How To Buy Real Estate In Canada

The Canadian property purchasing process closely resembles its American counterpart, with oversight and listing information provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Prospective buyers should factor in taxes …

The Canadian property purchasing process closely resembles its American counterpart, with oversight and listing information provided by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Prospective buyers should factor in taxes and fees when pricing properties, including a Goods and Services Tax on new housing, Realtor and attorney charges and costs associated with land transfer and mortgage loan coverage. See the following article from International Property Journal for more on this.

Anyone familiar with transactions in the United States won’t have any problem navigating the Canadian system. There are few restrictions on foreign ownership and the process is full of checks to protect both buyer and seller.

In many ways the system mirrors the United States, with the Canadian Real Estate Association overseeing the licensing and ethical standards of Realtors, much like the National Association of Realtors in the U.S. CREA owns the MLS trademark and operates Realtor.ca for residential properties and ICX.CA for commercial listings, which include listings from regional boards around the country. The CREA site also includes the latest data on prices and sales.

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Fees and taxes can add substantial costs to a transaction, but are generally in-line with the rest of North America. Land transfer fees imposed in most provinces, usually paid by the buyer, can range from 0.5 percent to 2 percent of the sale price. Lawyer fees can add as much as 10 percent to the final transaction costs, but the fees are negotiable. The only real surprise can be the “Goods and Services Tax” on new construction, which can tack on as much as 6 percent to the price of the house. However, the GST is often included in the quoted price.

Tips:

  • New home buyers may be eligible for a partial rebate of the Goods and Services Tax is the property is going to be used as a primary place of residence, the Global Property Guide notes.
  • Realtor commissions usually run between 3 to 7 percent. Usually the fee starts at 7 percent for the first CA$100,000 and then 3 percent on the rest of the price. Sellers typically pay the commission.
  • Agents are allowed to represent both buyers and sellers, a process known as a “dual agency.”
  • Mortgage insurance is required when the loan is greater than 75 percent of the value of the property.

This article has been republished from International Property Journal. You can also view this article at International Property Journal, an international property news and information site.

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