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Once You Have Bought Your Dream Home

Buying a home can be a very exciting but stressful experience with many costs to manage. Most people are prepared for movers costs($90 - $160/hr), lawyer(Approx. $1000.00) and even interior design ($250/hr) expenses and they plan for them accordingly.

Closing costs are typically one-time-only charges that are necessary to complete - or "close" - the transaction. These costs may include inspectors fees ($450/inspection), appraisers ($250/appraisal), title searches. lawyer (Approx. $1000.00) and applicable taxes, such as GST on the fees. Closing adjustments include the repayment of a portion of any property taxes, utilities etc. that may have been prepaid by the vendor. If you have bought a condo, you will get a package of strata documents to read, they can be very comprehensive & complicated. There is a service that can read the documents for you and prepare a report for a fee of $349.00.

There will be some costs. such as cable TV, telephone, hydro and home insurance that typically will end with previous owner's departure. It is the owner's responsibility to cancel the existing service with no costs owing to you. It is your responsibility to arrange for new service under your own name. Shortly before your closing date (usually 2-3 days before completion date), your lawyer should also be able to tell you the exact amount you will be required to pay in addition to your down payment. You will be required to submit this payment before you will be allowed to sign your documents and get the keys to your new home. With a good lawyer and your Royal Pacific Realty professional, there's one thing that you can expect on closing day and that is: no surprises.

Completion costs guide

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board’s tips for home buying



When a residence is purchased a Property Transfer Tax (PTT) is applied. The tax is calculated at one per cent on the first $200,000 and two per cent on the remainder. The First-Time Home Buyers’ Program offers an exemption to the PTT if the fair market value of the residence is $425,000 or less. In all regions there is also a proportional exemption for first-time buyers of homes with a fair market value up to $25,000 above the thresholds. This means in the Greater Vancouver area, homes valued up to $350,000 ($325,000 threshold + $25,000 proportional exemption) will be charged a pro-rated PTT. For more information please visit:


You will have to reimburse the sellers for any prepaid property taxes or utilities.

Mortgage loan insurance and application fee – If you get a high-ratio mortgage (a mortgage where you pay less than a 20 per cent down payment) you will have to buy mortgage loan insurance from CMHC or a private company. If you qualify for a vie per cent down payment, CMHC charges an insurance fee that equals 3.25 per cent of the mortgage. If you put 10 or 15 per cent down, your insurance fees will decrease to two per cent and 1.75 per cent respectively. The insurance premium usually gets added to your mortgage.

You will also have to pay an application fee. CMHC’s standard fee is $235. CMHC also offers a basic service for a $75 fee but it must be accompanied by an appraisal.


These fees are approximately $300. Your lawyer/notary will arrange this payment.


Before your lender approves your mortgage, you may be required to have an appraisal done. Sometimes your lender covers this cost otherwise you are responsible for covering this cost. The fee ranges from $150 to $350.


If you buy a newly constructed home, you must pay the 5 per cent GST. However, if your house is less than $450,000 you may be eligible for a rebate. For more information, please visit


Your lender may require an up-to-date survey of the property. If the seller did not provide you with one, you will have to pay to have one done. The fee ranges from $150 to $350.


Most REALTORS® recommend that you get a home inspection by a certified home inspector. It will cost you from $150 to $350 for a smaller house. Large houses may cost more.


Lawyers/Notaries fees for closing the sale range according to the complexity of the deal but they should range from $600 – $1500.

© The Vancouver Sun 2008


Professional help eases stress for buyers Buying a condo

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008


There are a number of professionals who can help you find the right condo. Real estate agents, lawyers and notaries, developers and financial advisors all play an important role.

Buying a condo is different from buying a house, so it’s a good idea to hire professionals who specialize in condos.


A good real estate agent specializing in existing condos can save you time and energy. You can choose to deal with the vendor’s real estate representative (for existing condos), but you should really enlist one who will act only on your behalf. If you deal with the vendor’s agent, there should be no charge to you, as the agent will be paid a commission by the vendor. An agent acting exclusively for you should not charge a fee for his/her services, as he/she normally shares in the vendor’s agent’s commission. Make sure you are clear on who is paying the real estate agent’s commission, and what your obligations are once you’ve signed an agreement. When you meet with your agent, be specific about what features you’re looking for, location, and your budget. This will allow your agent to prescreen condos within your price range, in the neighbourhoods you want to live in, with the features and amenities you want.

A real estate agent can also assist you in making an offer to purchase once you’ve found the unit that’s right for you.

Remember for a re-sale unit purchase, make the offer conditional upon getting all corporation documents available to the purchaser under provincial legislation, including an estoppel or status certificate where available, or the financial statements and governing documents for the condo. Make any sale conditional upon a satisfactory review of the condo’s financial condition and inspection by a qualified professional.


