Buying a Home –
What expenses should you expect to pay?
Whether you are a first time home-buyer or a seasoned real estate investor, buying a home is an exciting time! There are so many wheels in motion throughout the entire transaction, and along with that process comes several expenses. Below, we have listed the most common expenses you can expect to pay when completing on a real estate purchase.
Many lenders include the cost of the appraisal in the overall mortgage amount, and the average cost is about $250. However, sometimes a lender will require that we order an appraisal on your behalf, in which case you would pay that amount directly. Every situation is different, and we will always keep you informed.
Prior to closing on your purchase, you will need to ensure you have property insurance in place. As with other types of insurance, you can choose to either pay the full year up front or make monthly payments. Its always a good idea to get a few quotes, as insurance rates can vary.
When you purchase a home, the sale transaction must be completed by a lawyer or notary. If you need a recommendation we are always happy to provide one, however if you already have a solicitor in mind be sure to provide their contact information to us and your Realtor.
Legal fees average around $1000. Sometimes a little less, and sometimes a little more. Check with your lawyer or notary for details.
Typically when a buyer makes an offer to a seller, they include a condition in the contract that allows them to obtain the services of a Professional Property Inspector to complete a full inspection of the property. This is not a requirement of all contracts, but most buyers want to do their due diligence and ensure that there won’t be any surprises down the road. A property inspection usually takes a few hours, and the cost averages about $400 (in the Victoria area.) Your Realtor should be able to recommend some trusted Property Inspectors.
In addition to a traditional property inspection, you may also need to schedule (& budget for) other more specific inspections depending on the property itself. Some other types of inspections include:
- Septic Inspection – for properties with a septic system
- WETT Inspection – which stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer, includes a thorough inspection of all wood burning appliances such as stoves and open fireplaces, by a certified WETT inspector
- Water testing – for properties on a well
Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
In British Columbia, when you purchase or gain an interest in property that is registered at the Land Title Office, you’re responsible for paying property transfer tax.
The property transfer tax rate is:
- 1% on the first $200,000,
- 2% on the portion of value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000,
- 3% on the portion of value greater than $2,000,000, and
- If the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion of value greater than $3,000,000
There are some exemptions to paying PTT, for instance under the First Time Homebuyers’ Program if you’re purchasing your first home you may qualify to reduce or eliminate the amount of property transfer tax you pay. For a detailed list of exemptions and more information about Property Transfer Tax, you can visit the Government of British Columbia’s website here.
When you sign the closing documents with your lawyer or notary, they will have prepared a Statement of Adjustments. Depending on the closing date and where it falls within the year, you may owe the seller a portion of the year’s property taxes. Some other expenses that may be payable on the statement of adjustments include:
- rental deposit (for properties involving a tenant)
- utilities (such as municipal water & sewer)
- fuel (for oil or propane tanks)
- portion of strata fees (for strata properties)
Miscellaneous Expenses After Possession
Moving to a new property often comes with a few other expenses you may need to budget for, including:
- Utility hookups
- Re-keying locks
- Strata Move-in Fee – most strata corporations have a move-in/move-out fee of anywhere between $100 to $200 on average
- Professional cleaning (if the previous owners did not have carpets, etc. cleaned)
If you ever have any questions, we are here to help! We have tons of great industry contacts and will be happy to help make recommendations to trusted Professionals.