So You Want to Move to Canada, eh? A Buying Guide For Americans

We’ve been getting lots of calls currently from People trying to purchase property in Canada. Some are traders trying to benefit from the low Canadian greenback when shopping for with US {dollars}, whereas others are hoping to maneuver to Canada to flee the present political local weather (sorry about that….)

The method of shopping for actual property in Canada is sort of totally different from shopping for a house within the US. Right here’s what it is advisable know:

Who’s Concerned

When shopping for property in Canada, you’ll typically work with the next folks:

  • A licensed REALTOR – normally, one REALTOR represents the Purchaser and one other represents the Vendor
  • A house inspector
  • An actual property lawyer – in contrast to many states, each the Purchaser and the Vendor will want their very own legal professionals and the legal professionals would be the ones making all of the closing preparations
  • A lender – Except it’s an all-cash buy, you’ll want a financial institution to present you a mortgage. In the event you use a Canadian financial institution, most non-residents require a downpayment of 35% whereas residents can get a mortgage with a downpayment as little as 5% of the acquisition worth (although that will increase to twenty% for funding properties or these price greater than $1 million).
  • An insurance coverage dealer – In the event you aren’t residing within the house your self, insurance coverage may be trickier and dearer

Home Searching

The Home Searching Course of

There are 3 major methods which you can seek for a house in Canada:

  1. On-line: Sadly, we don’t have Zillow or Trulia in Canada, however we do have (to not be confused with – the true property trade in Canada truly owns As an American, you’ll in all probability discover the Canadian property search website a bit dated; properties which might be coming quickly to the market gained’t be listed; and due to privateness laws, there’s quite a bit much less public info than you’re in all probability used to seeing.
  2. Computerized Search Outcomes through E mail: That is probably the most environment friendly means of looking for properties. A licensed REALTOR can arrange a seek for you particular to your needs/wants, and new listings that fall inside these parameters will get emailed to you every day. In the event you’re wanting in Toronto, an agent can arrange on a nifty public model of the MLS so you may seek for properties your self.
  3. In Individual: In the event you’re planning on visiting Canada, that is definitely the easiest way to seek for properties (plus it’s an awesome alternative to truly expertise Canada!)
  4. By way of Video: Lots of our non-resident Consumers select to get video or Skype excursions of properties they’re taken with.

Bought Costs & Knowledge

Canadians take their privateness severely, so chances are you’ll be annoyed by the relative lack of knowledge out there to househunters. In contrast to many of the US, offered worth and tax historical past should not publicly out there or searchable in Canada. We don’t have Zestimates. We are able to’t learn the way many mortgage funds somebody may thave missed. Your actual property agent will help educate you on current gross sales, however you gained’t have the ability to seek for that info on-line.

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Colleges & Neighbourhoods

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Canada has robust Human Rights laws that stops discrimination in housing, nonetheless, in contrast to in a lot of the U.S., REALTORS in Canada ARE in a position to give demographic information, neighbourhood info and touch upon faculty high quality. In all honesty, it puzzles us that this type of info is restricted within the US….it wouldn’t even happen to a Canadian to affiliate the standard of a faculty or availability of providers with discrimination. “Household-neighbourhood” means it’s a superb neighbourhood for households (and has nothing to do with implying singles aren’t welcome). “Nice faculty” doesn’t suggest something concerning the race, ethnicity or nation of origin of the scholars who’re enrolled there.

Circumstances & Contingencies

Affords on Canadian properties usually together with financing and residential inspection situations, although these contingencies are sometimes just for a number of days. As soon as a Purchaser has performed a house inspection or obtained approval from a lender for a mortgage, the property sale is ‘agency’ – which means you may’t again out of it for any purpose.

In Escrow

We don’t have escrow firms in Canada; deposits are held by an actual property brokerage and the lawyer handles the switch of funds.

Cash and Taxes


As of writing, the Canadian greenback is considerably decrease than the US greenback, which means there’s an actual alternative for People to select up Canadian actual property for a fraction of what Canadians are paying. Right here’s a have a look at what’s been occurring to our currencies during the last 5 years:

  • July 2016 – $0.77 US buys 1 Canadian greenback
  • July 2015 – $0.77 US purchased 1 CDN greenback
  • July 2014 – $0.93 US purchased 1 CDN greenback
  • July 2013 – $0.97 US purchased 1 CDN greenback
  • July 2012 – $1 US purchased 1 CDN greenback

For extra details about the forex alternative, try a weblog I wrote final yr: Toronto Actual Property Simply Acquired Cheaper.


