BUYING YOUR HOME

Buying a property requires, of course, a different set of criteria and procedures than selling one. I maintain a comprehensive awareness of market conditions and property availability in Vancouver, enabling me to confidently assist clients with recommendations and options.

RESEARCH: LOCATING YOUR HOME

I will happily assist you in researching and locating a property that fits your situation and your objectives. You will find my experienced background in construction, renovation and development to be of considerable benefit and reassurance when evaluating the structural aspects of properties you may be considering

CLOSING DETAILS: FINANCIAL & LEGAL

Under Contact (Resources) above, I list numerous specialists I have worked with and have recommended when financial and legal assistance is required: Mortgage Brokers and Lawyers included.

POST-PURCHASE: “SETTLING IN”

I will be pleased to help you with the process of ‘settling in’ should you require it. Perhaps, for example, your new home is not move-in ready and may require renovation or maintenance upgrades. I have worked extensively in this area and I have a strong list of approved assistants and trades that you can access and review in my Resources (click on Contact above).

NEGOTIATION

Whether buying or selling, negotiating the optimum ‘deal’ for my clients is a task I welcome and a process with which I have extensive experience and success. I look forward to the opportunity to help you with yours. 

EXPERIENCE

I have many years of experience in Real Estate, Customer Service, Communications, Renovating and Construction Management in Greater Vancouver. I blend this background with my many years of experience and success in identifying market trends and Investment opportunities. 

 

"Shirley is friendly, engaging, professional and was clearly interested in understanding what I was looking for, while giving me advice on ideal areas to live being new to Vancouver.  She works tirelessly and thoroughly to ensure that she looks out for your best interests and finds you the property of your dreams. She walked me through the A-Z of buying a home and she continues to support me through the steps that occur after having signed the deal. I couldn’t be happier with the service Shirley has provided and I will definitely be calling her first when the time comes for me to sell! Thanks Shirley!” ~ Brooks LeBoeuf

Understanding Your Taxes

Property Transfer Tax

Home buyers in BC pay a provincial Property Transfer Tax (PPT) when they buy a home. The tax is charged at a rate of:

  • 1% on the first $200,000,

  • 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000, and

  • 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000.

For example, if the fair market value of a property is $2,100,000, the tax paid is $41,000

The Provincial Sales Tax (PST) is generally not payable on services except for legal and notary fees.  Both the GST and PST are paid on legal and notary fees.

Foreign Entities Tax -Effective August 2, 2016, an additional PTT charged at a rate of 15% of the fair market value applies to residential property transfers to Foreign Entites in Metro Vancouver. Buyers who are Not Canadian Citizens or permanent residents of Canada, and who do not have work permits. This 15% PTT applies to “Greater Vancouver Regional District” or “Metro Vancouver” municipalities. The communities included are: Anmore, Belcarra, Bowen Island, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley City and Township, Lion's Bay, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver City and District, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver, White Rock and Electoral Area A. Here is a link to a map of these municipalities.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) On New Homes

G.S.T. is payable on the purchase price of newly constructed homes or substantially renovated residential homes. Generally, all or substantially all is interpreted as meaning 90% or more. To meet this requirement, at least 90% of the building that existed before the renovations began must be renovated to some minimum degree. This determination applies to the interior area of the building.
Buyers also pay the GST on fees for services from appraisers, home inspectors, lawyers, Notary Publics, and REALTORS®.

GST Rebate on New Homes

New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the 5% GST if the purchase price is $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. There is no rebate for homes priced at $450,000 and above.

GST New Residential Rental Property Rebate

If you are a builder and purchaser of a new home, be aware there is a rebate of GST/HST for the landlord of the new residential rental property. You qualify for the NRRP Rebate if the first people to occupy the home are your tenants. The NRRP Rebate is not obtained from the builder. Instead, you must wait until closing to apply for the NRRP Rebate and make the application for the NRRP Rebate within two years after the property closes. It is important to be aware you have to repay the NRRP Rebate if you sell your home within one year, unless you sell it to a person who occupies it as his primary residence. Learn More

First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit

First-time home buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT. There is a proportional exemption for between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil.

