Confused about how GST works on your Real Estate Purchase?

Now that the HST has been changed back to a GST / PST model, there’s a lot of questions out there with regards to how things work with regards to purchasing real estate.  The following should clear up most questions.   How does G.S.T. apply to used residential housing? It does not. Used residential housing is’ not subject to G.S.T. How does G.S.T. apply to new residential housing? G.S.T. is payable on the purchase price of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential homes. Substantially renovated is defined in the legislation as the removal or replacement of most of the house construction components except for the foundation, external walls, interior supporting walls, floor, roof and staircase. What is the tax rate for G.S.T.? 5%, subject to any rebates, discussed below. Are there any rebates if the new home is to be the primary place of residence? First, let us define primary place of residence. This means a home that you own, jointly or otherwise, that you intend to live in on a permanent basis. To be eligible, the intent to use the home as the primary place of residence must be evident at the outset of buying the home. A recreational cottage, an investment property or a property you might retire to in the distant future do not qualify. If the Purchaser (or a certain related family member) is planning to reside in the new home as their primary place of residence, they may be eligible for a G.S.T. New Housing Rebate. This rebate equals 36% of the G.S.T., but only applies for homes under a certain price point. Assume the purchase price of a new home is $350,000 excluding G.S.T. The gross G.S.T. is $17,500 (5% of $350,000). The G.S.T. New Housing Rebate is 36% of $17,500, which is $6,300. …

Questions to ask before hiring a property inspector

Hiring the right home inspector is important. After all, you want the inspection to leave no stone unturned when determining the condition of the house you are considering purchasing. Unfortunately, the professionalism and range of services vary widely in the home inspection industry. So it pays to ask the right questions before you choose. Here are a few suggestions: “What does your inspection cover?” A home inspector should be able to present you with a detailed list of what is covered in the inspection. Don’t settle for a vague verbal promise like, “We check everything top to bottom.” Get it in writing. In addition, you should get an assurance that the inspection complies with all Local and State or Provincial regulations. “What are your qualifications?” As with most professions, experience counts.You want to check how long the inspector has been in the business, and how many homes like yours he has inspected. Also ask about his credentials.What professional training programs has he completed? Does he belong to a recognized home inspection association? “Do you also offer to do home repairs or renovations?” If he does, it’s a conflict of interest.You want an inspector to give you an unbiased report as to the condition of the house, without any expectation of getting some contracting work on the side. “How long will the inspection take?” You’ll want to find out if the inspector takes his time and does a thorough job, or rushes things so he can get as many homes done in a day as possible. On average, a typical single family home should take two to three hours to inspect properly. “May I contact some references?” Ask for references from people in the neighborhood you are considering. Then, make sure you call them.  

Realtors Help “Smooth” The Buying Process

Finding the right home, getting a fair price, calculating mortgage rates, figuring out closing costs – all of these factors make buying a home an often complicated and overwhelming process. However, a REALTOR can guide you through the home buying process and transform this confusing experience into one of the most exciting times of your life. Think of a REALTOR as a professional who brings buyers and sellers together for the sale of a property. REALTORS are licensed real estate professionals who are members of the  Real Estate Board. REALTORS have access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) which is Canada’s most powerful real estate marketing system. This service provides REALTORS with listing information on a wide variety of properties for sale which in all likelihood includes your ‘dream home.’ Selecting a REALTOR One of the best ways is to ask your friends, relatives and neighbours if they can recommend a REALTOR with whom they have worked in the past. As a buyer, it is particularly important that you clearly understand the nature of your relationship with the REALTOR – whether the REALTOR will be acting in your best interests or on behalf of the seller, or, in some circumstances, for both the buyer and seller. The REALTOR will fully explain the different relationships before you start working together. It’s a good idea to talk with two or three REALTORS to find out which one has the best combination of experience and knowledge in the type of home and area in which you are interested. Once you have selected a REALTOR, remain loyal to him or her. Keep in mind that he or she will be spending a lot of time and effort to help you find the right home. Finding your new home A REALTOR will help you zero …

