blog December 29, 2019

How much does closing really cost? – The blog of a first time home buyer

This part was probably the biggest shocker to me, the actual cost of buying a home. Spoiler alert, it’s not just the 5% you need for a down-payment! Here how much my house actually ended up costing.


Down payment – $10,000


The down-payment is of course the largest single fee associated with the purchase. This included a $1000 deposit at the time my offer was accepted, with the remaining $9000 due at closing.


Inspection – $0


No, I didn’t get a crazy deal on an inspector, I chose to do my own inspection with a friend whose construction background I trust. The home I bought was five years old, so I made the decision to save myself $500-$700 and not hire an inspector. Full disclosure: I would NOT recommend doing this yourself. A professional can find many potential upcoming issues.


Property Tax – $1040


Yearly property taxes are paid in roughly the middle of the calendar year, and they cover the whole year, so when you buy a home, you need to reimburse the portion of the year that you will own the home.


Here’s the kicker – properties that are not inhabited by their owner in New Brunswick are charged a nearly double tax rate. (NB is the only province that does this) When you buy a home that is being rented (like I did), then you pay back that current rate, and eventually are reimbursed. As of the time of writing, I’m still waiting on a nearly $500 refund.


HST – $0


Only brand new homes are subject to HST, which mine was not. Kind of makes you wonder why you pay HST on a used vehicle…


Land Transfer Tax – $2050


Usually right around 1% of the price of the home. This is the fee to the province to change the property into your name. I don’t claim to understand any more of this, but to me I would argue that this should be a flat fee, but I’m in marketing, not politics.


Default Insurance (CMHC fee) – $0


This fee (4.5% of the mortgage amount in my case) is added on to the mortgage, so no extra fee is paid at closing.


Lawyer – $1350


This fee covers the lawyer who managed the transaction, the title insurance, and several other small things


Home Association – $400 + $47


I purchased a townhouse which has monthly maintenance (snow, lawn, and water) covered by my townhouse’s association. I had to pay a one time $400 contingency fee as well as the rest of the month’s maintenance fee.

NB Power – $138 in transfer fees


Ending my old addresses power and starting the new home’s power cost $120+ tax in fees, in addition to all the regular charge.


New Appliances – $1450 (after I sold my old set)


My home came with a pretty gross washer, so I ordered a new set right away and sold the old pair. I’m not going to add this in the closing cost total since I didn’t technically need to buy this.


Bell – $70


This was the fee to move my internet. I was actually charged about $400, but that’s another rant…


Moving – $120


I tried to keep moving costs as low as possible, so I grabbed a friend, rented a uhaul, had someone deliver pizza and beer (once driving was finished), and did it all myself. As I carried a 60 kg couch up to the 3rd floor I regretted this, but I saved some money, and that’s what counts, right?


So, in total, my closing costs ended up approximately $15,200, or 8.1% of the purchase price, not just the 5% of the down payment. There’s a lot of little things that sneak up on you, so my best recommendation is to avoid stress, don’t try to purchase a home without at least 10% of the purchase price in savings.



Andy Tree is a professional Wedding Photographer, marketing expert, coffee lover, millennial, board game enthusiast, and overall nerd. Over the next weeks he’ll fill you in on every step of his search and first home purchase.

Send us a message on Facebook if you have any specific questions or if you’re ready to start your own search!

blog December 23, 2019

The road to ownership – The blog of a first time home buyer

Your offer is accepted and you nearly have the keys to your new house, congrats!  There’s just a few steps, called conditions, that you have to take that will take your accepted offer to a sold home. Typically, you’ll have around two weeks to take care of these, which may seem like a lot, but trust me, you’ll want to tackle these as soon as you can.


One invaluable thing Rob had ready for me throughout my process was a “Roadmap to Sold”, a checklist and explanation of the conditions, when they were due, and some recommended companies to work with. If you’re not working with Rob, ask your REALTOR®️ for one such list, hopefully they’ll have something similar for you which will really help keep everything in order.




  • Accepted offer sent to mortgage specialist 



Once your offer is accepted and has the final signatures from all parties, it will be sent to your mortgage specialist to begin the financing approval. Make sure you contact your mortgage specialist right away to find out what they still need from you and get it to them ASAP! The final application cannot be submitted for approval until they have all the required documents and this part takes the longest. 


In my case, I needed to get two extra documents, even though they were fine for the pre approval. Silly things like the date of my partner’s employment letter, which was within 60 days when we were pre-approved, but once we actually were trying to buy, it was “too old”, so we needed another one. You could be asked for nearly anything, so be sure you get this step started as soon as possible!


  1. Submit the deposit


With your agreement, you’re required to submit a deposit, which is held by the company who has the property listed for sale. Who you send the deposit to, and for how much, depends on your deal, so be sure to get the exact details from your REALTOR®️.


  1. Insurance Quotes 


It’s a good idea to call at least three different insurance companies and obtain quotes for property insurance. This is a self-fulfilling condition, so you are looking for coverage and cost that you are satisfied with. Basically, you can look into this as much or as little as you’d like, then tell your REALTOR®️ you’re all set and boom, condition complete. You don’t actually purchase a policy at this stage, it’s just getting quotes.


From my experience, please do check many different places. I went to four; the first three were all within $50 per year of each other, the fourth was $600 less for even better coverage. Shop around! There may also be discounts for your university or career field, for details like how many smoke detectors or security cameras you have, etc. Also, bundling in your auto insurance may save you more.


  1. Property Disclosure Statement 


You’ll receive a copy of the Property Disclosure Statement form filled out by the sellers. This form covers many topics and is to be completed based on the best of their knowledge while they lived at the property. You’ll review the results with your REALTORⓇ to get an idea of what the seller has dealt with while they lived in the home.