Hiring a real estate lawyer or notary who is knowledgeable about condos will help ensure that your legal interests are protected. Your lawyer will explain all the documentation for the condo including the declaration, by-laws, rules and disclosure statements and will review your offer to purchase and the purchase and sale agreement. Your lawyer should be able to determine whether or not there are any pending legal actions against the condo that may have financial implications to the unit owners.

If your offer to purchase is accepted, your lawyer will handle many of the closing arrangements.

Architects, Engineers and Home Inspectors A professional inspection is a wise idea. All too often, people purchase too quickly due to the desirability of the condo or in anticipation of competing offers. Buyers could face substantial costs after they take ownership of the unit due to construction-related defects that may have been detected by a pre-purchase inspection. For an objective review of the condition of your unit and building, it is recommended that you find a qualified inspector such as that supported by the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors at


Ensure you can afford your mortgage and the monthly expenses you will face as a result of your purchase. Your bank manager or financial advisor can help you customize your mortgage to suit your financial goals and needs. CMHC’s on-line Homebuying Step by Step Guide can also help you to determine what you can afford. You can find the guide on CMHC’s Web site at

© The Vancouver Sun 2008

Renovation Tax credits and low interest offer incentives to homeowners

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Tax credits and low interest offer the best breaks

Wendy Mclellan

Graeme Huguet, of My House Design, discusses design details of new sunroom with homeowner Lorne Armstrong. Photograph by: Sam Leung, The Province

The recession may have made it a little easier to hire a handyman, but don’t expect your home-improvement project to cost much less.

“Renovations are really popular in this region — people want to stay where they are,” said Peter Simpson, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association.

“Some people may expect that the prices should be lower because of the bad economy, but the cost of products and services hasn’t really diminished significantly.”

Simpson said low interest rates and the federal government’s new home-renovation tax credit are providing extra incentives for people who are considering renos, and that’s keeping contractors busy.

“Contractors are still very busy and many of them are still booking jobs into next year,” he said.

“Renovators are not slowing down — we’re a year into this economic downturn and we still haven’t seen much change.”

One thing that has eased in the past year is the shortage of skilled tradespeople.

With so many job losses in the construction industry and the slowing of new-home building, renovators are able to find tradespeople more readily, which means jobs are getting finished faster, he said.

But some of those out-of-work construction workers may be setting up their own home-renovation business without the right kind of experience to get the job done, Simpson said.

“The caution here for homeowners is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You may get a lowball quote, but you get what you pay for.”

Before getting excited about the prospect of a quick turnaround on their project, homeowners should check references and do some research into what your home reno requires, he said.

Graeme Huguet, owner of My House Design/Build Team Ltd., said there are some good deals for home-improvement projects.

For example, kitchen-cabinet manufacturers who have seen their orders slow with the cancellation of condo projects may add extra features and deliver the products earlier.

Similar deals are also out there for products such as plumbing fixtures and hardwood flooring.

As well, various incentives for energy-efficient upgrades are available for people who want a greener home, he said.

But the biggest saving for homeowners is time, Huguet said. With more tradespeople available, contractors can schedule the work more efficiently.

“When you can get the renovation done faster, it’s less costly. You have less time out of your kitchen, or out of your house.”

Surrey resident Lorne Armstrong thought renovators might be slower this year, but he quickly found they’re as busy as they have been for years.

“We thought it might be a good time because of the economy, but that wasn’t the case,” said Armstrong, whose home is getting a facelift with Huguet’s company.

“We didn’t make the decision to renovate expecting a lower price. We’ll get the tax credit, which is great, but we had the money to do the work and we were prepared to wait for a break in the contractor’s schedule.”

John Friswell, owner of North Vancouver‘s CCI Renovations, said some prices have come down for home-renovation work, but homeowners won’t notice much difference.

With more skilled tradespeople available, he said, the cost of some work, such as drywalling and painting, is down 10 to 15 per cent. But on a kitchen or bathroom renovation, the price difference would hardly be noticeable.

“There has been an expectation of lower prices by homeowners, but it hasn’t happened,” Friswell said. “The reno business has been really good through this whole mess.”

At BC Brick Supplies, Rick Miller said he is selling products for more small landscaping projects.

“Last year, it was hard to get people out to do a small paving-stone project, but it’s more competitive this year,” said Miller, who owns the landscape supply company with his two brothers.

Miller suspects the federal tax credit is encouraging people to continue with home-improvement projects.

“It’s a little easier to find people to do the work, but it’s not like they’re trying to buy a job.”

Kent Houston, owner of Houston Landscapes, said more companies are bidding on the larger commercial and condominium projects than in past years, which is making the business more competitive. Large projects are also reducing their landscaping budgets.

“A year ago, it would have been hard to find three companies to bid on a job and now there’s no problem finding 10,” Houston said.

“We haven’t see a real drop in price yet, but we may see it happen.”

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