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Buying a Home

Savings Plans & Assistance

A number of programs are available to help people with the cost of purchasing a home in Ontario. Two examples are:

  • The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) allows individuals to use some of their retirement savings to buy or build a home.
  • The First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC) assists first-time home buyers with an income tax refund.

Information about programs that assist home buyers is available from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), financial institutions and some real estate companies.


Most people who buy a home must borrow money from a bank or other financial institution. The loan is called a mortgage and is repaid over a lengthy period of time (usually 15 to 35 years). Mortgage payments are generally made once or twice a month. The financial institution that loaned the money charges interest on the overall sum and adds it to the mortgage payments.

Mortgage Insurance

A home buyer who is unable to pay at least 20 per cent of the purchase price is usually required to purchase mortgage loan insurance. The insurance can be obtained from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) (see For More Information links below) or a private company.

A new home buyer may also need mortgage life insurance. This type of insurance ensures that any outstanding mortgage will be reduced or paid off if the borrower dies suddenly.

Property Tax

Kingston home owners pay property taxes twice a year to the city. The first payment is due at the end of February and the second at the end of June. Property taxes help pay for the cost of police and fire services, garbage pickup, elementary and high school education, and many other municipal programs and services.

Lawn Care

It is against the law in Ontario to use chemical pesticides on lawns, gardens, school yards and parks. Property owners can maintain healthy lawns and gardens without chemicals through other means. See For More Information links below.

Snow Removal

Homeowners are encouraged to keep driveways, laneways and sidewalks beside and in front of their homes clear of ice and snow within 24 hours of a major storm.

To assist snow removal crews, parking on city streets is banned from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m. between December 1 and March 31. Residents who continue to park their vehicles on the street during the restricted times will be ticketed and fined.

For More Information

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
Website of the Canadian government housing agency. Includes information on buying, renting, renovating, green housing, mortgage loan insurance and other topics. CMHC can be followed on Twitter and has a large collection on informative videos on YouTube.

Housing for Newcomers
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation guide specifically for newcomers. Explains the ins and outs of renting, buying, renovating, etc. Also available in French, Chinese, Punjabi, Tagalog, Urdu, Spanish, and Arabic.

General Information — Tax Billings
A general description of property taxes, billing dates, property assessment rolls and where to get more information. Includes an Assessment & Tax Levy Lookup Tool.

Tax Assistance and Rebates
A number of programs are available to help certain property owners pay their taxes.

Pesticide Legislation
The Ontario government banned cosmetic pesticides on Earth Day 2009. Includes information about the legislation, pesticides and healthy lawn and garden tips.

Natural Lawn and Pest Control
Tips on how to have a pesticide-free lawn and garden without the use of chemicals.

Are there any incentives or tax breaks for buying a home?
Information on using retirement savings to purchase a home through the federal Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).

Programs and Financial Assistance
A detailed guide to forgivable loans and non-repayable contributions that can be used by seniors, persons with disabilities and low-income families for renovations, repairs, and other housing initiatives. IIncludes online tools and resources, including calculators to calculate payments, debt, and eligibility. Produced by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMCH).

First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC)
Information about a federal program to assist first-time home buyers and people who have disabilities or a relative with disabilities.

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)
Information about a federal plan that allows individuals to use savings to build a home for themselves or a relative with a disability.

City of Kingston: Building Permits
Building permits regulate construction in the community and ensure building standards are met. Includes application forms to construct or demolish a variety of buildings — including decks, pools, and green buildings — and information about heritage permits.

Tips for a Healthy Lawn (Ministry of the Environment)
How to create healthy lawns, manage pests and encourage beneficial insects. Includes tips for natural solutions to common problems.

Tips for a Healthy Garden (Ministry of the Environment)
How to manage pests in gardens and encourage beneficial insects. Includes tips for natural solutions to common problems.

Housing Guides in Many Languages
Guides for newcomers about renting and buying a home in Canada provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Also available in Arabic, Chinese (simplified), Filipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Spanish, and Urdu.

Your Legal Rights
A large resource of general legal information for Ontarians, compiled from hundreds of organizations across Ontario. While the site itself is only available in English, materials are available in multiple languages, including French. Managed by Community Legal Education Ontario.

Garbage Collection & Bag Tags
Information on household garbage collection City of Kingston rules. Includes a list of where to purchase bag tags and a garbage and recycling collection calendar (pickup schedule), also downloadable as a mobile app.

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit (Ontario)
Information about a permanent refundable Ontario tax credit to assist with the cost of permanent home modifications that improve accessibility or help a senior be more functional or mobile at home. It can also be claimed by senior homeowners and tenants, and people who share a home with a senior relative.

Parking Regulations: Violations and Fines — City of Kingston
A list of the most common parking violations. Includes a complete list of violations and associated fines.

Snow Plowing
The City’s of Kingston’s “Winter Control Plan” outlines how the City responds to winter weather to help people, drivers and emergency vehicles move safely and efficiently around Kingston. Includes a general overview on snow plows and snow plow safety and winter parking restrictions, as well as a set of https://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/roads-and-traffic/snow-removal/faqs.

City information on how to deal with wildlife encounters such as bats in your home; dead animals; being bitten or having direct contact with wildlife, bears; and other situations.

Backyard Hens Regulations
City of Kingston rules and registration requirements for keeping backyard hens. Includes information on bird health basics and downloadable application forms.

Green Housing
Information provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to help homeowners understand green building and renovating practices. Details ways to save energy and water — including a series of instructional videos — as well as information on retrofit and financing options.

Municipal Home Ownership Program
A home ownership assistance program for residents of Kingston and the County of Frontenac. Eligible residents can apply for down payment assistance equal to 5 percent of a home’s purchase price (up to a maximum of $13,000). A program fact sheet with the rules and eligibility requirements, and a downloadable application form are both available online.

Climate Action Tool Kit
A City of Kingston resource highlighting actions that people can take to help Kingston reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase our climate resilience. Includes suggestions on how to save energy and be more sustainable both at home and the workplace through food, transportation, and energy choices. General information is also included, as are useful tools to help measure energy use and GHG emissions from a variety of everyday sources. This toolkit was developed as part of the community-built Kingston Climate Action Plan.

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