Cost of Buying a House in BC: Everything You Need to Know

(January 24, 2018 )

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Cost of Buying a House in BC: Everything You Need to Know
Confused about closing costs? If you’re wondering what the cost of buying a house in BC is, here’s our list of the top expenses every buyer should consider before, upon, and after the completion date to make sure you have enough money in your pocket for a rainy day.
What You Need to Pay For Before Closing/Before the Subject Removal Date                    Deposit – this is usually 5% of the purchase price in Greater Vancouver, paid either upon or within 24 hours of your offer being accepted depending on how the contract is structured. It should be made out to the buyer’s agent’s brokerage in trust, and will be held until closing. This deposit will form a part of your down payment. For more details on deposits and when they need to be handed in.              Property Appraisal – $300-$450 plus GST, often paid by the lender.             Home Inspection – $300-$600, paid to the home inspection company at the time of the inspection – expense borne by the buyer. In some cases, the seller may have had a pre-inspection done. In other cases, you may choose to waive the inspection clause altogether.
What You Need to Pay For On Closing
        The balance of the Purchase Price – The purchase price less your initial deposit/down. Usually, the bulk will come from your lender and become your mortgage.             Legal Fees – amount varies depending on purchase price and lawyer/notary. This should also include acts such as ordering a title search and registering title. It is safe to estimate about $1000-$1500.            Title Insurance – sometimes included in your legal fees ($250-$400).            Mortgage Broker Commission – if applicable, usually paid by the lender.            Strata documents – usually included in the legal fees and ordered by the listing agent or the property.            Property Survey – lenders may require a survey of the property, which ranges from $500 upwards + GST. This is not required on strata properties.         Home/Fire Insurance – Lenders typically require home buyers with a mortgage to buy home insurance. The insurance should be effective on the earlier of either the completion date or the date that the balance of funds is placed in trust. Most lenders require property buyers to carry fire and extended coverage insurance and liability insurance.            Property Transfer Tax (PTT) – Charged on the fair market value of a property at a rate of 1% on the 1st 200K/2% on the balance up to and including $2,000,000 and 3% on the balance greater than $2,000,000. If you are a first time home buyer you may be exempt from this fully if your purchase is less than $475,000.             Partial exemptions apply for a purchase price above $500,000.                      Foreign Ownership PTT – an additional 15% of the fair market value is charged if your title is transferred to a foreign entity.             Property Tax Adjustment – Generally, property taxes are paid on July 1st for a full calendar year. If your move in date is post July 1, you will likely have to provide a reimbursement to Seller of property taxes they paid beyond the closing date. However, this can also be a credited amount back to the buyer depending on the move-in date and whether or not the seller paid the taxes prior to the due date.            GST – generally only applicable on new construction condos and houses. Keep in mind you will also have to pay this on services (i.e. legal services, appraisals) If you are a first time home buyer purchasing a new build, A GST rebate equivalent to 36% of the 5% GST paid is available for new homes priced up to $350,000 and a partial rebate on new homes priced up to $450,000. For more information on GST and when you need to pay it, read this blog post: Gross Services Tax (GST) in Real Estate             Adjustments for Rentals and Security deposits – If the home has a rental portion, or you are taking over a rental, the security deposit should be credited to the buyer from the seller. Additionally, if the move in date is past the monthly rental payment date, the seller should credit the buyer for a portion of that month’s rent.            Adjustments for Utilities/Condo Fees/etc. – Reimbursement to Seller for prepaid utilities, water fees, strata maintenance fee, etc. (amount varies)             CMHC Insurance Premium – Insurance premium charged if you have less than 20% down payment. It is common for the mortgage broker to include this in your monthly payment.
What You Need to Pay For After Closing Moving Expenses ($1,000+) New locks (varies depending on how many) Household Goods (varies) Utility Connection Charges (varies) Redecorating and Renovating Costs (varies) Immediate Repair and Maintenance Costs (varies)—Your lawyer or notary will also prepare a statement of adjustments for you prior to the completion date so that you can review your debits and credits, and see a final amount of what’s owing. Estimating the cost of buying a house is an important step to determining what you can afford, and ultimately how to avoid being stretched too thin.