Buying a home involves sneaky hidden costs that are often overlooked. Be prepared for fees that go beyond the mortgage. The time for you to budget for those "end" expenses is now!

MANDATORY FEES
Deposit: Prepare ~5% of the purchase price readily available in cash.

Legal Fees: Lawyer and notary fees are dependent on the complexity of the transactions. A lawyer or notary public represents your needs and interests and will facilitate transactions between you, the seller and the bank on closing day. For straightforward transactions, the average cost will range from $600 to $1,200.

Property Transfer Tax (PTT): For the first $200,000, you pay 1% and 2% for the remaining balance.

Great News for First-Time Home Buyers! Effective as of February 19, 2014, the government has announced a reduction in the tax burden for first-time buyers. Under the PTT First-Time Home Buyers' Exemption program, qualifying first-time buyers can buy a home worth up to $475,000. The previous threshold was $425,000. 

More information regarding the reduced tax burden can be found on our previously published blog post: Government Reduces Tax Burden on First-Time Buyers

Stay tuned for additional hidden fees of buying a home in subsequent posts!

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Purchasing a home in itself can be stressful enough. Being bombarded with unfamiliar jargon can add to that stress. Fortunately for you, we've created a helpful cheat sheet that will make you a mortgage expert in no time!

Collateral Mortgage
While this financing tool is generally not in the forefront in terms of mortgage plans, it has definitely been around for quite some time. With a collateral mortgage, you still have some elements of a conventional mortgage such as a predetermined interest rate and term. This loan agreement is secured by the collateral security of a mortgage against your home. Depending on the lender, you may be able to have your mortgage registered for up to 125% of its value. 

Advantages of a Collateral Mortgage
- You're able to diversify your mortgage with multiple components (Ie/ Part fixed-rate, part variable-rate, part secured line of credit)
- You're able to separate different portions of your mortgage for tax purposes.
- Easy to tap into your equity for debt consolidation, renovations or to invest in property or investments easily and in a cost effective manner. In addition, there are no legal fees associated with this.

Disadvantages of a Collateral Mortgage
- Having a collateral mortgage ties you to one bank
- No freedom to switch or transfer to another lender like a conventional mortgage. If you're wanting to switch to another lender for their attractive interest rates or features, you must start from the beginning which generally means incurring legal costs of $500-$1000.
- Not offered by all lending institutions

 This concludes our 4-part series. Hopefully we have equipped you with the tools necessary to be able to make wise decisions on what plan is best suited for your needs. Good luck in choosing a plan that is perfect for you!

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Purchasing a home in itself can be stressful enough. Being bombarded with unfamiliar jargon can add to that stress. Fortunately for you, we've created a helpful cheat sheet that will make you a mortgage expert in no time!

No-Frills Mortgage
It is a basic, bare-bones fixed-rate mortgage. While the rates quoted are generally quite low, there are some downsides to the low rates which we will touch base on below. 

Advantages of a No-Frills Mortgage
- Low interest rates (Generally cheaper than fully-featured mortgages)
- Stability in payment amounts

Disadvantages of a No-Frills Mortgage
- Very limited prepayment privileges (Restrictions on how many prepayments you're allowed to make)
- High penalties incurred for refinancing or paying out the mortgage
- No added flexibilty for payment options 

 By the end of this 4-part series, you'll be well informed on the various elements involved in mortgage plans and you'll be able to decide on what plan is best suited for your needs.

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This quick & easy guide will pinpoint affordable housing in a city that is known for its exorbitant housing prices.

- For first-time buyers searching for affordable single family homes, Hastings Sunrise is an excellent neighbourhood due to its easy access to downtown Vancouver, its affordability and its surrounding amenities. 

- Many of the homes in Hastings Sunrise have potential suites which can double as rental income in helping you reduce your mortgage faster.

- This neighbourhood is home to lots of upcoming development. Homes in this area average around a little under $1M.

- For those searching for condos, the up-and-coming neighbourhoods are Mount Pleasant, Fraser Street & Chinatown. With Mount Pleasant being the Main Street renaissance, Fraser Street being the next Main Street and Chinatown being situated near the Olympic Village and the Seawall, these areas are considered to be a part of Vancouver's hot neighbourhoods.

- Prices in these three neighbourhoods average around $350K which will buy you a small one-bedroom in a newer building.

Do your research and consider the aforementioned booming neighbourhoods to see which area best meets all of your needs. For any questions on real estate, contact us today by email at amalia@wesellvancouver.ca or by phone at 604-618-7000!

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There are 8 common mistakes that can be easily avoided during the purchase of a new home which are as follows:

[1] Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender

[2] Being heavily influenced by "first impressions" in the decision making process

[3] Overlooking the need for a home inspection prior to buying your home

[4] Not fully knowing and comprehending your rights and obligations as per the "Offer to Purchase"

[5] Blindly making an offer based on the asking price rather than the market value

[6] Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood prior to buying your home

[7] Neglecting to research on home insurance

[8] Failing to recognize the various styles of negotiation 

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you are now ready to make wise, informed decisions on the purchase of your new home. To learn more, feel free to contact us by phone at 604-618-7000 or by e-mail at amalia@wesellvancouver.ca.

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