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Preparing your Finances Mortgages & Associated Expenses

manage-financeThere are financial aspects to selling a home that go beyond the fact that you may be able to reap a tidy profit from the actual sale. Prior to signing a listing agreement with your REALTOR®, it is prudent to look at all associated costs as part of your due diligence.


If you have a mortgage on your home, you will have to decide how to manage it.

  • Will you be porting it to your new home (if that is an option)?
  • Will you be paying it out, or blending a rate?
  • Get in touch with your lender, as they will provide you with the pertinent information regarding your mortgage strategy.

Here are a few examples of items you may be discussing with your mortgage lender:

  • Can you port your existing mortgage to a new property?
  • Is there a pre-payment penalty if you wish to extinguish the mortgage altogether?
  • Can you blend your mortgage?

Associated Expenses

When selling your home, there are a number of associated expenses that you may or may not have thought of. Keep in mind that every home selling experience is different, so please consider all potential associated costs. Don’t worry, your REALTOR® will guide you along the way.

Legal Fees, Disbursements and Statement of Adjustment

You will require a Lawyer or Notary Public to act on your behalf to convey your property to the new owner and to ensure that the money is transferred on the completion date. They will also ensure that the Buyer has performed on all the terms of the contract, and that you have met your legal obligations. Legal fees vary widely, partly due to the extent of the services that are required for each individual transaction. You will also be responsible for associated disbursements. When deciding who you want to act on your behalf be sure to make inquiries into the associated costs of your particular transaction. That will ensure there are no surprises when you get to the lawyer’s or notary’s office.

Property Transfer Tax

In British Columbia, property transfer tax is applicable on almost all transactions and is calculated as 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance. So speak with your REALTOR® to find out how they apply to you.

Property Tax Adjustments

If you have not pre-paid your property taxes, you should expect that the statement of adjustments (provided to you at the time you meet with your lawyer to sign the legal papers to transfer title) will include any outstanding taxes that are due up to the possession date, and this will be noted as a debit. If you have already pre-paid your property tax, it will be noted as a credit on your statement of adjustments. Your lawyer, or notary will calculate these amounts for you.

Home Inspection

You may decide to conduct a pre-inspection of your home. Even so, expect that the Buyer will likely order and conduct his/her own home inspection (to be paid for by the Buyer). The justification for a pre-inspection of your home, prior to selling, is to ensure that there aren’t any surprises that may impede a smooth home inspection by an interested Buyer. If any surprises do occur, note that anything discovered and not repaired may be considered a material latent defect. In that case, it may need to be pointed out to a Buyer.

Oil Tank Inspection

In Vancouver, British Columbia, oil tanks are commonly found older homes that come to market. An oil tank could be located on your property, buried underground or located above ground, or within the house (for example, in the basement). If you are unsure — or if no tank is visually evident, you may wish to have your property surveyed for an oil tank prior to an offer presentation from interested Buyers. This is very important in Vancouver, as oil tanks are the responsibility of the property owner. A prudent Seller will inform a potential Buyer of the status of oil tanks on the property. If a tank is found on your property, remove it prior to new owner occupying the property. Most major lending institutions will not mortgage a property with an oil tank; therefore it may need to be removed prior to completion.

Knob & Tube Wiring

Another issue with older homes in Vancouver is knob and tube electrical wiring. Some insurers will require that any knob and tube wiring be completely removed and replaced with modern wiring, or will require that a qualified electrician review the system and ensure that everything is safe for occupants.

Repairs & Renovations

As discussed in Step 2: Preparing Your Home for the Market, there may be items that should be repaired or renovated prior to placing your home on the market. This will ensure that your home is show-ready and able to attract prospective Buyers in a timely manner. It may even garner you a better price. Repairing items prior to a home inspection will remove the red flags that could crop up and create issues. At the very least, ensuring that your home is safe for potential Buyers to inhabit is important.

Moving Costs

Associated moving costs will include the packing and moving your household items to another location. In addition to moving costs, utility transfers and other incidentals involved in process of selling your home will likely arise.

Capital Gains Tax

In most cases, Capital Gains Tax is not applicable on the sale of your primary residence; however, if a portion of your home was rented (e.g. a basement rental suite), Capital Gains Tax is applicable on the profits of the portion percentage of your home that was rented. Speak with your accountant to ensure that you are aware of any tax implications associated with the sale of your home.

GST for Professional Services

Don’t forget, GST is an applicable tax on legal fees and the professional services provided by your REALTOR®.

Estimating Your Net Proceeds

Now that you have a good idea of the market value of your home and the associated expenses you should expect, you can start to establish a rough expectation of what will go into your pocket when you have completed on the sale of your home.

To estimate your net proceeds, subtract Estimated Associated Costs from your estimated Sales Price:

  • Seller’s Costs (Subtract the following costs, where applicable)
  • Mortgage payout (if not porting your existing mortgage)
  • Mortgage prepayment penalty (if ending a mortgage agreement early)
  • REALTOR® service commissions/fees
  • Lawyer or Notary fees
  • Any associated expenses (i.e. moving expenses)
  • Unpaid property taxes
  • GST Services
  • Closing Costs
  • It’s best to consult with your REALTOR® in order to estimate your closing costs. You, your REALTOR® and the Buyer may agree on an arrangement that best suits you.
  • Your net proceeds = estimated sales price – (Seller’s Costs + Closing Costs)

This is step 5 of a 10 Part series. Go to Step 6: Deciding when to Sell & Signing a Listing Agreement