First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit The Home Buyers' Tax Credit allows first-time buyers to recover some of the costs associated with their purchase, such as legal fees, land transfer taxes, and home inspections at current taxation rates, works out to a rebate of maximum $750 for all first-time buyers. After you buy your first home, the credit must be claimed within the year of purchase and it is non-refundable. You must have the intention of residing in the home within one year of purchase.

As of February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages increased from 5% to 10% for the portion of the house price above $500,000. Basically, When the purchase price is above $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the remaining portion.

Normally, any amount you withdraw from your RRSP is considered taxable income However, the government allows First home buyers to borrow up to $25,000 from your RRSP to help pay for your home as long as you qualify as a first-time buyer. In order to meet this requirement, you must not have purchased a home within the last four years or also not have lived in a home owned by your spouse during this time.

Newly Built Home Exemption

The Newly Built Home Exemption reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase a newly built home.

A newly built home includes:

  • a house constructed and affixed on a parcel of vacant land

  • a new apartment in a newly built condominium building

  • a manufactured home that is placed and affixed on a parcel of vacant land

  • an already constructed house that is removed from one parcel of land and affixed to another parcel of vacant land, as long as the house hasn’t been occupied since it was placed on the new parcel of vacant land

  • a house resulting from the division of an existing improvement affixed to a parcel of land that was also subdivided, as long as this house hasn’t been occupied since the subdivision of the parcel

  • a house converted from an existing improvement on the land. The previous improvement couldn’t have been used as residential (e.g. a warehouse converted into apartments). If you qualify for the exemption, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax. If you paid property transfer tax when you purchased vacant land and you now have a newly built home on the land, you may be eligible for a refund of the property transfer tax you paid.

How Does Commission Fees Work for Buyer’s?

If you are buying a home, you don’t have to pay real estate agent commission. The Seller pays the commission for both the Listing agent and the Buyer’s agent. Only in certain circumstances the Buyer may require to pay commission due to Seller’s counter offer.

Why Use a Buyer’s Agent to Purchase your Property?

Many Buyers think they will get a better deal or save money on a home if they work directly with the Listing agent. They believe a Listing agent will reduce the commission if he or she doesn’t have to share it with a Buyer’s agent, thus lowering the price. It sounds promising, but this thought process could end up costing the Buyers much more than it could save them. When you choose to use the services of the Listing agent to write your offer without any kind of agency relationship, you will be treated as their customer rather than their client. The Realtor is not permitted to give advice, recommend or suggest a price or negotiate on your behalf, they do not have this responsibility as they work solely for the Seller’s.

First of all, the Buyer’s agents work for you, not the Sellers. There are so many benefits of a using a Buyer’s agent to purchase your property. They dedicate its loyalty and best interests to you, the Buyer. You will also save valuable time with the assistance of the Buyer’s agent in finding you the properties of your criteria.  They have full access to MLS listings 1st day available on the market. Therefore, you will also be able to view new listings before the public sees it. Why do something yourself when you can have a professional buyer's agent do it for you? Having a Buyer's agent also gives you more negotiating power. They would negotiate on your behalf and provide valuable advice or opinions for your best interest. Where else can you employ the services and receive the benefits of a trained and experience professional on your side for free!

16 Additional Costs You May Expect Other Than The Price of Your Property

1. Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price. Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default, and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment starting at 5%* — with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Learn more

As of October 17, 2016, all insured home buyers must qualify for the Bank of Canada’s posted five-year rate, now at 4.64 per cent. Borrowers must have a GDS ratio maximum of 39 per cent and a TDS ratio maximum of 44 per cent.

