Category Archives: House

I have helped quite a few non-residents to buy property here in Ottawa, so I thought I would create a How to Buy Property in Ottawa for Non-Resident Buyers and most of the answers to the questions that come up repeatedly with my foreign buyers:

NON-RESIDENTS QUESTIONS REGARDING PURCHASE OF PROPERTY


Can I buy a property in Canada?

People of the world are welcome to purchase property here in Canada. Canada does not put many restrictions on the amount or kind of real estate one can buy. In Ontario areas like the Greater Golden Horseshoe [an area that stretches from the Niagara Region to Peterborough ] there is a 15% Non-Resident tax that must be paid by non citizens and non permanent residents that includes corporations and trust. The good news is that OTTAWA does NOT have such restriction as of yet and you will NOT be charged 15% at all.
Below is a map that shows the area that has the 15% tax for non residents

Greater Golden Horseshoe

Greater Golden Horseshoe, Area: Brant, Dufferin, Durham, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, Northumberland, Peel, Peterborough, Simcoe, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and York.

Will I be able to immigrate to Canada if I purchase a property?

Unfortunately, owning a house here in Canada does not grant you an immigration status. One will still have to qualify in the usual ways. Creating ties with a country by purchasing a property there might be a logical step and for more information on immigration please visit the Government of Canada Immigration website.

My spouse is a Canadian resident but I’m not. Are there any rules for us?

The rules of purchase as a non resident does not apply in this case since your spouse is a Canadian resident/citizen. Note that if your spouse does not live in Canada for more than half the year then s/he will be considered as non-residents and the tax implications and higher down payment amounts will apply to your case. Again, if you are purchasing in Ottawa then there is no 15% tax, which makes Ottawa an ideal place for many in Ontario.

MORTGAGES FOR NON-RESIDENTS


Can I get a mortgage as a non-resident in Canada?

Yes, you can and some banks are more strict than others. There are some requirements though, like a minimum down payment of 35-50% (salaried people have less down payment requirements than self employed usually) in cash and other required documents. Different banks have different rules, the best is to see a mortgage specialist at a bank or a mortgage brokerage, which I will be happy to refer you with confidence.

Do I get a different interest rate as a non-resident?

Most non-residents are eligible for the same interest rate as Canadians, but again I would strongly suggest seeing a mortgage specialist for it since there could be tax implications, exemptions etc. Again, I will be more than happy to provide you with couple of specialist names for tax implications and such.

Do I have to deposit my down payment in a Bank first?

Most financial institutions require that you transfer the money into a Canadian Bank institute for at least 30 days before closing the purchase of the property, they usually would like to trace your source of payment back 90 days also. Thus, the earlier you have your down payment in a Canadian Bank the less the headache you face before and during closing. Usually, one needs to be present during opening a bank account here in Canada.

Do I have to make a deposit to purchase a property?

All Canadians including non-residents are required to put a 2,5-5% deposit after you make an offer to a property, usually within 24 hours of the accepted offer. The money is generally paid to the listing brokerage in certified cheque, bank draft or wire transfer and is held in trust. Again its best to already have your funds here in a Canadian Bank so that the process is easier for you. If you decide to walk away from the property due to failure of inspection or finances, then the fund is refunded back to you, otherwise it is rolled into the down payment of the property during possession and your lawyer will list all those items, expenses and calculations for you before the closing in a formal meeting.

Are there any taxes I have to pay like Toronto 15% for non-resident?

No, here in Ottawa, you are exempt from the non-resident tax (as of 2018).

Can I purchase the property without mortgage?

Yes, you definitely can. I actually had a few of my non-resident clients (on student or visitor visa) who have done that. One will need to transfer the 100% cash money into a Canadian Bank and the money will need to be transferred to your lawyer before closing. The best advice I can give is transfer your money early into a Canadian Bank so that there are no delays. There are also additional costs on closing, like lawyer fees and land transfer tax, etc so have enough money for those that might be amounting to 2 % of the property value. If you wish to see all the closing costs, check out my blog on closing costs.

