BUYER GUIDE: COSTS OF BUYING A HOME

Alright you’ve committed to buying your first home and you’re working with a mortgage specialist to find out how much you can afford based on your income, assets, credit score, etc. That’s AWESOME! You’re off to a great start but what other expenses should you be aware of other than your mortgage payments?  Rather than waiting to discover all the closing costs when you’re signing papers at the lawyer or notary’s office, be prepared and find out what all the costs of buying a home are before you start your search.


1. PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX

This is a big one for most first time home buyers as it can be anywhere up to $7500.00 depending on your purchase price. This is a one-time tax payment to the Ministry of Finance that involve a change of ownership. The good news is that there are many different types of property transfer tax exemptions available to First-time Home Buyers or New .  To find out whether you qualify for an exemptions, click here; otherwise, for a quick calculation, check out our popular Property Transfer Tax calculator.

PTT Calculation Breakdown

  1. 1% of the first $200,000 of your purchase price
  2. 2% on the portion of the purchase price greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000
  3. 3% on the portion of the purchase price greater than $2,000,000; and
  4. A further 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3,000,000
  5. A further 20% of the total fair market value of the property (if you’re a foreigner)

2. GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

This only applies to presale or brand new homes purchased directly from the builder/developer and is calculated based on 5% of the agreed purchase. If you don’t plan to buy a presale or brand new home, then you can ignore this one. However, if you are buying a presale, be sure you have sufficient funds to cover for this tax amount.

DID YOU KNOW?

If you buy a pre-sale or brand new home, you may be qualified to receive a new housing rebate of up to $6500? It’s true!  Call 604 307-9506 to see if you qualify for the new housing rebate. For a quick calculation, check out our popular GST Rebate Calculator!


3. PROPERTY TAX (Varies)

Many our first time home buyers clients especially those new to Canada often confuse Property tax with Property Transfer Tax; however, it’s important to know that they are not the same. Unlike Property Transfer Tax that is paid at the completion of a purchase to the Ministry of Finance, property tax is paid to the municipality on an annual basis. This helps pay towards various services within the municipality such as  maintenance of parks and recreation facilities, school programs, garbage and recycling services, etc. Annual tax  amount is pro-rated between the seller and the buyer owns the property over a calendar year. For example, if the adjustment date* on a contract is July 15th, the seller is responsible for property taxes from January 1s and July 14th and the purchaser would be responsible from July 15 to December 31st

DID YOU KNOW?

if you are buying a property as your principal home that you may be qualified for a home owner grant of up to $875.00? To find out whether you would qualify for any homeowner grants…


4. LEGAL FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS

Legal fees are fees paid to your lawyer or notary to act on your behalf with respect to your purchase at the Land Title Office.  Just like you need a realtor to represent you during the negotiation, you also need a lawyer or notary to ensure that there are no outstanding liens or encumbrances from other parties and that you become the legal owner of the purchased property. Legal fees can range anywhere from $750 to $950 and do not include disbursements such as land title search, registration fees, Form B documents, title insurance, insurance certificate and so on. So, if you’re in the process of getting a quote from a lawyer or notary, be sure to ask whether the quote include disbursements or simply ask your Realtor to provide his or her recommendations.  For the purpose of this blog, we recommend putting aside anywhere between $1500 to $2000 for a residential purchase.

5. INSPECTION FEES

While we always recommend to hire a professional inspector regardless of whether it is brand new, it’s even more important to have an inspection when you are buying a resale home as they may not be covered under the 2-5-10 warranty. Hiring a professional inspector ensures that you are fully informed of all deficiencies of the home including the ones that may not be visible to the naked eye. Some inspectors also highlight the positive aspects of the home which helps you make a fully informed decision of your purchase. The cost of an inspection for a condo can range from $300 to $400 depending on the size of the condo while the cost of an inspection for a house can range from $400 to $600.

6. MAINTENANCE FEES (Variable costs of buying a home)

Maintenance fees  commonly known as strata fees represents the owner’s share of the common expenses within a building .  This usually includes management fees, gas, hot water, garbage collection, recycling and may include lease payments if the property is a non-prepaid leasehold* This fee depends on various factors such as size, age, property type, etc; however, most properties have strata fees that typically as low as $75 to $400 per month. While this is not a big expense compared to the other closing costs, its important to know that you will be expected to pay the first month of your purchase at the completion of your purchase.

7. COST OF BICYCLE / STORAGE LOCKER

Most condo pre-sales are known to include the cost of at least one bike/storage locker in the purchase price. However, there are some developers that may charge extra fees for those who want an additional bike/storage locker. Due to the limited number of bike/storage lockers in a building, the cost of a bike/storage locker may range anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per locker

In the case of resale properties where you’re buying from another homeowner, there are no extra fees involved as it is included in the purchase price. 

8. COST OF PARKING STALL

Most condo presales are known to include the cost of at least one parking stall in the purchase price. However, there are some developers that may charge extra fees for those who want an additional parking stall. Due to the high demand for parking stalls, and the limited number of parking stalls available especially in downtown, the cost of a parking stall can range anywhere from $10,000 up to $25,000 or even $50,000 per stall.

In the case of resale properties that come with one or more parking stalls, there are usually no extra fees involved as it is included in the purchase price. For those resale properties that do not have a parking stall, it is possible to rent a parking stall for a monthly fee.

9. OTHER COSTS

Please keep in mind that the blog above only covers the common costs of buying a home and that there may be other costs of buying a home that vary with any particular purchase. Examples include: pro-rated utilities, home owner title Insurance, appraisal fees, costs of Form F or other certificates, fire insurance certificates required by lender, etc.


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