Costs Of Buying A Home

08.12.21 | For Buyers

The True Cost Of Buying A Home: What You Need to Know

When eager new homebuyers begin saving up for a home, it’s easy to fall into the trap of putting on the blinders and fixating on saving up towards one number in particular.

However, buyers can often forget to factor in the additional secondary and tertiary costs it takes to buy a home. For all buyers, new or recurring, these are critically important costs to know about.

So, whether you’re a first-time buyer or have set your sights on moving up, here’s a breakdown of some of the true costs you need to consider when buying a home.

The Deposit

The first expense you should plan for is the deposit. This is a percentage of the total cost of the home that gets paid to the seller or Seller’s agent brokerage right away to essentially “hold” the sale and show the seller you are committed to the purchase. Typically, a deposit is 5-10% of the total purchase price and is required to be paid within 24 hours of the offer.

The deposit also must be made in the form of a certified check, bank draft, wire transfer or Etransfer, which means a homebuyer will need fast access to funds when putting in offers. This money is typically paid to the Seller’s Realtor’s Brokerage company or sometimes to the seller’s lawyer to be held in trust until the home closes.

The higher your deposit, the more committed you may look to sellers and the more desirable your offer comes across. Once the deal is finalized, your deposit money can go towards closing costs or towards your down payment, which brings us to the next cost you need to plan for.

The Down Payment

A down payment is different from a deposit. The down payment is a lump sum payment that goes toward the final purchase of your home. In Canada, there are some rules around down payments. The minimum down payment you can pay is 5% for a home valued at $499,000 or less and 10% for homes valued at $500,000-$999,000. For homes over $1 million, buyers are required to pay at least 20%.

If possible, paying more than the minimum down payment amount is better because it means you will pay your mortgage off sooner, pay less interest, and build equity more quickly.

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Your Mortgage And Interest Rates

Once your down payment has been accepted, you can deduct that amount from the final sales price of your new home. To account for the rest of the sales price, you’ll need to take out a mortgage.

Mortgages are essentially loans for homes. The total amount of your mortgage depends on a few factors, such as the cost of the home you’d like to buy, the amount of your down payment, what you qualify for based on your annual income, what your monthly expenses are, and your employment history.

Generally speaking, it’s either banks or private mortgage brokers who grant you a mortgage. Whoever you secure your mortgage from, you’ll have agreed on the total amount of your loan and the structure of how you’ll pay it back. In most cases, it’s in the form of a monthly payment to your lender, which will include an interest rate.

This means that if you’ve agreed to put down $2,000 per month towards your home, for example, this fee, plus whatever your mortgage interest rates are, will go to your lender.

What About Mortgage Insurance?

If you are unable to pay the minimum down payment for your purchase, you may still be able to get a mortgage, however, you will be required to purchase mortgage insurance

Mortgage insurance is an added cost that protects the lender since the lender is typically taking on more risk with a lower down payment.

Are you planning on becoming a first-time homebuyer? Ensure you’re well-informed about everything you need to know about your upcoming purchase by reading these related posts:

Land Transfer Tax

The province of Ontario requires homebuyers to pay them an additional fee called the Land Transfer Tax. Essentially, this reflects the provincial government’s cost of permitting you to transfer the title of property between their jurisdiction.

While each province has its own set of Land Transfer Tax rates, the amount you have to pay increases depending on the cost of your new home. The more expensive your new home, the higher the percentage of its value you have to pay in Land Transfer Tax.

In Ontario, the set of Land Transfer Tax rates ranges from 0.5% to up to 2.5% of your home’s value. However, if you’re buying a home in the Greater Toronto Area, the City of Toronto requires buyers to pay an additional municipal Land Transfer Tax alongside the provincial tax.

The good news for first-time homebuyers is that you may be eligible to have all or part of this one-time fee refunded. Eligibility for this refund requires buyers to qualify based on these criteria:

  • The buyer must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • The buyer must be older than 18 years
  • The buyer must occupy the home within nine months of purchase
  • The buyer cannot have previously owned a home anywhere in the world
  • The buyer’s spouse cannot have owned a home while being your spouse

If that applies to you, then you can apply for a refund of the full amount of your Land Transfer Tax or up to a maximum of $4,000.

Lawyers’ Fees

In order for both the buying and selling parties to ensure they’re conducting a legitimate and viable transaction, it’s a real estate lawyers’ duty to review and approve all of the necessary paperwork and legal documents that are included in a transaction.

While both the buying and selling parties hire their own respective lawyers, both legal representatives work together to ensure the real estate transaction is completed smoothly and no contractual or legal details are overlooked.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of formalities and details that go into a real estate transaction, which is why it’s crucial you hire a dedicated real estate lawyer who has experience facilitating these types of deals. As with all lawyers, though, their services come with a fee, which you’ll need to factor into your overall budget as a homebuyer.

Whether you’ve already got an idea of who you’d like to hire or need help finding a legal representative, we work with a set of highly respected and experienced real estate-specific lawyers that we’re always prepared to recommend to our clients should they need it.

There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it — the safest way to buy a new home is through the help of a knowledgeable and experienced local Realtor®. Learn more about what we do, how we help, and how you can find the Realtor® that’s right for you here:

Your Homeowners’ Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance is a form of property insurance that protects you, the homeowner, from any damages to you or your property once you own your new home. It’s also a requirement to get a mortgage.

In paying a monthly fee to a homeowners’ insurance provider, you are in essence paying for peace of mind. If any damages were to occur to you or your new home, your insurance provider would provide you with funds (up to a certain number) to pay for the cost of fixing the damages.

Although all insurance plans and providers are different, most homeowners’ insurance policies generally cover the costs of things like interior damage, exterior damage, the loss or damage of personal assets or possessions, and any personal injury that occurs on your property.

Interested in learning more about how we can help you make your upcoming home purchase the best buy of your life? Read all about our buying process and how we’ve helped buyers just like you find their dream homes the first time here:


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