LEGAL QUESTIONS FOR NON-RESIDENTS


How do I find a lawyer to deal with the property purchase?

I have worked with a few lawyers on non-resident buyers, contact me and I will be able to assist and recommend you couple of trusted real estate lawyers for Ottawa.

I live aboard, do I have to come to Canada to sign all my paperwork?

In Ontario electronic signatures are legal, so you will be able to sign with your computer or tablet for electronic signatures. I have helped a few of my clients on providing them with the ability to do so.

Do I need to be in Canada to buy the property?

You do not have to be in Canada to purchase the property, I can provide you with whatsapp, Face Time, Skype to other means to walk through the property to help you view it. One thing is you have to be in Canada to open a bank account (check with your preferred financial institution on their requirements) and you may require a Notary to notarize your paperwork for your lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to assist with that.

HOME BUYING PROCESS FOR NON-RESIDENT


I want to see some property, where do I start from? Do I have to come to Canada?

Get in touch with me and I will be able to set you up with a MLS search where I can tailor your property needs and wants so that you won’t be wasting all your time at searching properties all over. With my help you will receive direct emails to your mailbox on the properties that you are interested in as soon as it goes onto MLS system (Ottawa Real Estate Board house pool system). I can provide you with whatsapp, Face Time, Skype to other means to walk through the property to help you view it. I do personally prefer that my clients are with me here in Ottawa to view the property because at the end, every property has a certain personal feel to them and you as the client has an ultimate decision to make about it.

Do I need an inspector when I purchase?

An inspector is highly recommended to inspect the property that you plan to purchase after the agreement of purchase is signed within the conditions period. I will be more than happy to give recommendations to couple of inspectors to choose from.

Do you find tenants for me if this is an investment property?

Our office list rentals and have property management division, if you are interested in property management after purchase by my company, feel free to contact me. Do note that there are additional costs and procedures to property management.

Utility and Insurance on Property


How do I get home insurance for my property?

There are quite a few options to choose for insurance, all insurance companies provide home insurance, and most banks can refer you their insurance divisions. One thing of concern would be if you plan not to reside in the property then it maybe a bit more complicated but an insurance agent should be able to help you with it.

How do I hook up my utilities

In Ottawa, we have Enbridge that provides gas. Hydro Ottawa for Electricity and City of Ottawa provides water and sewer needs.

For TV, phone and internet you have main providers such as Rogers, Bell and others provide these services.

What are my next steps?


It is not hugely different than buying a property as a resident/citizen therefore you can go through my other blog posts and get yourself familiarized with our system here and your next steps are to get in touch with me and see how I can help you with your future home purchase either here in Ottawa or by referring you to a trusted agent in Canada from east to west (coast to coast). I wish you and your loved ones peace and ease in your decisions to make a new home…

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Real estate has been a hot topic in 2017 for Ottawa, and we are seeing essential changes coming to the real estate market in 2018.

Here are some things to watch in Ottawa housing market in 2018:

Ottawa will attract more foreign and other city buyers

We are expecting an influx of foreign buyers in Ottawa market in 2018. In 2017, I have helped quite a few of my clients who were foreigners or relocating to purchase property here in Ottawa. The reason for it is mainly due to how the policy makers in Toronto and Vancouver have taken steps to curb foreign buyers by imposing a tax of  15% on them. Foreigners are now looking at other markets such as Ottawa since the capital is close to Toronto and Montreal, and prices are still reasonable compared to other major cities…
There is also an influx of people from Toronto who sell their properties there and plan to live here in Ottawa.

More data on home sales

In Toronto, there was a court ruling that would allow consumers public access to see sold prices of a property online. This has been a long dispute between Canada’s largest association of real estate brokers and a federal competition watchdog. This court order will directly impact the Toronto Real Estate Board but they also have till end of January to appeal the decision.

There is a small chance that this ruling may have impact on Ottawa market, but we real estate associates do so much more than determining a price for your home, our job is orchestrating a sale process from A to Z therefore  if you are planning to sell and want to have information of what has been sold recently in your area, please feel free to contact me and I will help to save you time and  money in today’s life and market conditions.

