Buying a House in Toronto: A First-Time Home Buyers Guide

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Buying a house in Toronto as a first-time home buyer can be amazing. Toronto is an exciting place to live, with lots of diverse neighbourhoods and pockets of the city that has a lot to offer. If you’re looking to buy your first home in Toronto – congrats! What an incredible choice. The city is rich with properties of all shapes and sizes, and the market is doing well.

When you look to buy in a busy market like Toronto, in can often feel overwhelming. There are many different home types – detached, semi-detached, town homes, and condos – and also many different areas and price ranges. It can feel daunting! Luckily, with a great Toronto real estate agent and some research it doesn’t have to be.

How to Buy a House in Toronto:

1. Find a good realtor!

This is the number one step, regardless if you’re a first time home buyer or buying your fifth property. A good realtor will help you from step one all the way to the day you bring the moving trucks out front of your brand new home. You can find a good realtor by looking online and reading reviews, asking around, or visiting real estate brokers.

You want to find someone you can trust. Ask lots of questions, and make sure you feel comfortable with the realtor. If you want to really make sure you’re making the best choice, as the realtor for references. At the end of the day, go with what feels best. There are many great realtors in the city, so make sure you find your perfect match. Your realtor will be key in walking you through the entire process, from pre-approval on your mortgage, to house hunting and putting in an offer.

2. Organize your Finances

Toronto is a competitive market since there is a lot of supply and demand. It’s best to get pre-approved before you go house hunting so you know what you can afford and feel at ease knowing you’ll get the mortgage once your offer is accepted. Especially with the first-time home buyer’s stress test, it’s important to talk to your financial advisor and make sure you’re set-up financially for this next step.

How much you can afford will also be a factor in what types of homes your realtor will show you, and what areas you can live in. It’s good to have a comfortable idea of what you’re looking to spend so your realtor can work within your budget.

3. Research the areas in the City

When people think about how to buy a house in Toronto, researching the locations they want to live in is often the biggest to-do item. Toronto has a vast range of areas, all with different things to offer. Do you want to live in the East end or the West end? North, or South? What about Etobicoke or Ajax? Maybe you are looking for a certain school district, or want to be close to public transit (or walking distance to the Go Station).

Take time looking into each area, talking to other people who live there, and spending time walking around the areas. The vibe in the West end is so different than the East end, which is so fun, but everyone has their preference and it’s important to understand what yours is so you realtor can help.

4. Be ready to Act Fast

As we mentioned earlier, the market in Toronto is competitive. When you find that dream home, you’re going to want to make a pretty quick decision on whether or not you want to put in an offer. This is why the above three points are so important! Once you have a good realtor, the finances in order, and know where you want to live, then you’ll be ready to make an offer on that perfect home.

A Good Realtor is the Key to Buying a Home in Toronto

Toronto realtors not only know Toronto, and but they know the real estate market and all of the ins and outs of how it works. Toronto is a big city, but expert knowledge goes a long way. You have to make some choices, like how much you want to spend, what sort of house features you want, and what areas make you happy, but your realtor will do the rest.

Top 4 Homeowner Scams to Watch Out For

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Buying a home is a whirlwind of excitement, paperwork, and changes. While it can be a time to celebrate, it’s also a vulnerable time where some not-so-great people try and take advantage of. Luckily, many homeowners never experience a scam, the unfortunate reality is that some do fall victim to home ownership scams.

The best thing you can do to watch out for scams is do your research, talk to your realtor, and trust your gut. If something feels off, chances are it is! With that, here are some common scams to be mindful of as a homeowner:

Hot Water Scam

Someone calls you to say your hot water heater needs to be inspected, and if not you will be fined by the provincial government. The men are posing as hot water inspectors and are falsely claiming to fix things in the home, while on the lookout for money or valuables they can take.

How to avoid it: A quick Google search or a call to your hot water company, or even 411. If you get a call claiming you might owe money or be fined, look into it before agreeing. Especially if you’ve never heard of it before.

Rental Scam

You move into a new house and get a knock on your door. “Hey, is this house for rent?” Um, nope! You do some digging and realize someone posted your home for rent. Someone is using your address and claiming the deposits for their self and ripping off renters.

How to avoid it: While you can’t avoid this scam unfortunately, you can take action. Call the police right away, get as much information from the people who knock, and provide information to the police when you can to assist in the investigation. You are not at fault here, and it sucks others are being ripped off. The best thing you can do is help find the person responsible.

Utility Scam

Moving into a new home means all new utility bill set-ups. So, when you get a call from a utility company claiming you owe money, it doesn’t sound too fishy. But, the amount is high and they’re asking for a check or credit card. That seems strange, doesn’t it?

How to avoid it: Contact the previous owners, and ask for information about the utility company from the caller. You can even talk to your realtor if you need more information. Don’t pay anything until you verify it.

The “Too Good” Rate Scam

In the rush of putting in an offer for the new home, you suddenly need to find a loan. A company offers you a low credit rate and says you qualify. Great! As you go down the path of securing the loan before closing, the “lender” adds in a ton of new terms and adjustments. It’s too late to back out now – the home is closing! So you sign on and end up way in over your head.

How to avoid it: Work with your bank, realtor, or a trusted lender. Don’t get caught up in low rates that don’t make sense. Remember, if it’s too good to be true – it probably isn’t true!

Outsmart the Scammers

Rest easy knowing many scams can be avoided. By taking the time to slow down, do some research, talk to other trusted people (friends, family, your lawyer or realtor), and following your gut feeling, you can avoid common homeowner scams.

