Must-Read Facts New Canadians Need To Know About Real Estate

July 7, 2022

Whether you are thinking of permanently relocating to Canada or you are already working here, we welcome you with open arms! Canada is a wonderful place to live to start a family, start a business, or start the next chapter of your life, whatever that chapter may be. We know moving can be stressful and overwhelming, especially when moving from another country. Luckily for you, you’ve stumbled across the right real estate group to make your transition a breeze. The Shirriff Wells real estate collective is here to help answer any questions you might have. We will also advise you on making smart decisions when buying your first home in Canada.

The first step: looking for a home in Canada

Before you pack up all your things and buy a home in Canada, you want to make sure you can afford the mortgage, the down payment, the property taxes, home repairs, and of course, the heating bill in our cold winter months. It’s not just the flight to Canada that you need to worry about. You have to consider all the costs associated with applying for a VISA before you relocate.

Step two: Decide where you want to move to

Toronto has some of the best hospitals, tourist attractions, and job opportunities in the country. However, it can be pricey when you factor in the cost of living. The average cost of a home in Toronto, as of June 2022, is $1,212,806.00. Other cities like Vancouver are pricey as well which is why some choose to relocate outside large city limits for more affordable options.

For a list of possible houses, condos, or rental properties available, check out our listing page here. If you’re looking for government-assisted housing for new immigrants or refugees, it’s a good idea to apply well in advance of your move to Canada to eliminate as many stressors as possible.

What you need to know about financing your home in Canada 

Mortgages and down payments 

Most homebuyers need a mortgage loan to purchase their home. A mortgage is a loan that pays for the difference between the cost of the house and the money you put towards the purchase initially as a down payment. You can get a mortgage loan from banks, private mortgage lenders, credit unions, or some insurance companies. You pay back a mortgage through regular payments over a period of time. This is usually amortized over 25 years (or less) and you will be charged interest to borrow this money.

It’s recommended that you have a 20% down payment on a home to obtain lower mortgage rates although being new to the country you might be expected to put down as much as 35% as a down payment. As your real estate agent, we can connect you with the best mortgage brokers in the area to help you get the lowest interest rate possible. Working with an experienced mortgage broker who is well versed in mortgages is crucial to get pre-approved for the mortgage you need as a New Canadian. Securing a mortgage as an immigrant to the country can be more challenging at times without a credit history in the country prior to your move.

To get an idea of how much of a mortgage you might be approved for, check out the mortgage calculator on our website before you start house hunting. That way you can set a budget and realistic expectations before you decide on the location to start your home search. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a home to find out later on that you don’t have the financing to buy it.

What You Need to Know About Credit History

Having a good credit history is very important when you’re looking to buy a home. As a newcomer to Canada, you may not have a credit history that Canadian banks recognize. This may make your home search a little more challenging if you don’t have money set aside to buy the home outright. Mortgage lenders want to ensure you’ll be able to pay your bills on time and your credit history is typically the evidence they review to make sure you are responsible when it comes to making your payments on time. Without a history of credit use in Canada, it’s tricky for them to understand your economic responsibility and might put you on their high-risk list. The higher the risk to the lender, the higher the interest rates will be.

What is a Home Inspection and Why Do You Need One?

It’s a good idea to put an offer on a house with the condition that a home must pass a professional home inspection. No one wants to move into a home and find out that something is not working properly, especially, if it’s a big expense like a septic tank, furnace, roof, foundation, etc. A home inspector will check for any mould or wet spots on the inside of the house. He/she will take a look at the structure of the house and things like wiring, electrical panels, etc. If he/she finds anything significant, this lets you cancel or change your offer if there are serious problems with the house which impact the value of the home.

Don’t Forget About Land Transfer Tax

When you move anywhere in Canada, you’ll have to pay a land transfer tax to the province which is due upon closing. Land transfer tax is normally based on the amount paid for the land, in addition to the amount remaining on any mortgage or debt assumed as part of the arrangement in making the purchase. To help you better understand just how much land transfer tax you might pay take a look at our handy land transfer tax calculator to get an estimated cost.

For more costs to consider, check out this article.

Making an offer to buy a home

The housing market in Ontario has cooled off slightly which is good news for buyers because that means there are now more homes available and they aren’t selling as fast. This gives you time to get your application in, a better chance of avoiding a bidding war, and allows you to make a conditional offer. A real estate agent will handle making an offer and negotiating on your behalf which is especially beneficial if you’re located in a different country. Homes are now selling in 12 days on average. That doesn’t give you much time to plan a trip to visit the property in person so you will likely rely on your realtors’ advice, along with virtual tours and facetime walk-throughs.

If your offer to purchase the property is accepted, then you and your realtor work with a real estate lawyer to transfer ownership of the property along with taking care of the paperwork that goes along with your purchase.

Work with Shirriff Wells Real Estate to secure your dream home

We take pride in helping new homeowners find their dream homes. We are experts in the real estate world and we can help you navigate the housing market in the Toronto area and beyond as a new Canadian. We are your go-to for finding and buying your new home so you can start this exciting new chapter in your life. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call at 416-495-2746 and we look forward to welcoming you to Canada.