New Stress Test

As you may already know, there are changes in the mortgage market where the new rules aimed at making sure borrowers can pay off their mortgages if rates were to rise.

How does this affect you?

The guidelines has already taken effect since Jan. 1, 2018 and applies to new mortgages as well as mortgage renewal applications if borrowers switch lenders. Financial institutions won’t be obligated although they may choose to do so to apply the test at mortgage renewal for existing borrowers. The rules reduce the size of the mortgage Canadians will be able to take on given a certain down payment and income.

It basically boils down to the fact that it now requires federally regulated financial institutions to evaluate applicants for uninsured mortgages by using a minimum qualifying rate equal to the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or their contractual rate plus 2 percentage points.

What this means is that if you fail the test, you might be eligible to buy something less expensive with a smaller mortgage. There are grandparenting periods where old rates and conditions (pre-approved prior to Jan 2018) might still apply, therefore, don’t hesitate to contact me for a trustworthy name of a mortgage broker.

Mortgage rates will go up

Mortgage rates are expected to rise in 2018, after seven years of historically low-interest rates, the Bank of Canada finally increased its overnight rate in 2017. It is expected that the rates will have a certain amount of rate volatility. Timing to get your mortgage will be the key since in spring and fall, lenders typically drop their mortgage rates to attract more customers. Thus consider shopping or renegotiating during spring and fall.

Condo purchase will be on the rise

One of the trends shaping 2017 has been that there was an increase of purchase in the condo market. OREB have said that condo sales are up by nearly a third over last year. There will be a more signs of condo sales. Property owners are starting to put their units back on the market for sale as their rental leases turn over and they made good use out of their investments over the years. I receive questions from people if this is a good time to buy an investment property. If you will keep the property for a long period of time and it has a good ROI, then why not?

With the effects of stress test, potential of higher rates and other life style changes, people will start looking at investing and living in condos.

Summary

Low unemployment rates; new, increased immigration planning by the federal government are important predictors of another strong year in Ottawa. I hope this gives you a oversight of what we expect in 2018. There are exciting and interesting times ahead and If you are planning to purchase or sell, feel free to get in touch with me, I will serve you with my expertise and confidence in the market.

Cheers!

Nilay Ertemur

References:
globalnews.ca/news/3807946/mortgage-rules-stress-test/
www.cbc.ca/news/business/real-estate-trends-1.4460775
www.zolo.ca/news/real-estate-market-trends-to-watch-for-in-2018
www.obj.ca/article/condo-market-recovery-buoys-ottawa-real-estate-market-july

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Life Insurance versus Mortgage Insurance

Life Insurance versus Mortgage Insurance, is what some of my clients ask me when they are purchasing a house. A financial advisor I know in Ottawa shared with me a practical chart to explain the difference between life insurance and mortgage insurance:

PERSONAL LIFE INSURANCE MORTGAGE INSURANCE
  • Insures you
  • You decide who to name as your beneficiary
  • Renewable, convertible term insurance
  • Underwriting is done at the time of application
  • You determine the amount of the coverage; your coverage remains same
  • You own the policy
  • It is yours, you keep it
  • Your beneficiary decides how to use the money
    • Insures your mortgage
    • Lender is the beneficiary
    • Non-renewable, non-convertible term insurance
    • Underwriting is done at the time of the death
    • Covers the exact amount of mortgage balance; as you pay down your mortgage your coverage decreases but your premiums remain same; cost per $1000 of coverage increases
    • Lender owns the policy
    • When you change your lender you cannot transfer your insurance
    • Lender automatically pays remaining mortgage balance
    • Shared by Nilay Erisoglu, Financial Security Advisor, Freedom 55 Financial Nilay.erisoglu@f55f.com

Let me go through some more details of Life Insurance versus Mortgage Insurance

Life Insurance

Mainly life insurance is used for insuring yourself, you decide who you name as the beneficiary (your spouse, family member, etc) and they decide on how to use the money, the amount of money paid out to the beneficiary never changes.

