to process the sale. BCAA is happy to give this to you at the request of your lawyer or notary.

Make sure your insurance policy start date matches the 'Completion of Settlement' date (when the money changes hands) for the property as opposed to the possession date. This ensures that the ownership transfer goes smoothly and your new home is covered in the rare occasion something goes awry between settlement and possession.

Real Estate Agent shakes hand with young couple carrying child at front door of a home.

You’ll save on home insurance with BCAA

There are so many ways to save on BCAA Home Insurance from BC’s Most Trusted Insurance Brand**. Save 5% when you buy online. BCAA Members automatically save 10% on BCAA Home Insurance***. Plus, you’ll save an extra 1% (up to 10%) for every consecutive year you’ve had your home insurance with us.

Don’t wait until the housing market is too hot to make a fast move. Get started on a quote for your next dream home at

Good luck and happy home hunting!


Home Insurance is sold through B.C.A.A. Holdings Ltd. dba BCAA Insurance Agency, a licensed insurance agency, and underwritten by BCAA Insurance Corporation.

*From 2019 to 2020, BCAA paid out on average 95% of home insurance claims related to fire, water, weather and theft. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

**BCAA, in association with CAA, was ranked the #1 Most Trusted Insurance Brand in Canada by the 2022 Gustavson Brand Trust Index.

***BCAA Member savings on insurance products are only available with Basic, Plus, or Premier Membership plans. For full details, please visit