No Time Like The Present

If you are tired of renting and have always wanted a home of your own, now is an excellent time to take the home ownership plunge. Attractive mortgage interest rates, government incentive programs and an excellent supply of homes for sale are making the dream of home ownership possible for more would-be buyers. Consider Using Your RRSPs You may want to take advantage of the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan. The program allows you to use your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) contributions (up to $20,000 per person, $40,000 per couple) to buy or build a home. You must be a first-time buyer or at least not have owned a principal residence for four consecutive years in order to qualify under the plan. Remember, no income tax is deducted from these funds as long as they are repaid to an RRSP according to the government’s repayment schedule. Lower Down Payment Requirements Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Home Loan Insurance Plan is designed to give buyers lacking a larger down payment the opportunity to get into the market sooner. Under the program the minimum down payment requirement for federally insured mortgages for buyers is just five per cent. The home can be new or resale. Examine Your Needs It is never too early to start considering where you would like to live and the type of house that best suits your needs. This is where a REALTOR’s services prove invaluable. REALTORS have access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) which is a co-operative listing system that offers maximum exposure of homes listed for sale. A REALTOR can help you zero in on the type of home you want with a quick search on the computer. Once you have defined a few key parameters like price, location and number of bathrooms, a …

Moving Up in the Housing Market

Has the prospect of moving into a bigger and better home been in your plans from the day you first bought your ‘starter’ home? Well, now may be just the right time to make it happen. You may be surprised to learn that the cost of moving up is within your means. The equity you have already built up in your current home can often be sufficient for the down payment for your next home. And, with today’s attractive mortgage rates, carrying charges need not be much larger than what you are paying now. A REALTOR can help you calculate the carrying costs on a ‘move up’ home. Changing needs The desire to move to a larger home is often the result of changing needs for you and your family. A new child is on the way and you need a nursery; the children are growing and need their own rooms and more space to play; you’re tired of scrambling for a place to park on the street and want your own driveway; you need more space to build a home office now that you are self-employed; or maybe you just need a change of scenery. There are as many reasons as there are different lifestyles. Whatever your reasons, moving up to a new home can intensify the joys of home ownership. There are both practical and emotional results of moving up to a better home. On the practical side, the equity in your home will continue to grow and the value of a bigger and better home will be ultimately greater over time. On the emotional side, the pride of ownership in a bigger house will probably be even greater than when you bought your first home. Ask a REALTOR for help As will every major decision, the key …

Things To Consider as a First Time Homebuyer

Are you among the thousands of people in the Fraser Valley who pay rent each month, knowing full well that you will never see that money again? For many, this need not be the case. Instead, why not take that money and build it into an investment that can last a lifetime? Right now there are excellent opportunities for first-time buyers. Mortgage rates are attractive and there are plenty of reasonably priced homes on the market. What kind of home do you need and want? Buying a home is a balance of many requirements such as family size, location, income and lifestyle. REALTORS are excellent sources of advice and help in these matters. Not only do they have the experience and knowledge to make sure the choice you make will be the right one, but with access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), they can seek out suitable properties for you and provide you with a customized list of homes that meet your needs, wants and budget. Ask yourself exactly what you need in a home. How many bedrooms? How close to schools or shopping centres? Do you plan to have more children? Do you need a garage or a finished basement? New homes offer extensive warranties and pristine conditions but may not have mature trees or landscaping. Older homes often include improvements such as finished basements or rec rooms, decks and patios. Be sure to have any resale home inspected for needed repairs or upgrading. decide on a preferred location Living in the city means you will be close to amenities such as theatres and shopping. If you prefer a more rural lifestyle, make sure the extra time spent driving each day won’t detract from your enjoyment of the property. Townhomes and condominiums are obviously suited to particular lifestyles …