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You may both pay on your Canadian property in money, or get a mortgage by means of a Canadian financial institution. Canadian banks often require a downpayment of 35% from a non-resident (which needs to be in a Canadian financial institution for a sure time period earlier than it may be used to purchase a property). Consumers additionally want a Canadian checking account (which they’ve to return to Canada to open), credit score references and naturally an revenue that may pay the mortgage. Whereas a lot of the financing course of is much like what you do within the US, Canadian banks are usually extra conservative and risk-adverse. Click on right here to examine qualifying for a mortgage, Canadian rates of interest and downpayments.

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In Canada, like within the US, you should present a deposit to the Vendor inside 24 hours of a proposal of buy being accepted. In Toronto, typical deposits on a property are round 5% of the acquisition worth and kind a part of the down cost once you shut on the property. However in contrast to in lots of components of the US, in the event you resolve to not shut on a property your deposit is in danger and the Vendor might very effectively have the ability to maintain it.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

You’ve in all probability heard that Canada is the land of taxes, and sadly, that’s not flawed! In the event you purchase a property right here, you’ll have to be ready to pay:

Land Switch Taxes once you take possession of the property – this can be a one-time tax payable to the province. in the event you purchase in Toronto, you’ll must pay a second land switch tax (sorry about that). Take a look at or land switch tax calculator right here.

Municipal Property Taxes yearly – these range by metropolis, however an proprietor of a property in Toronto that’s assessed at $1 million would pay round $6,800 in taxes in 2016.

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Capital Acquire Taxes once you promote – Most often, non-residents are topic to tax on any revenue or good points ensuing from the sale of a taxable Canadian property, together with residential houses, condos, trip properties or land. When a non-Canadian-resident sells a property, the Purchaser of the property should withhold and remit a portion of the acquisition worth to the Canada Income Company (CRA). Usually, this quantity is 25% of the gross promoting worth.(Notice that the precise tax owing could also be totally different, that is simply to ensure the federal government will get its cash by stopping the cash from leaving the nation till they will decide what is definitely owing.) You’ll wish to be sure you get recommendation from an accountant before you purchase a Canadian property – there are doubtless taxes owing to the US authorities as effectively.

Authorized Stuff

The Canadian closing course of is sort of totally different than in America, however you’ll have a lawyer working in your behalf to ensure all of it goes easily.

Closing Prices

In contrast to in lots of components of the US, the Vendor can not pay the Purchaser’s closing prices, so it is advisable be prepared. Usually, closing prices right here will embrace:

  • Steadiness of the Buy Worth – the acquisition worth much less your preliminary deposit. Often, the majority will come out of your lender and grow to be your mortgage.
  • Authorized Charges – quantity varies relying on buy worth and lawyer (roughly $1,800 for a $500,000 buy in Toronto)
  • Title Insurance coverage – typically included in your authorized charges ($250-$400)
  • Mortgage Dealer Fee – if relevant, often paid by the lender
  • Property Survey – if required ($1,000-$2,000)
  • Ontario Land Switch Tax – varies relying on buy worth (see our Land Switch Calculator)
  • Toronto Land Switch Tax (varies relying on buy worth (see our Land Switch Calculator)
  • Property Tax Adjustment – reimbursement to Vendor of property taxes they paid past the cut-off date
  • HST – typically solely relevant on new development condos and homes
  • Tarion Guarantee Charges – guarantee on new development condos and homes solely, not resale, (click on right here to estimate Tarion Charges)
  • Provincial Gross sales Tax – solely relevant on chattels bought from vendor (quantity varies)
  • Changes for Utilities/Rental Charges/and so forth. – reimbursement to Vendor for pay as you go utilities, and so forth. (quantity varies
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The Actual Property Market

As a result of the Canadian and US actual property markets have had such totally different experiences within the final 10 years (the Canadian recession of 2008 lasted about 6 months), we don’t have REO’s, short-sales or foreclosures in Canada. The present actual property market is most of Canada is extraordinarily robust, and also you’re extra more likely to expertise a bidding struggle than discover ‘a deal’. You’ll wish to work with an area actual property agent who will help you stability the dangers and alternatives of proudly owning a property of their group.

Citizenship and Residency

Whereas anyone should purchase a property in Canada, possession doesn’t offer you any residency or immigration rights. And no, simply since you wish to transfer to Canada doesn’t imply that you simply’ll have the ability to! Identical to within the US, we’ve a strict course of that have to be adopted if you wish to immigrate to Canada and it’s not fairly as simple as most assume. Right here’s a hyperlink to an awesome article from Forbes about your immigration choices.

Questions? Want Assist?

We love to assist non-residents purchase property in Canada, although please be aware that we’re unable to reply questions or help with immigration or discovering a job right here. In the event you’re pondering of shopping for property right here, don’t hesitate to get in contact!

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