Purchasing a home: 9 fees to keep in mind besides your mortgage

Purchasing a home: 9 fees to keep in mind besides your mortgage
National Bank Home, Personal Home, Personal

According to Jonathan Haziza, chief advisor for mortgage financing at National Bank, the scale of the costs linked to buying a property tends to be underestimated by first-time buyers.

His advice is to set aside between 2 to 3% of your property value to cover these expenses. So you don’t forget anything when preparing your home-buying budget, here is a list of the necessary “to-dos”.

Appraisal Fee

Your financial institution may ask for a property assessment to confirm its market worth, namely, when the municipal evaluation dates back more than one year and the market, or property as such, has undergone a few changes since.

A certified appraiser will come on-site to verify the dimensions of the habitable floor space and the land, the structural condition, the quality of the renovations carried out in the living areas, and the characteristics of the immediate surrounding area (school, park, shops, neighboring buildings, etc.) The appraiser then gives an opinion of how much the property is worth on the market, taking into account the current competitive context. In this way, the financial institution seeks to protect itself. Indeed, it is not unusual for buyers to pay too much for a house due to emotional factors or pressing personal circumstances. If the financial institution were to seize the house for non-payment, how much would it end up collecting? Would this properly cover the sum it lent to you?

Inspection Fee

Hiring a building inspector to check for hidden defects in pre-existing houses is crucial. This will help you avoid any bad surprises that could cost you a lot!

Notary Fee

In Canada, any real estate transaction requires the services of a notary. The cost of this transaction varies depending on a number of criteria. Pascale Gagnon, notary, says that: “The type of building, the number of buyers, and the number of separate accommodations, namely, are some of the factors that could impact a notary’s rate. The best way to gauge fees is to directly contact a notary, who will evaluate your case taking into account all of your future residence’s parameters.”

The Taxes

As a home-owner certain taxes are to be expected: the cost of ownership transfer which municipalities apply whenever a property changes hands; CMHC tax, if applicable (for example, 9% in Quebec); municipal taxes; school taxes. These taxes vary by municipality and according to property value. When planning your budget, note that municipal and school taxes are recurring and need to be paid yearly, whereas the others only apply once, at the time of purchase.

Electricity, Television, and Internet Connection Fees

Electricity connection fees are often forgotten by first-time buyers, as well as fees related to opening new Internet and television accounts. Contact your suppliers to check service availability in your new neighbourhood. If you’re moving into a new development, you may need to pay additional fees to connect your neighbourhood to various networks.


Even recent constructions will need some minor renovation work: caulking around the windows, a fresh coat of paint or new tiles in the bathroom. For major cosmetic renos, plan to spend an average of $10,000 for a bathroom and between $25,000 and $75,000 for a remodeled kitchen.

Purchase of Furniture and Appliances

If you’re moving from a two-bedroom apartment to a large single-family home, furnishing can get expensive. Depending on the furniture you choose, your costs could grow quickly, especially if you have several rooms to furnish. Not to mention the lawnmower, garden tools and new patio set…

Moving Fees

Depending on the company and the time of year, you could be looking at an hourly rate of $50 to $250 if you want to take the easy route and hire movers. Recruiting friends and renting a truck isn’t free either. You’re looking at $300 for the day, and that’s not counting the cost of the pizza!

Co-ownership Fees

If you bought a condo, you’ll need to pay co-ownership fees, which include communal expenses such as interior and exterior maintenance, snow removal, etc.

Taking possession of your dream home is an exhilarating time! But if you want the excitement to outweigh the stress, make sure to budget for all the expenses to come, even prior to signing a purchase offer.

For more tips and advice on better understanding the real estate market and managing your personal finances, subscribe to the National Bank’s newsletter.

Edited on 15 August 2017

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