As of November 30, 2016, borrowers with a down payment of 20 per cent or more (low ratio) must also meet the same loan eligibility criteria as high-ratio mortgages of less than 20 per cent. Learn more

2. Home Inspection Fees
A home inspection is a report on the condition of the home and includes structural and moisture problems, as well as electrical, plumbing, roofing and insulation. The fees range and is typically $500-$900 depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the inspection. Some inspectors also charge an additional fee for an older home or a home with a secondary suite, a crawlspace, or a laneway home.
 
3. Property Taxes
Depending on the Contract of Purchase and Sale, a home buyer will likely be required to reimburse the seller for any prepaid property taxes. The lender may require the buyer to add property tax installments to monthly mortgage payments.


4.Utility bills
A buyer is typically required to reimburse the seller for any prepayments for municipal utilities such as water, sewer, drainage, garbage, and recycling.

5.Mortgage Life Insurance
If the owner dies, this type of insurance will pay off the balance owing on their mortgage.

6. Legal or Notary Public fees
Buyers typically hire a lawyer or Notary Public to assist with drafting documents and ensuring the title of the home is properly transferred.
Fees Varies with companies and likely includes a:

  1. title search for a property
  2. land title registration

7. Land Survey Fees
Lenders may require a survey of the property. You may try to retrieve a copy at the land title office but if that is not available. You may require to get one done by a surveyor and fee ranges. It is typically $500 plus GST.
 
8. Appraisal Fees
Before your lender approves your mortgage, you may be required to have the property appraised. Sometimes your lender will cover this cost. If not, you're responsible. The fee ranges from $300 to $450 plus GST.
 
9. Moving Fees
Moving fees vary depending on the distance moved and whether professional movers do all of the packing. If its a Strata, Co-operative or Leasehold building you are moving into, there would most likely be a move in fee and damage deposit for the elevator.

10. Utility Hook Ups
There are fees for hydro, gas, water and sewer, cable/internet and phone connections.

11. Locks
New owners should always have door locks rekeyed. Costs depend on whether the locks are standard or electronic.

12. Maintenance Fees
Whether you are purchasing a Strata, Co-operative or Leasehold Strata. A Maintenance Fee will be charges for maintainence and operations of the commonly owned property areas. This is typically paid on the first day of each month.
 
13. Homeowner's Insurance
Homeowners Insurance is important because it covers you for unforeseen incidents, such as fire, burglary, vandalism, a flood, or sewer or water damage. Most lenders typically require home buyers with a mortgage to buy home insurance, so they can protect the asset they are lending on. The insurance should be effective on the earlier of either the completion date or the date that the balance of funds is placed in trust.

If you're in a strata, you'll not only need insurance to cover the contents of your home, you will want to look into strata deductible coverage as well. This is important when buying into a strata as damage such as water can stem from your unit and cause damage to properties below you. Basic coverage might not be enough! If your home has some knob-and-tube wiring, for instance, you'll pay more. Or you may want to take out riders on your expensive artwork or home office. Earthquake or other special coverage will also cost extra. If you will be renting out part of your home, make sure your insurance company knows, otherwise your insurance could be void if something happens. Again, an independent insurance broker will help you find the best-priced insurance to cover your needs.


 
14. Title insurance

Title insurance is optional and covers problems that may arise due to encroachment issues (for example, a structure on your property is actually part of your Neighbor’s property and needs to be removed), existing liens against the property's title, title fraud, undischarged mortgages and other issues relating to the property's previous owners.

 
15. Interest adjustments

You will need to pay interest on any gap between the closing date of the purchase and the first payment date of the mortgage. You can avoid an interest adjustment by arranging to make your first mortgage payment exactly one payment period after your closing date.




16. Strata Maintenance Fee

A strata maintenance fee is money that’s used by the strata corporation to pay the common expenses of the development. Your fee is assessed by taking the total cost of the strata’s expenses and dividing that by the unit entitlement of your strata lot. Basically, the larger the square footage of the unit, the bigger the fee. This is typically paid on the first day of each month.