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Many first-time home buyers use their RRSP savings to help finance a down payment. With the federal government's Home Buyer's Plan, you can use up to $25,000 in RRSP savings ($50,000 for a couple) to help make the down payment on your first home. You then have 15 years to repay your RRSP.
To qualify, the RRSP funds you're using must be on deposit for at least 90 days. You'll also need a signed agreement to buy a qualifying home.
Even if you have already saved for your down payment, it could make sense to access your savings through the Home Buyer's Plan. For example, if you had already saved $25,000 for a down payment—and assuming you still had enough “contribution room” in your RRSP for a contribution of that amount, you could move your savings into a registered investment at least 90 days before your closing date. Then, simply withdraw the money through the Home Buyer's Plan.
The advantage? Your $25,000 RRSP contribution will count as a tax deduction this year. Use any tax refund you receive to repay the RRSP or other expenses related to buying your home.
While using your RRSP for a down payment may help you buy a home sooner, it can also mean missing out on some tax-sheltered investment growth. Be sure to ask your financial planner whether this strategy makes sense based on your personal financial situation.