Costs Associated with Buying
Real Estate

In addition to the actual purchase price of your property you'll encounter some additional costs. They are summarized as follows:

 

Property Transfer Tax  (different from property tax below)

The First Time Buyer Program provides a tax exemption from Property Transfer Tax for individuals buying their first home. Buyers who meet the following conditions will be eligible for the exemption. 

You qualify for the exemption, if:

  • you are a Canadian Citizen, or a permanent resident as determined by Immigration Canada, If the property does not meet all of these requirements, you may still qualify for a partial exemption.
  • you have lived in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property, or you have filed 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date you register the property, 

  • you have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at anytime, and
  • you have never received a first time home buyers’ exemption or refund. 


The property you purchase qualifies, if:

  • the fair market value of the property is not more than the current threshold of $425,000, 

  • the land is 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller, and 

  • the property will only be used as your principal residence.

Property Transfer Tax is an unavoidable provincial tax on the transfer of all real estate British Columbia. The tax is calculated as follows: 1% of the first $200,000, and 2% of the remainder of the purchase price. This tax is payable at the time of purchase/conveyance and is usually included on the Buyer's statement of adjustments by the Buyer's lawyer or notary. 

If the property does not meet all of these requirements, you may still qualify for a partial exemption.

***Please note: You should always consult a lawyer or notary regarding your qualification for the PTT exemption. 

 

HST

  • (Harmonized Sales Tax) is 12% on new construction and substantially renovated properties. HST is sometimes included in the list price as an incentive to buyers. Buyers of new properties costing $525,000 or less can apply for a partial HST rebate as follows: 

The rebate rate was set to ensure purchasers of eligible new homes up to the $525,000 threshold pay no more provincial HST on average than under the PST.

Rebate rate: (7% BC HST minus 2% embedded BC PST) / 7% BC HST

Rebate rate = 5/7 = 71.43% of provincial portion of HST paid, to a maximum of $26,250.


Realtor's Commissions

  • Unless you have entered into a separate agreement to pay commissions to your Buyer"s Agent you won't pay realtor's commissions on your purchase. Commissions are paid by the seller. Note: The Federal Competition Act prevents standardization of realtor's commissions. However, you'll likely find that most "full-service" Realtors will charge a similar rate. See our Selling: Costs section for more on seller's commissions.

Appraisal

  • Your lender may require a property appraisal at your expense. Costs vary $150-$300.

Site Survey (not typically done for condos)

  • Your lender may require an up-to-date survey. If the Seller does not have one, you may have to absorb the costs to have one done.

Legal Fees

  • Lawyer or notary fees will vary depending on the complexity of the transaction and are often $600-$1500 plus dispersement plus HST. Your legal representative will review your contracts, search the title, draft mortgage documents and facilitate the transfer and registration of title. Please visit our Lawyers and Notaries page to view some excellent local legal representatives. Costs will vary depending on your requirements.

 

Home Inspection

  • If you choose to have an inspection, costs are typically $250-$750, depending on the size of the property and complexity of the inspection. It's a very good idea to have an inspection done when buying detached housing and post-warranty condominiums. It's less critical to have an inspection on a brand new condo under warranty. We will be pleased to advise you on the value of having a home inspection performed on your chosen property and we'll be pleased to recommend a good, registered inspector.

Insurance

  • You are well advised to insure your property. As per the standard contract of Purchase and Sale, the purchaser is responsible to insure the property as of 00:01 Am on the day of completion. If you are buying a condo, it's critical that you get condo residents "contents insurance". The condo building itself will be insured by the strata (Home Owner's Association) but you must purchase insurance for your contents and liability. Fees vary.

Strata Fees (similar to Home-Owner's Association fees)

  • These are monthly fees that typically cover the costs of building insurance, building  maintenance, garbage removal, water, gas, recreation facilities, and concierge services. Fees vary depending on the level of services provided by the strata and are usually available on the listing detail sheet. These fees are generally paid via auto-debit directly from your bank account or via post-dated cheque.

Property Tax

  • Property Tax is levied annually. The difference between Property Tax and Property Transfer Tax is that PTT is a one-time provincial tax which is charged at the time of title transfer and Property Tax is paid annually to the local taxation authorities. It is determined by applying the value of the property as assessed by the provincial assessment authority to the current tax rates as stated by the local tax authority. The amount can differ each year but generally Property Tax falls between 0.5-2.5% of the home's market value.