Title Insurance

We recommend that you purchase title insurance. Title insurance covers some risks inherant in real estate transactions, such as: Liens, encumbrances, or defects in the title to a property Tax arrears Defects that would have been revealed by an accurate, up-to-date survey Forced removal of an existing structure, other than a boundary wall or fence Work orders, zoning or set back non-compliance/deficiencey Another party claiming an interest in the property Fraud, forgery, duress, incometence, incapacity or impersonation Unmarketability, which allows another person to refuse to perform a contract to purchase, lease or make a mortgage Title insurance can be purchased for a one-time fee, payable when the property is purchased. Depending on the premium you pay, it protects your lender only, or both you and your lender. A title insurance company issues the policy, and the policy remains in effect for as long as you own the property. Note that a new policy may be required if you change mortgage lenders. For more information go to www.firstcanadiantitle.com. If you would like to order title insurance, please call to obtain a quote. This information is being provided to assist in the planning of a home purchase. It is not intended to be legal advice and the information set out may not be applicable in all cases. In some situations, a purchaser may be required to pay for other additional expenses such as a second mortgage, an assignment of rents, power of attorney, or independent legal advice. Loading…

Buying A Home Is A Sound Investment In Your Future

Why use your hard-earned cash to pay the landlord’s mortgage when you could be using the rent money to buy a home of your own? That’s a question many people ask themselves when they start thinking about moving out of the rental market to home ownership. It’s a big step. For most people, taking out a mortgage is the biggest financial commitment they will ever make. But buying your own home has always made sound financial sense. Here are some facts to think over when considering home ownership as opposed to renting. If you are 35 now and just buying your first home, you will likely be mortgage-free when you are 60 and sitting comfortably on a considerable asset. It’s highly likely your investment will appreciate considerably in 25 years. It’s important, however, not to buy with the intention of making a quick fortune. Think of home buying as a sound, long-term investment. Buying a home is a very effective way of saving regularly over many years. Even if you never buy into another retirement or investment plan, you are effectively putting money away for the future. Owning a home of your own means you and your family can set down roots, get to know your community and involve yourselves in it. Discover the pride of home ownership. You can fix the place to suit your particular needs. You can also have pets in your home. As your family grows and moves on to homes of their own, you will have the option of earning extra income by renting out spare rooms or floors, if local bylaws allow. If you are planning to borrow money from a bank or other financial institution, owning your own home is a definite plus when it comes time to negotiate. You may not need …

Buying New vs. Used

Are you in the market for a home? If so, do you see yourself in a cozy character home with ornate fireplaces, or does the image of a brand new home with today’s state-of-the-art technology appeal? Either way, you will find that the rewards of buying your own home are many. The security, comfort and peace of mind you get from home ownership, regardless of your preference for old or new, are well worth the investment. This is an excellent time to consider buying. Attractive mortgage rates, government incentive programs and a wide selection of housing options available through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) make this a good time to buy. Look and compare As you start your search for a home, it is a good idea to enlist the services of a REALTOR. REALTORS have access to the MLS® system and can help narrow the search by providing you with a list of available properties in the price range and location that suits you. Your selection, to a large extent, will be determined by your lifestyle and in most cases becomes a matter of compromise. For instance, you may find an older home that needs some renovation work, but this may not necessarily fit into your budget plans or your hectic schedule if you plan to do a lot of the work yourself. On the other hand, you may find a new home attractive but would have to spend extra money on landscaping and installing some of the amenities that may be a part of the package in an older home. Advantages of an older home Older homes have a number of advantages. You can see exactly what you are getting – structural faults are generally easier to see and can be or have been corrected. The character of …

Your Needs And Wants

The current combination of attractive mortgage rates, home buying incentive programs and a wide selection of homes from which to choose means now is a great time to consider buying that first home or moving to something that better serves your needs. Location, Location, Location Location is one of the most important factors in making any real estate purchase. For example, if you work downtown and you are comfortable with the idea of commuting, you might want to consider buying a home in one of the outlying communities where lots may be more picturesque and peaceful. On the other hand, living closer to the city centre often means a short commute to work and easy access to shops and entertainment facilities. When focusing on location, you will likely want to consider other important factors like the proximity of schools, access to public transit and shopping facilities, etc. Identify features you need and want Once you have decided on the location you prefer, it is time to identify your needs so that you can zero in on the home of your choice. For instance, if your family is outgrowing its present apartment or home, you know you are going to require something bigger and more comfortable – possibly with more bedrooms and a second bath. In addition to your needs, you should also consider your wants – things you would like to have if you can afford them and if they are available. Remember, the time you take to think about these things now will prove invaluable later during your discussions with a REALTOR. Matching needs and wants with available properties With access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), a co-operative listing system that offers maximum exposure of homes listed for sale, your REALTOR can draw up a customized list of …

