Many reasons have lead people to buy a property in Canada. It might be a second-home purchase, a permanent immigration, or a retirement there. Moreover, Canada’s property market is definitely a buyer’s market. Which makes the country attractive for foreigners, especially residential property.
About foreign ownership
Canada has an open-door policy. There is no restriction on foreign ownership. The right to own a property in the country is not based on the citizenship but on the residency.
As a permanent resident, a foreigner has the right to live and to buy a property in Canada.
As a non-resident, you also have the right to buy a property with the condition to spend less than 6 months per year in Canada. Actually, the same rule applies for non-resident Canadians.
Choose a location
First thing, you have to choose a location for your new home! You might already know where you want to go. Each city has its pros and cons and the weather can be different as the country is large. Montreal used to have the lowest residential property prices of Canada’s major cities. This is also the city where we find the most immigrants from abroad, with Toronto and Vancouver.
You also have to decide what kind of property you want. A tip is to buy a property in a condominium, it is an appealing option in Canada. This way you don’t care about the maintenance and repairs of the building. It also provides a wide range of entertainment and recreational activities.
Know the buying process
Regulations of buying a property in Canada differ from other countries. Even if each province has its own rules, the buying process in Canada remains the same.
An estate agent, called a realtor, usually has access to all the properties available in the area. So this is not the seller who chooses the realtor but the buyer who does. Once you’ve chosen a property you name a realtor. The latter will write an Offer-to-Purchase to submit to the seller. With the offer comes a deposit of no more than 10% of the property price. The deposit is refundable in case the sale doesn’t happen. If the seller agrees with the offer then the sale can proceed.
Anticipate the fees
In Canada, the cost of buying a property is between 5% and 11% of the property price. Makes the country attractive as it is lower than other westerners countries. The GST (Goods and Services Tax) of 7% and the PST (Provincial Sales Tax) are already included in the price.
Overview of the different fees:
- Realtor’s fees: you’re not concerned by these fees as they’re paid by the seller.
- Lawyer’s fees include the Offer-to-Purchase, mortgage documents, and finalization of the acquisition. around 1’000$.
- Home Inspection Fee depends on the area of service and type of property. Expect 500$.
- Property Insurance: count 500$ per year.
- Condominium Fees: a monthly charge for the general building maintenance, repairs, and facilities.
- Property Tax: the rates of the annual tax depend on the location, the type, and the assessed value of the property. Get more information on taxes in Canada.
Get a home purchase cost estimate.
Finance your purchase
The Canadian dollar is among the currencies the most traded in the world. There are no restriction on buying or selling Canadian currency.
First, consider the exchange rate: buying a house is a big decision. You’re about either to spend your life’s savings or to commit for a loan for years. When converting a big amount of money into Canadian dollar a favorable rate can make you save a lot. That’s why the best is to track the Canadian dollar exchange rate. A useful tool called Neomy can definitely help you with that.
You can set a forward contract with a transfer company. It means to lock an exchange rate now in advance (up to several years) for a future transfer. Useful if the exchange rate is favorable and you want to keep it. Or you can set a spot contract. It means you buy Canadian dollars now for a future delivery. Those two contracts allow to protect yourself against exchange rate fluctuations.
Second, find the best way to transfer your money. Banks are definitely not the best option to convert your money into Canadian dollars. Banks charge huge fees and offer a poor exchange rate because they need to cover their structural costs. Plenty of other options exists to send money abroad. Find the best solution on a comparison platform.
Get more information on how to send money to Canada.
Tip: for a new immigrant to Canada with no necessary Canadian bank record it is difficult to get a loan. Look at Rent-to-Own options.