Be Prepared: Understanding the Additional Costs When Purchasing a Home

By Vernon B. Hearn

After years of renting, you finally decided to take the leap into home-ownership. You scrimped and saved for a down payment. You searched the listings, drove around your favourite neighbourhoods and spent your weekends at open houses – and you found your dream home. Then you held your breath waiting for your mortgage to be approved, and now closing day is circled in red on your calendar.

But are you prepared for the extra costs that will accompany buying your new home?

“Many new buyers aren’t aware of the additional costs involved when purchasing a home,” explains Vern Hearn, real estate lawyer with Burchell MacDougall’s Truro office, “There’s more to it than your down payment.”

It can start with the cost of a pre-closing home inspection.

“Fees for inspections vary depending on your location and the inspector, but they are always a good idea. You’ll be made aware of any issues or problems the house could be hiding that should be addressed immediately, or down the road.”

You know you’ll be writing a cheque for your down payment before you’re handed the keys to your new home, but you should be prepared for other fees as well.

“You’ll be charged legal fees for your lawyer’s services, and disbursements to cover expenses like couriers and photocopies,” Vern goes on, “As well as fees for the registration of your mortgage and your deed.”

You will also have to pay a land transfer tax, which varies from municipality to municipality, but will be a maximum of 1.5% of your purchase price in Nova Scotia.

“Title insurance will protect you from any possible issues regarding the ownership of or related to the title for your property,” he says, “and is another cost that is well worth it for the peace of mind it provides.”

Depending on your agreement with the seller, you may also have to pay fuel and/or tax adjustments to reimburse them for the oil remaining in the tank or any property taxes already paid as of closing day.

“All in all, it will add up to several thousand dollars. It that can come as quite a surprise to new buyers, Vern concludes, “It’s safe to assume that you’ll have to pay an additional 2.5% to 3% of your purchase price in additional costs.”

This article is for information only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have any questions or would like further information, you should consult a lawyer.