  1. Home Inspection


By now, you should have received the financing approval letter from your mortgage specialist and are on the home stretch. This, too, is a self-fulfilling condition and is meant for you to have a more thorough look at the property. Although it is highly recommended to hire a professional home inspector to help you meet this condition, it is not mandatory that you use one. You may choose to have/hire independent trades (carpenter, electrician, plumber, landscaper, etc.) to view the property, or inspect the property on your own. The purpose of the inspection is to have a better understanding and to be satisfied with the property you are purchasing. 


While the inspection will cost you money, not running into an unforeseen repair in the near future is worth the peace of mind, in my opinion. The results of your inspection will also give you leverage if you do need to renegotiate your offer based on what you find.  Discuss your options with your REALTORⓇ.


Once completed, your REALTORⓇ will ask you the following: Knowing what you know now, do you still want to purchase the property? The answer should be Yes or No. However, if there is a larger issue that you had no prior knowledge of and it greatly alters your opinion of the property, but not enough to fully walk away, you may ask for the sellers to correct the issue or reduce the purchase price to offset the concern. 


  1.     Water Sample (for homes on well water)


When purchasing a property outside the city limits (not on city mains water), it is a requirement of the banks for there to be drinkable water at the property. Water samples should be taken at the time of the inspection and it is highly recommended to have a professional (Home Inspectors count) collect and deliver the water sample to the lab. Although, it is not mandatory for a professional to take the sample.


Once all the boxes are checked and forms signed, and you don’t have anything to change about your offer, the house is officially sold! Congratulations! Your move date might be next week, or it could be months away, but the house is officially (almost) yours! Next week I’m going to focus a little bit on the real cost of closing the deal.




Andy Tree is a professional Wedding Photographer, marketing expert, coffee lover, millennial, board game enthusiast, and overall nerd. Over the next weeks he’ll fill you in on every step of his search and first home purchase.

Send us a message on Facebook if you have any specific questions or if you’re ready to start your own search!

blog December 15, 2019

Offers and counter offers – The blog of a first time home buyer

You’ve found a house you love (or like, it doesn’t have to be a love-at-first-sight kind of deal) and you’re ready to make an offer, what happens next? 


Firstly, this process is going to be an exercise in teamwork and trust between you and your REALTORⓇ, which is why it is so important that you choose the right one for your needs! For my home, my offer was pretty simple. There was only one back-and-forth negotiating price (I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to push hard, I really just wanted to be sure we got it!). Rob had to negotiate his cut, because the home I wanted was listed privately, otherwise everything from the offer standpoint went very smoothly.


The offer itself might sound like an intimidating document, but it is really just this information broken up:


  • Your name(s), the seller(s) name(s), and the address of the property
    • This one’s pretty obvious
  • The price you’re offering to pay 
    • This price does not include any applicable CMHC fees that would be added to your mortgage if you pay under a 20% deposit.
  • Extra items you want included
    • The general rule is that if you turned the house upside down and the object didn’t move, it is assumed to be included in the house. Usual items include window coverings (like blinds), bathroom mirrors, and major appliances. If there’s a storage unit, rolling kitchen island, etc., you can always see if the seller is willing to keep it as a part of the home, but keep in mind the more you ask for, the less the sellers will be willing to negotiate price.
  • The date you’d like to take possession
    • This is your closing date, or the day you’ll take legal ownership of the property (typically at the end of the business day, so I recommend you don’t plan to move on this date)
  • The date and time the offer expires
    • A date and time set between you and your REALTORⓇ for when this offer expires. Typically you do not give much time to encourage a quick acceptance or counter.
  • All other conditions to be met
    • This includes the offer being conditional on a satisfactory home inspection. The inspection (which is at your own cost), may turn up unknown issues which will cause you to adjust your offer or walk away. You also might have agreed upon something being fixed, changed, painted, etc. Lastly, it will often ask for a disclosure statement, which is a document signed by the current owner disclosing any issues or repairs that they know of while they lived in the home.


You’ll fill in these details with your REALTORⓇ and likely submit the offer online. If you’re like me, you’ll be almost holding you breath waiting for the response, but be patient! Hopefully you’ll hear back by your offer’s expiration time (you might not though). When you do hear back, one of four things will happen:


The Offer is accepted: Yay! Your offer was reasonable and the sellers have agreed to all your terms. Move on to next week’s blog post because you have an accepted offer!


The Offer is rejected: On no! To the seller, your offer wasn’t reasonable enough to bother countering, and it has been rejected altogether. Your REALTORⓇ might be able to get some more inside information about why, but don’t get too discouraged! You could always write another offer or continue your search.


Your Offer is countered: The most likely outcome is that your offer is countered. They might agree with some of your conditions, they might counter back at a different price, they might not like the proposed closing date, etc. There’s a million reasons your offer could be countered, but now it’s your decision on what to do.


You enter into a multiple offer situation: In the case where multiple parties put in an offer on the same property, you might have to adjust your offer to “beat” out the other offer(s). You wouldn’t see this on a counter, but you’d find out from your REALTORⓇ.


No matter what you hear back, what you do next is up to you! You can continue negotiations, you can walk away, or you can accept their offer and move forward. Your REALTORⓇ will likely have advice, particularly if they’re an experienced negotiator. At the end of the day you’ll either have an accepted offer (so look out for next week’s post) or you’ll be continuing your search.



Andy Tree is a professional Wedding Photographer, marketing expert, coffee lover, millennial, board game enthusiast, and overall nerd. Over the next weeks he’ll fill you in on every step of his search and first home purchase.

Send us a message on Facebook if you have any specific questions or if you’re ready to start your own search!