The most frequently asked questions before, during and after buying a new condo or townhouse
Living in a condominium includes some common expenses, such as sharing the costs of repairs, renovations, maintenance, or services (such as snow removal, electricity, and building insurance). The co-owners also share common spaces such as the gym, terrace, pool, or coworking space, depending on what the projects involve. This lifestyle is ideal for people who do not want to maintain a house and lot, or for those who want to live in the heart of the city while being property owners.
Divided condominium: When you buy a divided condominium, you become the owner of a private part (your condominium) and a percentage of the common parts of the building. Each condo has its own lot number (cadastre) and its own school and municipal tax accounts.
Undivided co-ownership: When you buy an undivided co-ownership, you become the holder of a percentage of a building that belongs to several owners. There is only one lot number (cadastre) and the school and municipal tax bills are common. All the expenses of the building are assumed by all the owners, in proportion to their respective shares.
The condominium manager is responsible for the management and administration of the condominium. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, including the management of service contracts, insurance contracts, condominium budget, and management of the building’s personnel. They also respect and enforce the condominium rules and act as the link between the board of directors and the co-owners.
The members of the board of directors are elected by the co-owners at the annual general meetings. They work closely with the condominium manager to make decisions regarding the management and administration of the condominium. Proposals are then presented to the co-owners in a vote held during the annual general meetings.
The condo fees, paid each month by the co-owners, are used to cover the expenses related to the operation of the building, such as maintenance, electricity, heating, and air conditioning of the common areas. They are also used to pay the costs related to the administration of the condominium, waste management and recycling, and the insurance costs of the building. A portion of the condo fees is also dedicated to the contingency fund.
The contingency fund is used to cover and anticipate the long-term needs of a building for major repairs and replacement work in the common areas. It is not intended to cover expenses related to the ongoing maintenance and management of the building.
Down payment – Depending on the type of buyer you are, the amount of the down payment required to purchase a condo may vary: For an occupant buyer, the down payment is 15% of the sale price; For a Canadian investor, the amount of the down payment varies between 20% and 25% of the sale price; For a foreign investor, the down payment is 35% of the sale price.
Notary – Notary fees must be paid by the buyer. These are generally around $1,000 to $2,000.
Transfer tax (welcome tax) – The real estate transfer tax is a tax that every buyer must pay to the municipality in the months following the purchase of a property. The amount varies depending on the purchase price of the property. You can calculate the transfer tax at the following website: http://www.calculconversion.com/calcul-taxe-de-bienvenue-mutation.html
Mortgage loan – A mortgage loan is a loan of money from a banking institution and is secured by a mortgage on a property that the borrower owns. You must pay back a portion of this amount and interest according to the frequency specified in the agreement.
Condo fees – Fees payable monthly to the condominium manager. It is based on your condo share.
Municipal and school taxes – The municipal tax bill is claimed and sent by the city, while the school tax bill is claimed and sent by the municipal service center. The amounts are based on the municipal assessment of your property. Tax rates differ from municipality to municipality.
HBP: The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw funds from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to use as a down payment for the purchase of a qualifying dwelling unit without paying taxes on the amounts withdrawn (maximum of $35,000 per person). You can then repay the funds over a period of 15 years. Certain conditions apply.
See the Government of Canada website for more information: https://www.canada.ca/fr/agence-revenu/services/impot/particuliers/sujets/reer-regimes-connexes/est-regime-accession-a-propriete.html
Federal Home Buyers’ Tax Credit: On line 369 of your federal tax return, you can claim $5,000 if this is your first home as a placeholder.
For more information, visit the Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/fr/agence-revenu/services/impot/particuliers/sujets/tout-votre-declaration-revenus/declaration-revenus/remplir-declaration-revenus/deductions-credits-depenses/ligne-369-credit-dimpot-pour-premier-acheteur-dune-habitation.html
Homebuyer’s Tax Credit: You may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $750 for the purchase of a home if it is your first home as a placeholder. For more information, visit the Quebec government website: https://www.revenuquebec.ca/fr/citoyens/credits-dimpot/credit-dimpot-pour-achat-dune-habitation/
Montreal – Home purchase support program: The city of Montreal has set up a financial assistance program for the purchase of a home on its territory that can reach $15,000. Here are the details on the city’s website: https://montreal.ca/programmes/programme-dappui-lacquisition-residentielle
Meeting with a representative of a given project;
Signing a preliminary contract;
Remittance of deposit cheques for the down payment;
Mortgage financing letter or proof of funds;
Signing of the deed of sale;
Taking possession/moving in.