Life insurance is also renewable, and convertible term insurance. In Life insurance you have protection for the duration of the policy. The duration usually is around 10 to 30 years or sometimes to an age like 70 or 80. It all depends on the term you purchase and the underwriting is done at the time of the application.

In life Insurance you determine the amount of the coverage; your coverage remains same during the policy. When you plan to sell or change lender for you mortgage, your life insurance remains the same and does not get affected, it stays with you.

Life insurance is usually less expensive than mortgage insurance. Although a note of caution that if you intend to get for another term, you could potentially be paying a higher premium depending on the age and your health. Typical the enrollment process for term life insurance is more complex than applying for mortgage insurance, since life insurance policies require a medical exam in order to secure coverage.

Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage Insurance insures your mortgage, and the lender is the beneficiary (not someone whom you have named). It is non-renewable, and it is non-convertible term insurance. Typically the underwriting is done at the time of the death. Mortgage insurance covers the exact amount of mortgage balance; as you pay down your mortgage, your coverage decreases but your premiums remain same…

In Mortgage Insurance the lender owns the policy and if you change your lender you cannot transfer your insurance to the new property. The lender automatically pays remaining mortgage balance in the case of death.

Some advantages of mortgage insurance are that they are very convenient, they often do not require any medical exam. You typically will purchase the insurance through your bank or the financial institute that lend the money for your mortgage. Mortgage insurance is usually added to the lender’s monthly mortgage payments.

The downside of mortgage insurance is they are usually more expensive than life insurance although more easy to attain from a bank. CBC Marketplace also did a series of mortgage insurance.

I hope this blog post helps explain the difference between Life insurance versus Mortgage insurance and last but not least I hope your winter is going well with a lot of fresh air experiences and you are getting ready for a wonderful spring coming up with high energy.,..Whether your plans to relocate, to downsize, to aim for a change or investment, give me a shout and lets get the ball rolling for your next chapter…

Cheers!

Written by Nilay Ertemur

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Hello Katimavik Hazeldean neighbors, friends, parents of Castlefrank and and Katimavik Schools, here are some updates on Katimavik Hazeldean Community News.

I would like to inform you on upcoming projects and festivities in our community so that you can enjoy them, make use out of them, be part of the great community we all live in, and prepare ourselves for some upcoming projects.
As you might have already received a newsletter in your mailbox, the City of Ottawa is constructing a new pump station and forcemain along Maple Grove Road, Terry Fox Drive, Katimavik Road and Eagleson Road. The newsletter states that the forcemain route on Katimavik Road includes rock that requires excavation. As a result, some construction work will be performed including blasting. The work will be conducted with an approved blasting plan that meets City of Ottawa requirements. Blasting is projected to begin the week of May 10, 2016 for approximately 18 weeks through to the end of September 2016. Blasting will not take place on Sundays and statutory holidays and the times of the operation is between 7 am- 10 pm. For more information: City Project Manager, Steven Stoddard, steven.stoddard@ottawa.ca tel: 613 866-7023.

On a pleasant note, the community has some great events coming up. On Wednesday, June 8 2016 at Katimavik School,

Castlefrank Elementary School Council and Katimavik Elementary School Council have CES/KES Community Festival.

You can come and enjoy the fun, food and FREE entertainment!

BBQ by Katimavik Hazeldean Community Association on June 4 starts at 12:00 noon and goes till 3 pm at Castlefrank Elementary School and it includes oriental children games, musicians, and dancers…

Katimavik Hazeldean Community Association has also a Community Yard Sale on June 4 from 8:00 am to 12:00 noon at your houses!

I am involved in our community and would like to invite you to come, join and be a voice for the things that matter!

Have a happy spring and summer, get out and get involved in your community, wherever it may be…
Cheers!

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Building Green Homes in Canada

Did you know around 20 percent of the energy consumed in Canada is used in our homes? Purchasing an energy-efficient house or turning one by energy-saving renovations into a green home can offer big savings for home owners.

