Budgeting for Home Ownership

BUYING A HOMESmart budgeting is required when buying your home. Saving the down payment and crunching numbers helps determine how much mortgage you can afford. But the costs don’t just end there. Planning in advance ensures that financial surprises will not interfere with your homeownership plans. Be prepared for these additional costs.


This is due when your Offer to Purchase has been accepted and is essentially a gesture of good faith between the buyer and the seller. Your deposit becomes part of your down payment if the deal proceeds. A minimum deposit is usually a small percentage of the purchase price. 

Home inspection

Homebuyers are usually counselled to add a home inspection as a condition to the Offer to Purchase Agreement. A home inspector looks for items that could affect the price and desirability of a home, such as outdated wiring, shabby roofing, an elderly furnace, cracks in the foundation, moisture or mold issues, or poor insulation.


An appraisal may be required to determine the market value of the property you are buying.

Mortgage default insurance

This is a mandatory expense for buyers who make a down payment of less than 20%. The cost of this insurance depends on the amount of your down payment and also certain details of your application. This premium is charged on the amount of the mortgage and can be added on to the mortgage.

Legal Fees

Once you sign your Agreement of Purchase and Sale you will need to hire a real estate lawyer or notary. Your lawyer will conduct a title search, register your new home in your name, register the mortgage properly and make sure the down payment and land transfer tax go to the correct offices on time. 

Title insurance

This protects you from any unpleasant revelations about your property's history that might crop up in the future. This insurance is obtained through your lawyer. 

Interest adjustment

Unless you take possession on the first of the month, you must prepay the amount of interest accrued up to the first day of the next month. This depends on what payment structure you have chosen (monthly, bi weekly, weekly, etc). That sum is due on your closing day or with your first payment, depending on the lender. This is not an extra cost. It is the amount used to align the payment schedule that works for you.

Prepaid bills

The seller may be entitled to a reimbursement, from you, if he or she has prepaid bills (water, gas or hydro), property taxes, or condo fees.

Provincial and Municipal Land Transfer Tax

All provinces, with the exception of Alberta and Saskatchewan, charge a land transfer tax when a property is purchased. This is called a provincial land transfer tax. In Alberta and Saskatchewan, the provincial government charges a much smaller registration fee instead. Land transfer taxes are normally calculated as a percentage of the property value and are to be paid up front.

House insurance

Canadian law states that a home owner must have fire insurance on his or her new property effective when he or she takes possession.  

Utility deposit

If you are a new customer, in most cases be prepared to pay a deposit when you sign up for your services.

Moving costs

Take into account the cost of moving all your possessions from one location to another. Get an estimate of your moving cost.

Source: Jason Nesseth - Mortgage Broker with TMG The Mortgage Group


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With all the crazy cold weather Squamish has been enduring lately, we felt it would be a good time to share some homeowner care tips.

When a snowstorm hits, you may still have to take care of some clean up around your home no matter how well you planned ahead after seeing your friends and neighbors post about the storm on Facebook. Follow these steps to get your property safe and back to normal for you and your family.

What to Look for INSIDE Your Home

  • Windows: Check for cracked or broken windows. If you see something, while you wait for a repairman, cover it with plywood or a thick piece of cloth to help keep the heat in and the pests out.
  • Water Pipes: Stop any possible flooding by shutting off the water supply until a plumber can come over to make repairs.
  • Chimneys: Check your chimney for any structural damage – prevent household fires and smoke inhalation by calling in a professional to fix the damage before using your fireplace.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Make sure the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. If you experience a power outage and need to use your fireplace or burn fuel to stay warm, it’s especially important that you’re protected.
  • Ceilings: A cracked or leaky ceiling could mean roof damage. If there are any structural issues, either find a place to stay outside your home or keep to a safe part of your house until the damage is fixed.

What to Look for OUTSIDE Your Home

  • Power Lines: Stand at your front door and scan the area to see if there are any downed power lines nearby. If there are, stay indoors with your family and pets to stay safe from electric shocks and call your power company to inspect and fix the problem.
  • Clearing Snow: If it’s safe to do so, start as soon as you can – fresh snow is lighter and easier to clear than packed snow. Be sure to dress in layers to prevent hypothermia, warm up slowly by marching in place, and then stretch to avoid pulling a muscle.
  • Trees and Branches: Check your yard for fallen trees and broken branches. Even if you find none, inspect your trees closely to make sure you haven’t missed any cracked tree limbs that may eventually fall and cause damage or injury.
  • Roofs: Check the roofs of your house, garage or shed. Generally, one square-foot of snow that is one-inch deep weighs about a pound. If your roof has up to 12 inches of snow on it, that equals thousands of pounds of stress. Hire a professional to safely remove the snow so you don’t experience damage or leaks. Even if you don’t have a lot of snow on your roof, it’s still important to remove the snow that’s there to prevent an ice dam from forming after it melts. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and stops melting snow from draining off properly.


  • Before You Drive: Before getting your car out of the snow, warm up the engine for at least ten minutes and scrape or brush off any snow or ice that has piled up. To clear snow away from the tires, turn the steering wheel from side to side or dig out with a shovel. Next, rock the vehicle, shifting from forward to reverse and back again. (Check your owner’s manual first — this technique can damage some transmissions.) Avoid spinning the wheels by keeping a light touch on the gas while easing forward and backward.
  • After You Drive: After a few days, go to the car wash to remove any de-icing materials or salt that may be left on or under your car. When the air temperature rises above 35 degrees, salt can cause corrosion and rust. Also, consider changing your windshield wipers because ice from the snowstorm can warp the blades.

Pets: Salted driveways and streets can cause chemical burns on your dog or cat’s paws, especially after long periods of time, so make sure they have booties when they walk outside or be sure to wash their paws clean.

It can feel overwhelming after a snowstorm has passed through your neighborhood. But the sooner you start cleaning up around your home, the faster you and your family can go back to enjoying the winter wonderland.

Source: Metlife.com and WolfPack Home Insepction

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