Closing Costs: 10 Items To Consider

Property Transfer Tax: This tax is payable on the purchase of all real property in BC. The calculation is based on 1% of the purchase price up to $200,000 and 2% of any amount above $200,000. Most first time buyers are exempt from this if they meet certain criteria. The main criteria are; a) borrower has never owned a principal residence anywhere; b) maximum purchase price of $275,000 in most areas; c) borrow at least 70% of purchase price; d) be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and residing in BC for a minimum of 12 months. Legal Fees: Legal representation will cost you approximately $750 for a purchase and a mortgage, add another $450 if you are selling a property at the same time. The legal fees to only register a mortgage will be in the $350 range. Your Mortgage Source Consultant can often find a discounted package for you. Interest Adjustment: This is the interest you will pay for receiving your mortgage money before the official start of your mortgage (ie: if your “completion” were on the 23rd of a 30 day month, your interest adjustment would be 8 days interest). Property Tax Adjustment: Generally, property taxes for the calendar year are paid at the beginning of July for the full calendar year. If you purchase a property before July 1st, the seller will be paying you for the days they owned a home from January 1st to completion day. You then are responsible for the entire amount to be paid to the municipality on July 1st. If you purchase a property after July 1st you will pay the seller for the days you own the property from completion day to December 31st, as they will already have paid the entire amount to the municipality on July 1st. …

Checklist For House Hunting

If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, a REALTOR can provide invaluable help in finding the right home in the right price range in the area you want to live. Through access to the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) a REALTOR can give you a customized list of homes for sale that match your needs and wants and budget. A house hunting checklist will help you keep track of the advantages and drawbacks of each home. Ensure the checklist includes the basic information regarding location, asking price, annual property taxes, mortgage terms and any applicable zoning restrictions. Exterior Jot down your impressions of the exterior of the home, noting the lot size and shape, position of the home on the lot (facing north, south, east or west). Note the condition of the landscaping and whether the yard is fenced. Check the condition of the siding and note whether the home has an attached or detached garage. Be sure to take a good look at the roof and note its general condition and age. It’s also important to examine the foundation of the home for any visible cracks or holes. Interior Note whether the home has a separate front hallway. Check the windows to ensure they open and close easily and note the general condition of the doors. The kitchen is an important room in any home, so pay attention to its size, the condition of the appliances, sink, cupboard space, counter tops, flooring, lighting and electrical outlets. Be sure to ask whether any or all of the appliances are included in the sale. It may be that a separate dining room, a family room and fireplace is important to you. Note also the size of the bedrooms and closet space and whether there are any window …

Arranging A Mortgage

Now is a great time to consider buying a home. Interest rates are very attractive and there is a wide choice of homes available to suit just about any budget. Still, it’s most likely you will have to deal with financing and this will mean taking on a mortgage. Sorting through the numerous mortgage options available to today’s homebuyers can be intimidating, but professional help is readily available. Your REALTOR can offer you invaluable information along with your financial institution’s mortgage specialist and other advisors. First, it’s necessary to know which kinds of institutions will lend you money. Banks and trust companies lead the pack, but credit unions and private lenders also offer funds. There is also the option of consulting a mortgage broker. You may also find yourself in a situation where you can assume an existing mortgage held by the seller. Advantages of assuming a mortgage are that you can speed the buying process due to reduced paperwork and save money in lower legal fees and closing costs. A disadvantage is that the current lending rate may be less than that of the assumed mortgage. Different mortgages A number of different mortgage options are available. Under a conventional mortgage, lenders will loan you up to 75 per cent of the appraised value or purchase price of the property (whichever is lower) to a maximum set by government regulation and you must come up with the remaining 25 per cent yourself. If you don’t have the 25 per cent down payment, a high-ratio mortgage may be available which will provide you with up to 95 per cent of the appraised value or purchase price of the property (whichever is lower) to a maximum set by government regulation. The proviso is that high-ratio mortgages must be insured and the cost …