CMHC has a slogan “Help the Planet, Help Your Wallet” which has added environmentally friendly features to the Mortgage Loan Insurance it offers. If you use CMHC insured financing to buy an energy-efficient home, purchase a house and make energy-saving renovations or renovate your existing home to make it more energy-efficient, there is a 10% refund on the Mortgage Loan Insurance premium, and a premium refund for a longer amortization period (if applicable) may be available to you.

This also applies to if you’re thinking of building an energy-efficient home.

How it works

Step 1: Documentation

Find out how energy-efficient your house or unit is and obtain the supporting documentation

For houses and units located in low rise residential buildings the house or unit must:

    • have been built under a CMHC-eligible energy-efficient building program; or
    • have been assessed by a Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) qualified energy adviser
    • and have an EnerGuide rating that complies with the applicable requirement stated below:
For purchases with a closing date: Energy Guide Rating Required
On or after January 1st, 2013 82
From April 1st, 2010 to December 31st, 2012 80
From July 27st, 2005 to March 31st, 2010 77

You must obtain and provide CMHC with one of the following supporting documents:

The CMHC-eligible energy-efficient building program certification; or the first page of the EnerGuide performance report showing the EnerGuide rating of the house.

To be eligible, the supporting documentation must be dated no more than five years prior to the date of the application for a partial premium refund. Where the applicable supporting documentation is older than 5 years, the borrower is required to obtain a current energy efficiency evaluation.

This credit also applies to high rise residential buildings. If you are planning on building a new home and your builder is not a member of a CMHC-eligible energy-efficient building program, you should have an energy adviser evaluate the building plans before the house is built. This can help you ensure that you will meet CMHC’s requirements once the construction of the home is complete and it is evaluated.

Step 2: If required, boost your energy efficiency

If the house you plan to buy does not meet the applicable energy-efficiency requirement, to be eligible for a refund, you will need to obtain an EnerGuide rating through an NRCan qualified energy adviser and renovate using part of the CMHC insured funds based on your energy adviser’s list of recommendations in order to increase your score by at least 5 points and to a minimum overall rating of 40.

Step 3: Discuss and arrange a CMHC-insured mortgage

Talk to your lender and ask for a CMHC insured mortgage. (The rules have just changed to prevent fraud and misuse of funds).

Step 4: Confirm the improvement

After you make the renovations recommended by your energy advisor, you will need to have a second assessment done to determine the energy-saving effectiveness of the renovations.

Step 5: Apply for Refund

Apply for your Premium Refund

The following are steps for if you own a home and are thinking of renovating to make your home more energy-efficient:

Step 1: Obtain an energy rating for your home.

To qualify for this refund, you must carry out the steps described below within a reasonable time after funding of the CMHC insured loan. Normally, the time period between the date of funding (purchase with improvements or refinance) and the date of the post-retrofit assessment should not exceed 24 months.

Contact an NRCan qualified energy adviser to obtain the current energy rating for your home. You will receive a list of straightforward recommendations to increase your energy rating.

Step 2: Discuss CMHC insured refinancing.

Talk to your lender or your financial institution about which options are available to you. (The rules have just changed to prevent fraud and misuse of funds)

Step 3: Improve your rating

Improve your rating by using your energy adviser’s recommendations, renovate or upgrade to increase your energy rating.

Step 4: Confirm

Confirm the improvement by your energy adviser coming in and they will assess your home again after the energy-saving renovations are finished. If this test shows that the house’s energy rating has improved by at least 5 points and has achieved an overall rating of at least 40, a premium refund may be available.

Step 5: Apply

Apply for your Premium Refund online or through paper.

NRCan has developed an energy assessment and labeling system to help homeowners make energy-saving choices when buying a home or renovating. For a fee, an NRCan qualified energy adviser will evaluate the house to determine its energy efficiency rating on a scale of 0 – 100.

For more detailed information and specifics of these sorts of programs, please visit the NRCan web Site.
and if you are looking for a green home please feel free to get in touch with me.

Cheers!

Nilay Ertemur

References: http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/moloin/moloin_008.cfm

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Happy new year everyone!