There are several advantages to buying a unit off-plan. Here are the main ones: Possibility to choose the finishes of the unit (kitchen, bathroom, floors); Possibility of making certain modifications to the plans; Brand new condo; The price is often much more advantageous when buying off-plan since the property will probably have increased in value during the construction phase.
“Unit” refers to the part of the building (fraction) that is purchased by the condominium owner. Essentially, it is the entire residential unit, i.e., the apartment/dwelling unit that you have purchased.
“Common area for private use” is a part of the building that belongs to the condominium corporation but is for the exclusive use of a condominium owner. For example, a balcony, a terrace, a parking space, or a storage space that is not located in the residential unit.
Finally, when we speak of a “Common area,” it is a part of the building that belongs to each of the co-owners who individually hold a share of the property right according to the relative value of their fraction. Common areas include the structure of the building, the passages and corridors, the stairs and elevators, the entrances and exits of the building, the grounds, and the common areas (exercise room, meeting room, common kitchen, roof terrace, etc.).
In your preliminary contract or in your communications, the “delivery date” refers to the start of the delivery process. The delivery process has three steps:
- Inspection visit of your unit
- Signing of the deed of sale at the notary’s office
- Taking possession/moving into your unit
When can I take possession of my unit (move in)?
Once the deed of sale has been signed with the notary, the notary will give you the keys and you can take possession of your unit.
New homes are taxable, and you have to add the GST and QST to the purchase price. However, depending on the value of the unit, you may be eligible for a partial refund of these amounts. Use the APCHQ’s calculation tool to determine the amount of the refund you may be entitled to: https://www.apchq.com/outils-pratiques/calculatrice-de-taxes.
The gross area is calculated from the architectural plans and includes all surface area, even non-habitable space, from the exterior walls to the other exterior walls or to half of the common walls. This area is indicated on the sales plan and in the preliminary contract.
The net area is calculated by a land surveyor and shows the living area of the unit. It excludes walls, interior divisions, stairwells, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical shafts. This area is indicated on the certificate of location.
Yes, all projects are delivered with a warranty plan for new construction. The most commonly used warranty plans are those of the ACQ (Association de la construction du Québec), the GCR (Garantie construction neuves), and the GIR (Garantie immeubles résidentiels).
No, you can choose to work with the financial institution of your choice. However, a list of several mortgage consultants and financial institutions that can guarantee you an interest rate freeze until the delivery of your unit will be provided. You can use them if you wish.
Yes, it is mandatory to use the notary affiliated with the project. The information on the notary will be provided in the preliminary contract.
– A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary between the borrower and the mortgage lenders.
– His/her role is to find a mortgage loan according to the borrower’s needs.
– They inform and guide their clients through all stages of the process (preparation, presentation, approval, and acceptance of a mortgage application).
Your relationship with your mortgage broker is an important factor in the outcome of your mortgage application. When there is a good connection and you feel confident, the most delicate subjects are more easily discussed and clarified. The mortgage broker is in a better position to represent you and to negotiate your conditions with the lenders.
Be a good listener and be honest
A mortgage broker must understand your financial situation, your expectations, and your needs. His/her transparency and honesty will allow you to receive information that is truthful, even if there is a risk of sometimes disappointing you.
The mortgage broker will be easy to reach (or will contact you as soon as possible), because he/she is aware that your time is precious.
The mortgage broker knows the current mortgage market thoroughly. He/she will therefore be able to advise you on the mortgage product that best suits your financial situation, your objectives, and your expectations.
Negotiating mortgages on behalf of his clients is the mortgage broker’s daily job. He/she knows how to address and what to say to the various lending institutions. His/her knowledge of the market allows him/her to obtain the lowest interest rate as well as clauses and other provisions that will be most advantageous to you.
The mortgage broker will accompany you until the last step of obtaining your mortgage loan, when you go to the notary.
Whether you want to talk about mortgage rates, mortgages or the real estate market, the best mortgage broker will speak to you in plain language. He/she will be able to answer your questions clearly and explain the various mortgage terms and conditions to you, so that you can make your choice with confidence and without any fear of unpleasant surprises.
