Home Buying Expenses


There are many costs involved when purchasing a home that you should expect to pay.  Some expenses are one-time costs, while others are continuing costs.

Other than your biggest cost in your down payment here are some expenses you should be prepared to pay for include but not limited to:


Legal Fees

Your lawyer of choice is important when purchasing or selling a home.  They search and investigate title, draft documents, register land title, prepare your mortgage, etc.


GST (Goods and Service Tax)

Is payable on a purchase of a new home or substantially renovated home.  If you intend to make your new home your primary residence you will the opportunity to receive a new housing rebate, which reduces GST paid by 36%. Furthermore, in order to qualify for a new housing rebate the purchase price must be $350,000 or below.  A partial rebate can be obtained, but is prorated if the purchase price is between $350,000 and $450,000.  Homes over $450,000 do not qualify for this rebate.


PTT (Property Transfer Tax)

It is a one-time fee you pay every time you purchase a home. The calculation is: 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000, and 3% of the remaining fair market value.  

For example, if the fair market value of the property is:
$200,000.00, the tax payable would be $2,000.00 (1% of $200,000.00).
$800,000, the tax payable would be $14,000 (1% on the first $200,000.00 = $2,000.00 and 2% on the remaining $600,000.00 = $12,000.00)
$2,400,000, the tax payable would be $50,000 (1% on the first $200,000.00 = $2,000.00, 2% on $1,800,000) = $36,000, 3% on $400,000 = $12,000)

 What is Fair Market Value?

“Fair Market Value” is best described as the price that would be paid for a property on the open market (which is usually the actual purchase price paid for the property).

Source: Spagnuolo & Company Real Estate Lawyers, bcrealestatelawyers.com

There are a number of exemptions available to purchasers so that the tax is not payable. The most common is the exemption for "First Time Home Buyers." To qualify for an exemption to the Property Purchase Tax as a First Time Home Buyer, the following criteria must be met:

Purchaser must never have owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time;


Purchaser must be a citizen of or a permanent resident of Canada;


Purchaser must have resided in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date they become the registered owner, or the Purchaser has filed two income tax returns as a British Columbia resident within the prior 6 years of becoming the owner;


To obtain full exemption, the purchase price must not exceed $500,000.00. A partial exemption is available for homes between $500,000.00 and $525,000.00.


Purchaser must move into the property within ninety-two days after registration of the purchase of the property and reside in the property for at least one year;


Pro rata exemption where property exceeds .5 hectares or a portion of the property is not residential (i.e. commercial lofts) - purchase price of entire property must not exceed the price limitations.



Reimbursing the vendor property taxes, utility, condo strata fee, etc that they paid in advance.


Strata Fees

You may have to pay your first month strata fee through your lawyers.  Some strata complexes charge move in/out fee, so read your by-laws.


Survey Fee / Certificate

Lenders may require a survey certificate of your purchased property. Sellers may have a copy of an existing survey so ask your realtor so they can attempt to save you some money.


Home Inspection Fee

This would be an immediate expense and is done prior to owning a home.  It would cost you a few hundreds of dollars, but is well worth it. You don't want to move-in to your new home to discover unpleasant surprises.  Their service can save you thousands if they discover any major defects. If you haven't followed a home inspector around before you can learn a lot of good maintenance tips to keep your new home in good shape and maintain its market value.


Appraisal Fee

Your lender may require your new home appraised by a professional and independent appraiser.  Depending on the lender they may waive this fee, therefore ask your bank / mortgage broker and try to save yourself some money.


Mortgage broker's fee (if applicable)

Some mortgage brokers may charge you a fee. A fee is charged on those most challenging mortgages. ASK your broker to avoid surprises.


Mortgage application fee

Some lenders charge a fee to process your application.  Many lenders will agree to waive this fee. ASK your broker to avoid surprises.


Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium

If you put less than 20% down payment you will pay an insurance premium.  This is usually combined into your mortgage. Ask your mortgage broker / bank or visit cmhc.com for more details.


Home Insurance

Lenders require you to carry fire and extended coverage insurance, as your home is the security deposit on the mortgage.


Title Insurance

It protects you from fraud and potential errors surrounding the title to your land. It's normally a few hundreds of dollars.  It's not mandatory, but ask your lawyers for details.


Moving Expenses

You may want to hire professional movers. Price and service varies so do your homework and ask around.  Ask your realtor as they can recommend a handful of companies.


Renovations and repairs

Your new home may require renovations and/or repairs.


Additionally, once you have purchased your home, you will incur regular expenses on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Some of these costs include:


  • Mortgage Payment


  • Water and/or Sewer Payments


  • Electricity and Gas Services


  • Cable and Telephone Services


  • Property Taxes


  • Strata or Condo Fees


  • Repair/maintenance Expenses


  • Homeowner's Insurance