It is the second week of the new year and we are well immersed back into school, work and it’s time to evaluate Ottawa 2016 Real Estate Market!

In order for us to make any kind of prediction for the future, we need to look at what has happened at least in 2015 and its relation to the previous year (2014).  Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 703 residential properties in December through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 638 in December 2014, an increase of 10.2 per cent. The five-year average for December sales is 653. The total number of residential and condo units sold through the Board’s MLS® System throughout all of 2015 was 14,658, compared with 13,919 in 2014, an increase of 5.3 per cent. Separately, residential and condo unit sales each outperformed the 2014 numbers. (OREB)

As for the general Canada picture in real estate of 2016, national sales are forecast to reach 498,600, down 1.1 per cent from 2015 as activity in B.C. and Ontario moderates and housing market conditions soften in Alberta. Moreover, interest rates are now expected to begin rising later than previously predicted. They are expected to remain on hold until late 2016, therefore low interest rates will continue to support sales and prices in near future (CREA).

From a mortgage side of the picture, home buyers will have to put a 10% down payment on the portion of the price of a home over $500,000. Anything under $500,000 will still only require a 5%  down payment. The changes are to take effect Feb. 15, 2016 (CBC).

For the rental market in Ottawa, in 2016, the vacancy rate will move down once more to 2.4 per cent. As for the resale market over the 2015-2016 period, sales of existing homes are expected to remain fairly flat with a downward trend. Employment should rise slightly into 2016 as overall economic activity stabilizes and the LRT project expands further.  (CMHC)

In brief, this year is still good here in the capital to make plans with your real estate aspirations, just contact me through your most preferred way communication, and I will be happy to serve you or any of your referrals.

Cheers!

Author: Nilay Ertemur

REFERENCES:

http://www.crea.ca/stats/quarterly-forecasts

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/morneau-home-ownership-finance-1.3360

http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/esub/64311/64311_2015_B01.pdf

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Getting financing approved for home buyers has become more and more challenging under all the new government imposed rules. For self employed home buyers, it becomes even more interesting.

That said, there are ways to get mortgage approved for these hard working individuals. The key to approvals for self employed buyer lies in asking the right questions and getting the proper documentation to support the claims regarding their type of work and the income being generated by the business.

Most self employed businesses have different ways of reporting their income, reducing all their taxes as much as possible. For these individuals their notice of assessment income is low due to write offs against their income. In order to qualify for mortgages, they need to demonstrate that their gross business income is reasonable enough to support the income level stated for them in order to have the deal approved.

One way for self employed individuals who are in sole proprietors and unincorporated business is by incorporating their business, since most banks do prefer salary. Once incorporated, the self employed individuals can pay themselves a salary, the other advantage of incorporating is it could also reduce tax rates and allow the business owner to collect a higher salary or dividend payout.

Most mortgage brokers have more ways to secure a loan for self employed individuals, they use alternate lenders that allow for more flexibility in getting the approvals in place without charging too high of a rate.

I certainly know couple of great mortgage brokers who can assist in helping self employed individuals obtain a mortgage here in Ottawa, please feel free to contact me for a referral and for your further investment or living arrangements.

Cheers!

Nilay

ref : www.BestMortgageInOttawa.com

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Ontario is considering giving all its municipalities power to levy a land transfer tax, that includes Ottawa. So what does it mean for you as a home buyer in Ottawa? Basically, municipal land transfer tax is yet another tax but the revenue of this tax goes to City of Ottawa, and the consequence of this tax will raise closing costs for property buyers, who are already paying a provincial land transfer tax.

There will be rebates for first time home buyers but the tax rate varies. The current land transfer tax for a residence worth $400,000 is around 2% when sold. The potential municipal land transfer tax would be an another additional 2%.

Since 2008 in Ontario, Toronto is the only municipality that allows to charge a municipal land transfer tax, and the revenue is used for local city budget. There is a sample calculation provided by Toronto.ca that highlights the amount of Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT). For example, a house purchase price of $500,000 (excluding HST) the resulting amount for Municipal Land Transfer Tax would amount to $5,725.00.