– A mortgage broker knows the range of mortgage products offered by lenders. He or she will find the mortgage that suits your objectives and your financial situation, considering the interest rate and the characteristics of the loan.
– They save you valuable time. A mortgage broker negotiates a mortgage with institutions on your behalf, avoiding tedious and stressful procedures
– He/she quickly obtains the information sought from lenders, which is not to be overlooked given the current shortage of resources.
– You have access to a wider range of lenders (some only available through mortgage brokers).
– The services of the mortgage broker are free of charge. They are paid by the lenders.
There are many variables to consider when selecting a mortgage product and lender. People often think that a mortgage broker’s job is to negotiate a good rate, but it goes much further than that. He or she takes a complete financial picture of you to find the product that meets your needs and your reality. Once your financial picture and your needs have been established, the mortgage broker will be able to advise you on the mortgage product and lender that is best suited to you.
– You can obtain a mortgage pre-approval from lenders and mortgage brokers.
– They will determine the maximum loan amount that the borrower can afford. The maximum amount is calculated based on the following
– financial commitments
– Credit history
– The amount of money you have available for a down payment
Effective June 1, 2021, the Government of Canada introduced mortgage stress testing to protect lenders and borrowers from sudden increases in interest rates leading to excessive debt.
The stress test involves confirming that the borrower could pay the negotiated mortgage interest rate + 2% (for example, a 5-year fixed rate of 5.14% + 2% = 7.14%). All buyers must go through this process, except for those wishing to renew an insured mortgage by default.
This depends on whether the mortgage product is fixed or variable.
– Variable rate: Three months interest payment will be required.
– Fixed rate: The penalty amount is the greater of the 3-month interest payment or the rate differential.
Rate Differential: Financial institutions calculate the difference between the rate you were given and the rate you could get today. Banks often consider the posted rate, without the discount, to make their calculation.
In conclusion, it is strongly recommended that you contact your financial institution and confirm the amount of your penalty before breaking your mortgage contract.
Several factors are considered. Economic factors, your financial situation, your risk tolerance and medium to long term changes.
– Fixed Rate – Features:
The mortgage rate remains the same throughout the term you have chosen (1 ,2, 3 or 5 years). The current economic situation with rate increases favours fixed rate mortgage products.
Fixed rates make it easier to plan your budget because they do not fluctuate.
Fixed rates are generally a little higher than variable rates.
The penalty amount is the greater of the 3-month interest payment or the rate differential.
– Variable Rate – Features:
The rate varies according to the financial institutions’ prime rate generally linked to the key rate set by the Bank of Canada.
The amount of your mortgage payment may vary according to fluctuations in your rate. If the interest rate decreases, you will benefit from a decrease in your mortgage payment for most variable products. Keeping your payments, the same is a good way to pay off your mortgage faster. On the other hand, an increase in the interest rate will increase your payments.
Variable rates are generally lower than fixed rates, but you must have the financial means to absorb a possible rate increase.
The penalty is the payment of 3 months interest.
One of the major factors in interest rates is the level of risk associated with the borrower. When you seek financing, the creditor will do an analysis to determine if they are interested in lending you money and at what interest rate the loan would be granted. This analysis is based mainly on 5 aspects that are called the 5 Criteria of financing.
Capacity is the estimated amount of debt you could take on. To calculate your borrowing capacity, you need to make a calculation that includes financial data such as your monthly payments and your monthly income.
The lender wants to determine if you have additional cash-flow after the purchase. The reason for this is simple. If, for example, something unforeseen were to happen such as the loss of your job, the onset of an illness, the removal of a tenant if you own income properties, the lender will want to determine if you have the cash-flow to deal with this type of eventuality or if you would quickly default.
The security is the amount of money you put up as collateral for the loan. In the case of the acquisition of a financed building, there will be a mortgage on the building, which means that if you do not pay, the lender can legally seize your building, regardless of the amounts you have injected for the acquisition, renovations, or maintenance.
This financing criterion is specifically related to your credit records and scores. The financial institution will do a credit check to determine your credit history and credit score to verify your payment history. They want to determine if you are paying your other accounts regularly. Credit reports include your payment history on your various credit accounts for the past seven years.