If you feel worried, talk to your realtor and learn more about the common scams and how to avoid them. Your realtor will know what’s par for the course of buying and selling a home, and has experience with the process. Anything that seems out of the ordinary is an instant red flag.

By being aware of the scams, you’re already protecting yourself.

Land Transfer Tax Ontario & Toronto: How Much & Who Pays

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Buying a home is an exciting venture, but it’s also one of the largest purchases many make in their lifetime. While many first time and seasoned home buyers know to crunch the numbers, the one number that can sometimes stand out is the Land Transfer Tax. It’s important to understand this number so that you can budget for it, and avoid any possible sticker shock.

What is the Ontario Land Transfer Tax

The Ontario Land Transfer Tax is a tax which buyers of houses and condos in Ontario pay when they purchase a property. The seller does not pay this tax, and all buyers are responsible for paying this tax when they take possession of a property. This number varies depending on the property, but your realtor and real estate lawyer can help you with what to expect before you put an offer in on the home so you can budget accordingly. It’s important to note that the amount is due on closing.  

What is the Toronto Land Transfer Tax

In addition to Ontario Land Transfer Tax, buyers purchasing a home in Toronto must also pay the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, also called the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT), on top of the Ontario Land Transfer Tax. This tax is applicable to homes east of Highway 427, south of Steeles Ave, west of Scarborough Pickering town line, and north of the lake.

How Much is Land Transfer Tax in Toronto & Ontario

In order to get an estimate on the cost of your land transfer tax, take the total amount of the home value using the property’s purchase and calculate the tax amount based on a percentage.

Here’s a guide to help you:

Ontario land transfer tax rates:

Purchase price of home with % land title transfer fees:

  • Up to and including $55,000 0.5%

  • $55,000.01 to $250,000.00 1.0%

  • $250,000.01 to $368,333 1.5%

  • $368,334 to $400,000.00 1.5%

  • $400,000.00 to $2,000,000.00 2.0%

  • Over $2,000,000.00 2.5%

Toronto land transfer tax rates:

Purchase price of home with % land title transfer fees:

  • Up to and including $55,000 0.5%

  • $55,000.01 to $250,000.00 1.0%

  • $250,000.01 up to and including $400,000.00 1.5%

  • $400,000.01 up to and including $2,000,000.00 2.0%

  • Over $2,000,000 2.5%

First Time Home Buyer Land Transfer Tax

First time home buyers do need to pay land transfer tax in Ontario and Toronto, but are eligible for a rebate.

Ontario First Time Home Buyer Land Transfer Tax Rebate

Luckily, first time home buyers are eligible for a tax refund of the Ontario land transfer tax, up to a maximum of $4,000. This will cover full tax for any homes purchased up to $368,333 and if your home purchase price is above that, you will still get the $4,000 rebate but will cover the rest of the land transfer amount. There are some stipulations, but many first time buyers do qualify for this rebate. Talk to your realtor if you’re not sure.

Land Transfer Tax Exemptions

You may also be exempt from paying land transfer tax on certain transfers of land, such as transfer between spouses, transfers of farmed land between family members, transfers from an individual to a family business corporation, or transfer of a life lease in a non-profit organization situation. Your realtor and your real estate lawyer can help you navigate these instances.

Final Words on Toronto & Ontario Land Transfer Taxes

If you have any questions about your land transfer tax on a potential new home, talk to your realtor today. We are here to help guide you through the entire process, and help you understand everything that goes into buying your new home.

For more information about the provincial land transfer tax, please visit:

Top Home Trends for 2019

Top Home Trends for 2019

Spring is (almost) in the air and many home owners are getting ready to freshen up their home, either to sell or to increase their home value for when they do choose to sell in a few years. So, what are the top home trends for 2019? From colour palettes to new technology, there are a lot of fun things in store. Here are the top five trends I’ve been noticing in the Toronto market.

Need to Know Guide for Foreign Buyers of Toronto Real Estate

Need to Know Guide for Foreign Buyers of Toronto Real Estate

Buying a home in Canada is a great investment. The economy is booming and the real estate market is going strong as the city and suburbs continue to grow.

While buying a home as a foreign investor is an exciting venture, it does require some research and understanding of what buying property in Canada entails. Here are a few things you need to know if you are looking to buying property in Canada as a non-resident.

How to Sell a House in Toronto with a Realtor

How to Sell a House in Toronto with a Realtor

Selling a home in Toronto with a realtor is an exciting venture. The city’s real estate market is still very hot, and buyers are busy looking to buy the perfect home or investment property. Working with a real estate agent to sell your Toronto home is a smart idea – realtors understand the process, know the market, and can ensure that everything is done professionally and legally.

5 Easy Ways to Get Your Yard Looking Great

5 Easy Ways to Get Your Yard Looking Great

Every spring and summer, homeowners begin the quest for the perfect, lush green lawn and beautiful yard. While for some, it may seem like a daydream, for others achieving the best yard is a breeze. What’s the secret? A bit of TLC and attentiveness, and your yard should thrive this summer. It doesn’t have to be a ton of work – but a few tweaks should get your grass growing green and flowers blooming in no time.

Babyproofing Your Home

Babyproofing Your Home

Babyproofing is an exercise many families go through – whether they’re expecting their own child or someone in the family is about to have a new baby that will be coming around. In a world full of distractions and safety hazards, it’s natural to want to make sure your home is a safe haven for a new baby or toddler. Luckily, the process can be stress-free and easy with a few easy tweaks.