Closing costs when buying a home in BC are a crucial and oftentimes overlooked element of a home purchase.
It’s important that Buyers know what to expect ahead of time so they can have these funds readily available before their purchase closes.
Here is a list of the most important and common closing costs for Buyers to remember.
The minimum down payment in Canada depends on the purchase price of the home. If the purchase price is:
- Less than $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5%
- Between $500,000 and $999,999, the minimum down payment is 5% of the first $500,000, and 10% of the amount over $500,000
- $1,000,000 or more, the minimum down payment is 20%
The deposit amount varies, however 5% of the purchase price is a relatively standard benchmark. The deposit forms part of the Buyer’s down payment and is held in trust by the Buyer’s real estate brokerage until the sale completes.
The amount of the deposit and when the deposit comes due are agreed upon by both Buyer and Seller in the Contract of Purchase and Sale for a given property. In Victoria, it is common for the deposit to be due once a firm (i.e. all subjects have been waived or fulfilled) offer is in place.
Property Transfer Tax (PTT)
Property transfer tax applies to most, but not all, residential property purchases in British Columbia and is based on the purchase price of a given property. The rates apply as follows:
- 1% of the fair market value up to and including $200,000
- 2% of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000
- 3% of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000
Buyers can use either a real estate lawyer or notary public to facilitate the signing and registration of the sale documents. Service fees for lawyers and notaries vary, however Buyers can expect to pay in the range of $1,500 – $2,000 for conveyancing.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
GST of 5% on top of the purchase price is applicable only on certain real estate transactions. The most common scenario where GST is applicable is on new construction (i.e. presale developments, newly-built homes, and/or new properties that haven’t been occupied). For more information on GST, click here.
GST may also apply when purchasing secondary properties that have been used for income purposes (such as short-term vacation rentals). If you are unsure about the applicability of GST, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an accountant or tax expert.
If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price, you will be required to have mortgage insurance. This insurance premium is added onto your monthly mortgage payments. To view CMHC’s mortgage insurance calculator, click here.
CMHC will determine the size of this premium and automatically include it in the calculations. For properties with a purchase price above $1,000,000, mortgage insurance is not available. As such, a minimum down payment of 20% of the purchase price must be used.
Home inspections are typically done during the conditional period (i.e. when an Accepted Offer with conditions is in place between Buyer and Seller). Depending on the property size and type, inspections typically fall in the $500-800 range.
For a list of recommended home inspectors in the Greater Victoria area, click here.
Other Closing Costs
Now that you are aware of the primary closings costs when buying a home in BC, below is a list of smaller albeit common closing costs to consider:
- Arranging Home Insurance
- Moving Expenses
- Arranging Cable or Internet Services
- Adjustments for Security Deposits (tenanted properties only)
- Adjustments for Utilities & Property Taxes
- Adjustments for Monthly Fees (Strata properties only)
- Move-In Deposits or Elevator Fees (Strata properties only)
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