As for City of Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson have stated that he is not interested in the revenue source even if the province expands taxing powers to municipalities. “It’s certainly not high on my priority list” said Mayor Jim Watson. Watson also mentioned “the city hasn’t called for the province to make a change in land transfer taxing“.
If you wish to stop this tax, please let your Ontario MPP know where you stand with MLTT. One can also sign the Ontario Real Estate Board at http://www.donttaxmydream.ca/helpstop.html and find their Ontario MPP.

And for further questions to purchase a property here in Ottawa, contact me and I will go through your questions one by one…

Cheers!

Nilay Ertemur

 

Sources:
http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/10/27/ottawa-mayor-jim-watson-isnt-interested-in-a-land-transfer-tax
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2015/11/01/give-cities-power-to-set-a-land-transfer-tax-editorial.html
http://www.donttaxmydream.ca/

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September is almost here. You might want to start your house hunting soon again. Insurance is an important factor and step of house purchasing plans. Homeowner insurance premiums are not always cheap, but if you are buying a new or old home you will need to protect yourself and your investment from big surprises. In this post, I will list out top 10 home features that will raise your insurance premiums.

  1. Swimming pools and hot tubs can raise your rates, due to their potential for people drowning in them, although adding some type of fence to enter the pool does lower the liability
  2. Wood shake, cedar shingles are “no no” for insurance companies, some insurance companies even would refuse to renew existing homeowner insurance policies for roofs older than 20 years without passing an inspection; wood shake roofs have a higher vulnerability to weather hazards and fire.
  3. Expensive items: This one is simple, if you own expensive items; painting, jewellery, art, musical instruments, wine collections, the insurance would go up.
  4. Aluminum wiring was used in houses up to 1970, they have potential to overheat and cause fires, all insurance companies will require you to have an inspection and a highly strong recommendation of replacement.
  5. Knob and tube are very old wiring they are not well-suited to today’s high energy consumption products, and a significant number of insurance companies consider knob and tube wiring a higher risk or unsafe.
  6. Wood stoves are a source of fire and smoke damage. Even with modern wood-burning stoves, they are prone to crackle, sparking and spitting causing fire hazards.
  7. Oil based heating system, tend to have a higher risk of leaks with oil tanks and potential for damage to your property as well as the potential for environmental hazards. Most insurance companies prefer forced-air gas furnace or electric heat
  8. If you have a home office and it is part of your business, your insurance will go up since you may have potential customers or suppliers visiting your home and there are certain liabilities that pertain to businesses
  9. Finished basement can drive up costs because of potential damage if a pipe bursts or sewage backs up, or there’s flooding; these all would drive the cost up for replacement thus driving up the cost of your insurance
  10. Galvanized or lead pipes are older types more likely to build up corrosion increases, the risk of cracking, leaking or other damage. Copper or pex plastic pipes are recommended more by insurance companies  When you are shopping for a home, allow me to help you in finding the right one so that you don’t get affected by unknowns including the cost of insurance. Cheers! Author: Nilay Ertemur

 

References:
http://www.melochemonnex.com/en/residential/articles/home_insurance_calculation

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Welcome to Canada

Canada is a country, consisting of ten provinces and three territories, in the Northern part of the continent of North America. It extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres (3.85 million square miles) in total, making it the world’s second-largest country by total area and the fourth-largest country by land area.

As a new comer to Canada, you may want to look into purchasing your first property, in this blog post, I will try to cover some of the things to consider when purchasing a property in Canada. I would like to call it “Home Buying Guide for New Comers to Canada”

Mortgage / Finances

Most major banks do offer mortgages to newcomers but do have certain requirements for the loans.
Royal Bank has a document online that details their requirements. Some of the requirements for having a down payment of less than 25% consist of:

  • You must have immigrated to Canada within the past 24 months
  • You must have landed immigrant status
  • You must have a minimum of three months’ full-time employment in Canada.
  • All debts held outside of Canada must be included in determining how much you can afford, or your total debt servicing ratio
  • You’ll require a letter of reference from a recognized financial institution.

