Buying a Home in Canada? Prepare For These 10 Hidden Costs
Buying a house is exciting - and stressful. When it comes to purchasing your new home, it’s important to be realistic about what you can expect to pay. Beyond mortgage and insurance, there are additional costs all new homeowners need to factor into their buying budget. Make yourself aware of the different methods for saving money when purchasing a home. Then, consider these 10 hidden costs we believe every new homebuyer should be aware of when it comes to purchasing their next home.
Cost #1: Property Taxes
Some lenders may roll your property taxes in with your mortgage, meaning they can be easy to forget about. But, you still need to account for them in your budget. Property taxes may be of little concern in some areas, and a huge expense in others. Do some digging into what you can expect to pay when moving to a new area - as this could be a deciding factor when relocating.
In some cases, property owners may pay different property taxes every four years, depending on the market value of their home. You’re responsible for paying the difference in taxes if your home does change value.
Cost #2: Closing Costs
Closing costs include a wide range of fees that are paid at the end of a real estate transaction. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, you can expect to pay fees including:
- Appraisal fees
- Lawyer fees
- Property Insurance
- Title Insurance
- Surveyance Fee
- GST Fee
- Estoppel Certificate
Make sure to ask your realtor to go over what will be included in the closing costs to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Cost #3: Earnest Money
Almost like a security deposit, earnest money is what you put down upfront before even filling out paperwork - it's meant to prove your seriousness in purchasing the property. If you end up backing out of the deal, there’s a chance you may not get that money back. This should be clear in any contract you sign.
Earnest money is typically a small percentage of the property's overall value.
Cost #4: Paying for the Escrow
It’s common that buyers will be asked to pay for their property taxes and insurance through an escrow account. Some lenders will require that extra money remains in the account, making escrow an important part of the homebuying budget.
Cost #5: Homeowner’s Insurance
Though Homeowners are not legally required to have homeowners insurance, it is certainly beneficial when faced with property damages.1 Though you may choose to forego it, It’s important to remember the option is there - and that there’s a possibility it could go up or down depending on your coverage needs.
Cost #6: School Taxes
School taxes will differ depending on the Municipality. If you have school-age children, you may be happy to pay more in school taxes if it means a quality education for them. If you do not have children in or heading to school, you may want to pay close attention to what school taxes you will be expected to pay. Depending on the area, it could vary quite a bit from district to district. This may be a factor in determining where you’re willing to move.
Cost #7: Interest Rates
Interest rates are almost always unavoidable. But remember, having a good credit rating will likely result in a lower interest rate - which could save you big over time.
Cost #8: Moving Costs
Moving vans aren’t cheap - not to mention the boxes, packing supplies, time off work and labour (if you’re not hiring a company).
Account for these expenses in your home buying costs, especially if you’re making a long-distance move. Typically the farther away the move, the more costly it’ll be.
Cost #9: Utilities
Remember to account for what utilities you’ll be paying for, especially if you’re moving into a bigger place, such as:
- Cable & internet
The installation of these services can start to add up quickly. Make sure you’re aware of all your utilities and the costs ahead of time.
Cost #10: Home Maintenance and Repairs
Home repairs or renovations are almost inevitable, especially if you are purchasing an older home. If you know you’ll want to get in there and start renovating as soon as you get the keys, you won’t have much time to save after closing the deal. Remember to account for the cost of renovating your new home when building out your budget. If you aren’t planning on doing repairs or renovations right away, start building up an emergency fund to prepare for any unexpected home repair costs later down the line.
It can be stressful adding up the hidden costs of buying a home. But facing the numbers head-on can help you and your financial advisor better prepare for what’s to come.