The Additional Costs of Buying a Home, and how to Get Around some of Them

Anyone looking for a home in today’s Toronto market knows just how expensive it can be. With the average price on single detached homes sitting at around $500,000, and with the price of those once “cheap” condos escalating in many areas, there’s no question about it. It’s not cheap. But while buyers may be concerned about those prices, they also need to take into consideration all the other costs that come with buying a home. And we’re not talking about furnace replacements or roof repairs. We’re talking about all those “little things” that come at the time of actually signing your mortgage.

Many buyers think of closing costs at the time of purchase, but don’t actually realize just how much they can cost. Once you add up the legal, appraisal, inspection, land transfer, and adjustment costs though, they can add up anywhere from 1.5 to 4 per cent of the purchase price of the home.

One of the bigger costs that Toronto home buyers have been facing since last year is CMHC insurance. This fee comes with any mortgage that did not have a 20 per cent down payment; and it can be costly.

The amount of mortgage insurance you’ll pay will depend on the purchase price of the home, as well as the amount of a down payment you make. In addition to just the insurance though, it’s important for buyers to remember that there will also be PST on top of that amount, which can also be quite costly.

To offset some of these costs, Toronto buyers can take advantage of many programs and credits that can help.

Most people know about the Home Buyers’ Plan through the RRSP, which allows buyers to borrow a certain amount of money for a certain period of time, tax-free. But in addition to that, there’s another tax benefit available for home buyers.

The Canada Revenue Agency also offers a $750 Home Buyers Tax Credit (the HBTC) that Canadians can apply for on their taxes.

In Toronto, buyers can also apply for a rebate up to $3,725 on the Municipal Land Transfer Tax; while all of Ontario can cash in on the provincial Land Transfer Tax, up to an amount of $2,000.

There’s no doubt that when you’re a home buyer in Toronto, you’re probably going to see some fairly high prices. And then some fairly high fees and costs tacked onto that. But these costs shouldn’t deter buyers. There are ways to get around them and while it’s true that all those little costs add up, all those little savings do, too.