This criterion is adopted to determine your stability. Lenders want to lend to people who are the least risky and most stable. They look to see if you are the type of person who moves often or changes jobs frequently. If you are, it demonstrates inconsistency in their eyes, which represents an additional risk to the lender. A person who moves frequently or changes jobs often may appear more likely to default on payments.
In conclusion, these five criteria are all important to consider when applying for financing. It is best to be prepared before applying for financing and to make sure the lender is willing to finance you. You can schedule a phone call with your real estate broker to discuss your financing challenges and determine options to ensure you are in the best position to obtain financing.
– This depends on the type of property and whether the property is owner occupied. Here are the details.
– The minimum down payment is 20% of the purchase price for a non-owner-occupied property (100% rental).
– For an owner-occupied property
5% down payment for a single-family home or condominium or duplex (for the purchase price portion up to and including $500,000 and 10% down payment for the purchase price portion between $500,000 and $1,000,000). Thus, for the down payment on a $600,000 single family home that you would occupy, the down payment would be $35,000:
– 500 000 * 5% = 25 000$
– Excess of 100 000 * 10% = 10 000$.
Down payment of 10% of the purchase price for a triplex or a quadruplex
– Down payment of 15% of the purchase price for a 5 unit or more (owner occupied or not)
There is no one right answer. It depends on your needs and your personal situation. Here are some guidelines to help you make your decision.
– A fixed rate is right for you if:
– You have a low risk tolerance.
– You have little flexibility in your budget.
– A short/medium term interest rate increase is likely, and you want to protect yourself from it.
– A variable rate is right for you if:
– You have a good tolerance for unexpected market fluctuations.
– Your budget allows you to absorb an increase in your mortgage payments if interest rates rise.
– A drop in interest rates is likely and you want to take advantage of it.
– How do you choose?
– No one can predict the future. It’s best to assess your financial situation and risk tolerance and determine your priorities. If you prefer financial stability, the predictability of a fixed rate will suit you better. If you want lower payments, a variable rate will help you achieve that goal. If the rate increases, most mortgage contracts allow you to change to a fixed rate down the road.
Is there a penalty fee for prepayments?
– There is no penalty if you meet the prepayment terms in your mortgage agreement. Prepayment options vary by lender.
– Check the terms of your mortgage agreement to find out:
– If your lender allows you to make prepayments
– When your lender allows you to make prepayments
– Whether there is a minimum or maximum amount for prepayments
– If you refinance your loan at the end of your term, you will not have to pay a penalty. However, there will be a notary fee because the mortgage deed is changed.
– If you refinance during the term, a penalty fee for termination of the contract will be charged in addition to the notary fees.
– If possible, yes! There are several steps in the home financing process. Lenders prioritize the processing of mortgage applications according to the buyer’s delay in obtaining financing. But be careful! It is important that the buyer cooperates by providing the necessary documents and information quickly to process the application.
– It usually takes 10 days for the buyer to find financing. With the shortage of manpower in all fields, it is common to give the buyer 15 days to find his financing.
– A buyer who has been pre-approved for a mortgage will have the best chance of obtaining financing on time.
– Mortgage default insurance is required when the down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of your property. This insurance protects the lender in the event of default by the borrowers.
– The cost of the premium is calculated on the amount of the loan based on the percentage of the down payment
– The premium amount can be added to the mortgage amount.
– The premium is only taxable at the provincial rate (QST) of 9%. It is not possible to finance the taxes. The amount of the tax must be paid at the notary.
|Down payment (%) Premium
|Mortgage loan insurance
– A mortgage pre-approval is a process that allows you to
– Know the maximum amount of a mortgage you may qualify for.
– Estimate your mortgage payments
– To guarantee an interest rate for a period of 60 to 120 days depending on the lender.
– Please note! A pre-approval does not automatically mean a final approval from the lender. The pre-approval was made by considering the parameters of your financial situation at a specific time. A lender may re-evaluate its decision if there are changes in your income, financial commitments, or credit.
There are several costs to anticipate when buying a property.
Evaluation fees (sometimes required by institutions)
Title insurance (if necessary)
Transfer tax (welcome tax)
9% QST on the mortgage insurance premium (if applicable)
Adjustment of municipal and school taxes (will be adjusted at the notary)
– Multi-Prêts mortgages
– Autorité des marchés financiers