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Closing Costs

Beyond the purchase price of the house there will be closing costs when a house is purchased. Unfortunately, the extent of these costs often catch buyers off-guard, particularly first-time buyers. The following list sets out what to expect.

Legal costs in a real estate transaction consist of two main parts - fees and disbursements. Fees are what the lawyer charges for professional services - for doing the work to represent you and protect your interests in the transaction. Fees may vary from lawyer to lawyer.

Disbursements are the out-of-pocket expenses that are paid on your behalf. Generally, disbursements will be the same regardless of which lawyer you choose. These costs can include things like...

  • Land Title fees for registration of the Transfer and Mortgage with Information Services Corporation (ISC)
  • searches, such as a tax search, Title search and writ search, to ensure that all claims against the land are accounted for
  • general file administration costs, such as photocopying, courier charges, long distance telephone or facsimile charges

Property Taxes

Buyers must pay property taxes for the portion of time they will own the home in the current tax year. As property taxes are paid in advance in many cases, this may result in the buyer having to reimburse the seller. For example, if the seller paid the taxes for January to December of one year and the buyer takes possession on October 1 of that same year, the buyer will need to repay the seller the taxes paid for October, November and December.

GST

The Goods and Services Tax applies to new homes and homes that have been substantially renovated or re-located. Some buyers may qualify for a rebate of a portion of the tax on homes that are subject to GST provided that the purchase price is less than $450,000. GST rates and rules change.

Home Inspection

While it is not required, buyers often want to have a home inspection done by a professional who can evaluate the condition of the home and point out potential problem areas. The buyer will pay a fee for this.

Property Report or Title Insurance

If there is not a current surveyor's real property report for the property, the buyer may need to have one prepared. A survey indicates the exact boundaries of the property and any easements. This is important because it will show whether part of the garage, shed, fence or house itself is located on someone else's property. It would also show whether a building on someone else's land may encroach onto the property you want to buy. Either situation can affect the value of the property and a lender's decision to give a mortgage on it.

Sometimes a buyer may get title insurance if a surveyor's real property report is not available. This provides compensation if there are any issues with the property's boundaries.

Moving Expenses

The buyer will generally incur moving expenses when moving into a new home. These expenses could include things like hiring a moving company, renting a truck or trailer, storage costs and professional cleaners.

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