Bank and loans rules and regulations change all the time thus I would strongly suggest to speak to a mortgage specialist in a bank or mortgage brokers who will be able to assist you in obtaining a mortgage.

Canada 2014 best places to live

Listed below are Moneysense top 10 places to live in Canada:

Rank City Population Average House Hold Income Average House House Price Average Property Tax
1 St. Albert, Alta. 64,377 $128,270.17 $373,426.00 $3,286.00
2 Calgary, Alta. 1,306,471 $119,771.69 $435,825.00 $2,782.00
3 Strathcona County, Alta. 98,232 $137,509.40 $408,331.00 $3,398.00
4 Ottawa, Ont. 953,589 $103,186.09 $398,845.00 $2,283.00
5 Burlington, Ont 187,497 $110,113.81 $496,412.00 $2,855.00
6 Boucherville, Que. 41,928 $122,131.67 $352,698.00 $3,333.00
7 Oakville, Ont. 196,722 $145,694.87 $692,902.00 $3,756.00
8 Edmonton, Alta 868,392 $91,807.29 $375,308.00 $1,966.00
9 Regina, Sask. 221,999 $91,328.02 $372,335.00 $1,965.00
10 Québec, Que. 535,353 $70,627.27 $249,015.00 $1,609.00

Types of homes in Canada: Not an exhaustive list but most commonly sought after…

Single / Detached SIngle Home
Freestanding home, you own the land and the house
Semi Detached semi
Home has separate entrance and each owner owns their own property and responsible for their own side. Homes usually share a common wall or sometimes garage walls
Townhouse townhouses
Home is attached side by side to a series/row of homes, each unit has its own entrance but shares a common wall
Condos condo
Multi-unit tenant building (apartment like), you do not own the land but own just the unit itself, monthly payments to condo corporation to handle repairs and maintenance are usually attractive to first time home buyers

Things to consider when buying a house

  1. Location – The key phrase in real estate is always “location, location, location”, one cannot deny the fact that location plays an important part of your decision of purchasing a house in city, suburbs or countryside.
  2. Cost – The amount you are approved to purchase the property, things to consider: taxes, lawyers and closing costs.
  3. Size – Number of bedrooms, washrooms, and garage specs for your needs
  4. Work – How would you commute to work, public transportation vs vehicle
  5. School– What are the school ratings around you, is the school walking distance?
  6. Feature – Things that are important to you, a big backyard, fireplace, swimming pool, layout, etc
  7. Family & Friends – Would you be close to family and friends
  8. Amenities – Are you walking distance to shopping, clubs or gyms

Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

  • Look online for an agent, from the agent’s website it will tell you how tech savvy they are and have confidence about them
  • Ask colleagues, family or friends for recommendations of an agent they have used in the past or that they trust
  • Request for a meeting and tell the realtor your wants and needs for your new home purchase. Using a realtor does not cost you, a buyer does not pay the realtor for their service typically.
  • Also note you can use a realtor for new built homes. There are a lot of details of purchasing a new house and a realtor will help you with this process as well
  • I also have a separate blog post on purchasing house/condo in ottawa

Things to consider

A good real estate agent will be able to give you a hand from criteria setting to the closing, but as always having the accurate information in hand is better, so here is a list of things to consider when making the purchase.

  • Double check the paperwork for names, addresses in the forms
  • Items included and can be negotiated in the purchase, windows coverings, fridge, stove, dishwasher, laundry washer, dryer, built in vacuum
  • The closing date, possession date and when the offer becomes null and void
  • The purchase price and the deposit
  • Lawyer or notary fees, land title and taxes, I have a blog post that covers these items
  • Home inspection and mortgage approval

Summary

I hope this home buying guide will help you, I will try to make it up-to-date and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me

Cheers!

Nilay Ertemur

References

http://www.rbc.com/canada/brochures/First_Home_English.pdf
http://www.moneysense.ca/canadas-best-places-to-live-2014-full-ranking
https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/hostst/
http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/66687.pdf

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