4 things to know before buying property in Canada

If you’re reading this then there’s a good bet that you are looking to move to the second largest nation on Earth, Canada. The method of buying a property in the country is similar to that in the UK, but there are a few things you need to be aware of. Here are some tips to buying a property in Canada.

1. Hire a realtor

The best time to search for property in Canada is during the Spring and Summer months, as more properties tend to be put up for sale. A Realtor acts like an Estate agent, except that most of them are independent and work from home. Realtors in Canada do not just sell the property they list (as estate agents do in the UK). Realtors can sell property listed with other agents and when this is the case they split any commission they may receive from the seller for the sale. Their rates are negotiable so it pays to negotiate. By informing a realtor of your interests in location, prices and architectural tastes the realtor will do their best to find you a property.

2. Be aware of the Rules and regulations

If you live in Canada for less than six months of the year then you are considered a non-resident. Most of the provinces in Canada have no restrictions for foreigners buying property but there are a few exceptions, some areas limit the amount of land a foreigner can own, e.g. In Alberta, foreigners are only allowed to own up to two plots of land, and these must be below 20 acres all together. If you can’t pay for everything up front then you will need to take out a Canadian mortgage. In most cases you will have to pay a deposit first, (normally 20% of the property’s value) if you get one then there are monthly instalments with an interest. There are different regulations for first-time home buyers. Though not necessary, you should probably look into the financing process before you buy the property.

3. The process

i. Decide on your budget and stick to it.

ii. Get a mortgage agreement; contact a financial advisor to help you navigate the difficulties of getting an international mortgage.

iii. Find a property- local newspapers and the internet will prove invaluable.

iv. Valuation- The mortgage provider will require the chosen property to be valued.

v. A date will be set for you to complete and for the property to be transferred to you

4. Additional fees

There are quite a few hidden costs when buying a property in Canada and they vary in expense. The main costs are property transfer tax (not in force in all provinces). Some mortgage lenders may charge buyers additional fees for appraisals. It’s a good idea to check with the lender before any deal is made. Before you sign anything make sure you know the total costs so that you can budget accordingly.

The Expat Hub
This post was written by
If you’ve already moved abroad, if you’re in the process of moving abroad or if you’re only thinking about it, the Expat Hub is here for you. For expatriates looking for advice, support and information, we’re the number one online stop.