Budgeting for a new home can be tricky. Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected—expenses to add to the equation. The last thing you want is to be caught financially unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.
These expenses vary: some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of monthly or yearly installments. Some may not even apply to your particular case. But it’s best to educate yourself about all the possibilities, so you will be prepared for any situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your move. Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget:
- Purchase offer deposit.
- Inspection by certified building inspector.
- Appraisal fee: Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property. The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility.
- Survey fee: If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request an updated property survey. The cost for this survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000.
- Mortgage application at your lending institution.
- 5% GST: this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations.
- Legal fees: A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork. Experience and rates offered by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire.
- Homeowner’s insurance: Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution. You will be required to buy insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan.
- Land transfer (purchase) tax: This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly.
- Moving expenses.
- Service charges: Any utilities you arrange for at your new home, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee.
- Interest adjustments.
- Renovation of new home: In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon moving in to their new home. If this is your plan, budget accordingly.
- Maintenance fees: If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.
Whether seeking solace, activity, schools, churches, or green space, every homebuyer looks for a different combination of attributes in a new community. Choosing a neighbourhood that suits your needs and wants is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the home-buying process; your choice of environment will affect the way you experience your new home. This is a very personal decision, influenced by countless unique factors colouring your own lives, but you should always keep the following in mind:
- If you’re considering buying a home in a community that is unfamiliar to you, get to know its lay-out, offerings, and ambiance. Take some time to walk or drive through the neighbourhood, both during the day and at night, familiarizing yourself with the sights, sounds, and smells.
- What amenities does the neighbourhood have to offer? Is public transportation readily accessible? Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach? Consider visiting schools in the area if you have children.
- What is the nature of the job market in the area? Keep in mind that if area employers are producing more jobs, you can expect property values to increase, especially if the jobs offered fall within a higher salary bracket.
- Speak with the neighbours. Ask questions. They can offer you a wealth of information, from an inside perspective.
- How will you be affected by a new commute to work? Drive the route between the new neighbourhood and your office during the appropriate times to gauge the volume of traffic you could expect to encounter, and the amount of time you’d need to put aside for daily travel.
- Contact local land-use and zoning officials to determine existing development plans or potential for development in the area. A strong agenda for neighbourhood planning and local zoning will increase the value and draw of a neighbourhood. Keep in mind that any large, tree-covered area may be a target for future development in popular communities.
- Determine whether financial resources have been put in place to support infrastructure projects in the area. These construction projects might include building, replacing, or improving anything from schools to roads, and are usually part of a city or town’s long-term plan. While disruptive, construction could also be a benefit to your experience of a community, influencing the long-term value of the area.
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