Homeownership is a great investment, but it’s not without its costs. Aside from your down payment, there are several other one-time and ongoing expenses you’ll need to prepare for throughout the home buying process. Prevent any unwelcome surprises by knowing what to expect ahead of time. Here are a few additional home costs you’ll want to consider:
Lawyer Title Fees
Whether you’re buying, selling or refinancing your home, you’ll need to partner with a real estate lawyer. During the home buying process in particular, you’ll team up with your lawyer once you’re ready to review and sign the Offer to Purchase. They’re also responsible for registering your new home, overseeing closing day finances and details much more. Lawyer’s fees will range according to the size and complexity of your new home transaction, but typically start at a minimum of $500.
As a means of protecting their investment, many lenders will require you to provide proof of title insurance before they’ll issue your mortgage loan. In short, this type of insurance protects both you and the lender from losses pertaining to zoning violations, municipal work orders and other property defects. It also ensures you’re protected from losses associated with title fraud and/or forgery. This additional fee may be added to your lawyer’s legal bill.
Whether you’re buying or selling, navigating Edmonton’s unpredictable market can be both frustrating and costly without the right help by your side. For this reason, we recommend enlisting the help of an expert Edmonton REALTOR® who will help you save both time and money (potentially thousands) on your next home transaction.
While real estate-based commissions in Alberta are negotiable, sellers should expect to pay roughly 7% on the first $100,000 of the home’s overall purchase price and 3.5% on the remaining. Homebuyers generally don’t have to worry about real estate commissions as these fees are usually paid by the seller.
As brokers work independently from the banks, their fees are typically paid by the lender or the borrower. Backed by Axiom Mortgage Solutions Inc., we at The Edmonton Broker do not believe in charging our clients any fees for arranging mortgages. In certain situations that call for particularly complex financing, or in scenarios pertaining to the application of a second mortgage, some fees may apply. However, your broker will disclose and discuss details relating to any potential fees before placing your mortgage.
Mortgage Default Insurance (CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty Financial Insurance)
As per Canada’s mortgage rules, all high-ratio mortgages (home purchases with a down payment of 5% -19.99%) will require mortgage default insurance.
This type of insurance varies from regular home insurance in that instead of protecting your home and its contents, it protects the lender in the event you default on your mortgage loan payments. It also serves to make home buying more affordable for Canadians, ensuring they can still purchase a home with the minimum 5% down. The leading providers of mortgage default insurance include CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty, all of who’s premiums will be applied to your monthly mortgage payment.
Mortgage Default Insurance typically costs between 0.6% - 3.15% of the home’s overall purchase price (sometimes higher depending on your unique situation), spread out over the lifetime of your mortgage loan. A small application fee will also be applied and can cost anywhere from $75 to $235 – but this is a one-time fee only.
Home appraisals are performed as a means of assessing the current market value of a property. They’re often required by lenders to determine a home’s overall value, as a means of verifying the home is worth the requested mortgage loan amount.
The basic lender-based appraisal can cost anywhere from $300 - $350, with costs varying according to the location, size and condition of the property. Keep in mind, some lenders will cover the cost of the appraisal for you, while others may require you to foot the bill on your own.
Home Inspection Costs
Home inspections differ from appraisals in that an inspection focuses on the condition and structural integrity of a home (heating and cooling, electrical, foundation, etc.), rather than current market value.
Home inspections may be covered by the buyer, seller or both. Here again, costs can vary widely according to the location, age and condition of the property, but generally fall between $400 and $700. Of course, larger homes will likely cost more, as there is more ground to cover and more home to inspect.
Longer, engineer conducted inspections can take upwards of two hours and may also cost more than the average. If needed, your municipality may also provide any previous inspection reports associated with the property for a small fee.
Calculated as part of your home’s assessed market value, property tax will vary according to the municipality and current market conditions. Many homeowners opt to pay their property tax once a year or, depending on the terms and conditions outlined in your mortgage agreement, you may be required to pay your property tax in monthly installments. Depending on where you live, you may also arrange to have your monthly installments paid through the city with the help of the Tax Installment Payment Plan (TIPP).
As a rule of thumb, we recommend setting aside at least 1% of your home’s total value to cover this annual tax.
As a means of maintaining property values within a strata community, Homeowner’s Associations (also known as Condo Boards), reserve the right to charge monthly condo fees. These monthly dues are then put towards common-area maintenance, including shared recreation facilities (i.e. pool or gym), landscaping, snow removal, etc.
In some cases, your condo fees may also cover costs associated with your power, heat, cable and more. Fees will range from community to community, but commonly average between $200 – $600 per month.
An Estoppel Certificate is a signed document that outlines a condo board’s current financial and legal state. It provides potential buyers with information regarding the cost of condo fees, payment schedule, details of any unpaid contributions and more.
As a home buyer, it is extremely important to request a copy of the estoppel certificate in order to make an educated decision about your purchase (as it relates to the unit and the condo corporation). The cost to acquire the certificate and supporting documents averages roughly $50 and is typically overseen by your lawyer.
When it comes to purchasing a home, many lenders will require an up-to-date land survey detailing the property’s legal boundary lines and other features. Often referred to as a Real Property Report (RPR), this survey ensures there is a clear distinction between the home in question and neighbouring properties, serving to prevent any confusion between the two.
The lender may accept the last survey conducted (depending on when it was performed), and in some cases, Title Insurance may be considered an acceptable substitute. Average land survey costs range between $500 - $2,000, property dependent.