Hidden Costs of Buying A Home

So you’re buying a home?!  Congratulations!!  To make sure you don’t get blindsided by those sneaky closing costs, read on…

Required Fees:

Deposits: Have about 5% of the purchase price available in cash.  Amounts may vary but this is a good rule of thumb.  The deposit is typically taken at the time you remove your subjects and is usually placed in a real estate brokerage’s trust account.  The deposit forms part of your downpayment will be applied to your purchase price.

Legal fee: A lawyer or notary prepares all the documentation to transfer the legal title of property from one person to another.  This is called conveyancing.  For straightforward transactions you’ll pay a notary or lawyer between  $600.00-$1200.00.

Property Transfer Tax:This is a  tax payable under the Property Transfer Tax Act on the transfer of an interest in real property by the person acquiring the interest..and it’s nasty!! You’re looking at a cost of 1% on the first $200,000.00 and 2% on the balance of the purchase price so it can get pretty expensive.  Is there any way to avoid it?  Yes, there is…but only if you’ve never owned property in your name anywhere in Canada.  There are certain other criteria too such as purchasing a home under $475,000.00.  For more information please visit:

Potential Fees:

Mortgage Application Fee:  This varies from lender to lender and some don’t charge it at all.

Mortgage Default Insurance:  Commonly referred to as CMHC insurance, this is mandatory in Canada for down payments between 5% (the minimum in Canada) and 19.99%. Mortgage default insurance protects lenders, in the event a borrower ever stopped making payments and defaulted on their mortgage loan.   How can you avoid having to buy this insurance?  Save a little longer to scrape together at least 20% down—it will save you thousands of dollars and will take years off your mortgage!

Sales Tax: This applies only to newly built homes.  If the home is previously owned —commonly called a ‘resale’—then this tax does not apply.   For new builds, you are looking at a cost of 5% GST plus 2% transitional tax depending on when the construction was completed.  Is there a rebate?  Why yes, there is….and here’s a great calculator to help you figure out what that may be:

Home Inspection: Likely your realtor has discussed the merits of having a home inspection done on the property you’re purchasing—it’s just a smart thing to do!  You wouldn’t buy a car without kicking the tires and looking under the hood, right?  So, don’t buy a house without having a qualified inspector go through it.  The cost?  About $500.00-$700.00…but well worth the money.

Appraisal: You've found your dream home. The asking price is $500,000.00 -- an amount you've already been pre-approved for by your bank, but is the home really worth that amount? That's the question at the heart of the home appraisal. The worth, or value of the property, will determine how much a lender is willing to give you to buy that particular piece of real estate.  If your lender orders an appraisal to be done the cost will be about $300.00.

Moving expenses:  Are you packing up yourself and renting a U-haul? Or are you hiring a moving company to do the work for you?  Remember to factor these costs in.  Also, if you’re moving into a strata unit (townhouse, condo, duplex etc) then there may be move in/move out fees as well.  Information about strata move in/move out fees can usually be found in the strata bylaws.

So now you’re in your new home, who else wants access to your wallet?  Well, don’t forget about home insurance, utilities, strata fees, property tax, and the regular upkeep and maintenance to your home.

Don’t be discouraged by the costs…be smart, be informed, and be ready!  Congratulations once again on your new home, and don’t worry, your wallet will recover…:)


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