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What are the monthly costs of buying a house in Canada?

So, you’ve successfully bought your home! You went through the application process of getting a mortgage, made an offer on your ideal property, had it accepted, and now you’re preparing to move in. However, it is always important to keep in mind that when you’re budgeting for your home, the mortgage payment isn’t going to be your only regular expense associated with the property. These extra costs can really add up fast, so it is always wise to create a budget to make sure that you really can afford to keep up with all payments.

A lot of these costs will depend on exactly where the property is located and the size and type of utilities attached to it.

Property Tax

Property taxes are one of the key ways which municipalities create income across Canada, and the income this tax gathers is generally used to pay for some of the things we often take for granted, such as:

  • Street lighting
  • Road maintenance
  • Waste collection
  • Fire Protection
  • Snow removal
  • Etc

Each municipality will have a different property tax rate, and some may be more expensive than others. As a general estimate, you can expect to pay anywhere from 0.5% to 2.5% based on your home’s current market value. The cost of the property tax is paid once per year.

As an example, if your property was worth $500,000 and your local area charges 1.5% as a property tax, your total annual cost would be $7,500

Utilities

We all dread receiving utility bills every month, but unfortunately, we have to pay them to keep the essential services within our home running. This will include water, power, sewage costs, heating etc.

Utility costs can vary quite widely depending on the service providers in your area, as well as the specific property you live in. Larger properties will almost always be more expensive to keep warm, for example. The construction of your home can also have a large impact. Older homes tend to be less well insulated, and therefore, you will spend more on heating bills.

It would be prudent to reach out to some local utility companies and get an accurate estimate of the potential utility costs of the property you are purchasing. Alternatively, the real estate agent may provide a rough estimate after discussions with the seller.

You should always add utility costs to your monthly budget beyond the initial cost of the mortgage. These bills, like your mortgage payment, will most likely be due monthly and, therefore, can take quite a strain on your monthly cash flow.

When you first move into your home, remember to contact all your required utility companies to set up the accounts in your name and begin making your monthly payments.

Condominium Fees

Condominium fees (Condo fees) are essential fees utilized by the building to pay for a wide variety of expenses. A condo fee may cover all of your utilities or some of them. The remainder will be paid into the condominium association’s fund to pay for any required maintenance of the building’s interior and exterior areas.

Like property taxes, condo fees can vary dramatically depending on where you live, as well as the specific building you live in. As an example, properties in Toronto average $0.50 per square foot in condo fees.

An essential factor in understanding when looking to purchase a condo is exactly what the condo fees cover, as you may find out that it covers a lot more or a lot less than you initially expected. Gaining an understanding of this monthly expense will allow you to add that into your monthly budget before making an offer on a property.

Home Insurance

Insuring your property will give you some protection against potential damage to your property. This can include events such as flooding or instances of vandalism or theft against your property.

It is common for lenders to require home insurance to get approval for a mortgage. This is on the basis that, technically speaking, the property you have purchased is their property if you default on your mortgage, and therefore they want to protect the asset they are lending against.

Home insurance is paid either annually or monthly. Some may prefer to pay this annually as there are so many other monthly payments that will come out of your account when owning a home.

Cable, Phone and Internet

This is an expense that we all use daily, but many forget to budget for it when they are looking to buy a new home. Sometimes these costs have set-up fees when moving into a new home as well, so you may be hit with some slightly higher than usual expenses when you first move into your property.

A good estimate to get your cable, phone and internet setup would be a $150 per month payment. Remember to factor that into your monthly budgeting plan.

Maintenance Costs

There are general maintenance costs for a property, and then there are surprise unwanted costs as well. This could be anything from general work on the house, such as light plumbing or some new light fixtures to fix the old ones, or just mowing the lawn. Or it could be a whole roof replacement due to damage over time.

A general rule is to factor in 3% to 5% of your home’s value annually as general maintenance cost throughout the year.

Newer homes naturally come with lower costs associated with them, and the costs will be more expected and general in nature. However, an older property that perhaps hasn’t been well cared for could result in some shock large expenses out of the blue.

It is worth noting that if you live in a condo, some maintenance expenses will be covered by your condo fee, and you should definitely find out exactly what expenses are covered when you move in.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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