Renting vs. Home Ownership
This is a decision which many people face, and the decision is not as easy to make as it may sound.
As a homeowner, you can reasonably expect the equity in your home to increase over time as your mortgage is paid down. That, combined with regular appreciation in property values, can be a rapid and rewarding way to increase your net worth. In contrast, the person renting over the same amount of time is left with no property investment but may have enjoyed lower living expenses and the opportunity to invest in other opportunities.
When comparing owning to renting, you have to add up all of the figures, including the cost of your home, the size of your down payment, utilities, immediate repairs, interest rates and insurance, and compare them with how much you are currently spending on rent.
Of course, you also have to place a value on the enjoyment and satisfaction that you will derive from owning your own home.
What to Expect from a Real Estate Professional
A REALTOR® will not take it for granted that you know all the ins and outs of the buying/ selling process. Instead, he or she will provide you with a full explanation of what to expect and that’s important so you’re not faced with any surprises along the way.
An Assessment of Your Needs
One of the first questions a REALTOR® will ask is, Why are you moving? A REALTOR® will also explore any time constraints you might have (perhaps imposed by the need to relocate for employment), your financial situation and any future plans.
A Plan to Find Your Dream Home
A REALTOR® will help you identify what you want in your new residence. A pool? A garage? An extra room? A particular building design? What about the neighbourhood? Proximity to schools or work? A REALTOR® will compare your needs, wants and budget with what is available on the market and make recommendations that save you time and effort.
He or she will also accompany you as you view houses and help you assess their suitability and price. As an expert on a property, a REALTOR® can provide facts on the neighbourhoods, the cost of heating, the condition of the furnace, and so on. In other words, he or she will work with you to achieve your dream.
Access to Properties for Sale
Multiple Listing Service® or MLS® is an exclusive service accessible only through a REALTOR® and it can be a valuable tool. Through MLS®, the details of a wide variety of listed properties are made available to the REALTOR® you work with. That can save you a tremendous amount of time and effort in your hunt for the right home.
Knowledge of Financing Options
REALTORS® have extensive knowledge of the financing choices available to home buyers and there options and obtaining financing at the most attractive prevailing rates and terms.
A Skilled Negotiator
REALTORS® are experienced in arranging fair deals. He or she will assist in negotiating an offer, acting as a mediator to head off potential conflicts between you and the seller, and draw up a legally binding agreement.
Honesty and Integrity
Most real estate professionals in our province are member of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and only members of OREA can call themselves REALTORS®
When you work with a REALTOR®, you can expect not only strict adherence to provincial laws, but also adherence to a Code of Ethics. And that code is very important to you because it assures you will receive the highest level of service, honesty and integrity.
Highest Professional Standards
Before receiving a real estate license, candidates must successfully complete an extensive course of study developed by OREA on behalf of the Real Estate Council Ontario. That is only the beginning: in the first two years of practice, licensees are required to successfully complete three additional courses as part of their articling with an experienced broker. In addition, all licensees must continue to attend courses throughout their careers in order to maintain their license.
“The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.”
“The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Associate (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.”
Closing costs are a list of charges your lawyer presents to you on the closing date of your home. Many people are surprised at the additional costs over and above the price of the home.
According to the CMHC and Genworth Financial you should have at least 1.5% of the purchase price for closing costs in addition to the down payment (have around 2.5% to be on the safe side). The costs vary among provinces and cities. Below you will find a brief explanation of these costs. Please note these are some of the closing costs you may encounter depending on your specific situation. Use this as a guideline then talk with your lawyer who can provide a more realistic estimate for your situation.
Appraisal Fee Generally Required with New Homes
An appraisal provides the lender with a professional opinion of the market value of the property. This cost is normally the responsibility of the homeowner and it can cost between $100 – $300.
Home Inspection Fee Generally Required with Resale Homes
A professional inspection of the home, top to bottom, is for the benefit of the buyer. A home inspection can cost anywhere from $300 – $400 and is well worth the investment. When hiring a home inspector make sure the inspector has liability insurance just in case they overlook something.
Mortgage lenders require a certificate of fire insurance to be in place from the time you take possession of the home. The amount required is generally the amount of the mortgage or the replacement cost of the home. This cost can vary on the property size, amount of coverage, the insurance company and the municipality. The cost can vary anywhere from $250-$600 annually for most properties.
Provincial Sales Tax on Mortgage Insurance
If your mortgage is insured, (CMHC or Genworth Financial), you will be required to pay the applicable taxes on the insurance premium on closing. While the insurance premium can be added to the mortgage amount, the tax must be paid at closing.
Land Survey Fee or Title Insurance Fee
A recent survey of the property is usually required by lenders. If one is not available the cost can range between $600 – $900 for a new survey. In lieu of the survey most lenders today will accept title insurance which can cost considerably less.
Legal Costs and Disbursements
Lawyers and notaries charge fees for their services involved in drafting the title deed, preparing the mortgage, and conducting the various searches. Disbursements are out-of-pocket expenses incurred during the process such as registrations, searches, and supplies.
Land Transfer Tax
Most provinces charge a land transfer tax payable by the purchaser. The amount varies depending on the province. Land transfer tax is based on the purchase price. First time home buyers purchasing a new or re-sale home may be entitled to a refund.
New Home Warranty
In most provinces new homes are covered by a new home warranty program. The cost to the purchaser for this warranty is approximately $600 and should the builder default or fail to build to an agreed-upon standard the fund will finish or repair the deficiencies to a maximum amount. For more information on Ontario new home warranty visit http://www.tarion.com.
HST is payable on the purchase of a newly constructed homes only. If you are purchasing a new home make sure you know who pays this, you or the builder. On the offer the purchase price will say “Plus HST” or “HST Included” and who gets any HST rebates. Many builders have included this cost into the purchase price so the buyer does not have to come up with it at closing.
An estimate should be made for closing adjustments for bills the seller has prepaid such as property taxes, utility bills, and other charges. Any bills after the closing date are the responsibility of the purchaser. A lawyer will let you know what they are once the various searches have been completed.