There are major differences in the process of house buying in Canada. Real Estate Agents are called Realtors and offer a far superior service than is usual in the UK. Fees, which can range from 3-6% are usually paid by the seller of a property so in effect free to the buyer. The Buyer is usually represented by a Realtor, taken around various properties within their criteria and provided with extensive information on the area, property, systems and the buying process.
New selling options are proliferating but as a new Immigrant to Canada it is always advisable to use a Realtor and use their skills at no cost to you.
In general the house buying process is quicker than in the UK, at around 4-6 weeks; once an offer is made on a property, subject to conditions such as inspections and/ or water tests, the offer is firm – rather than an exchange of contracts, in the UK, at a later stage of proceedings.
Buying a property will also include hiring a Lawyer and possibly other fees (inspection fees, survey, condominium fees etc). Don’t forget you will always need a deposit to secure the property and your portion of the total sale price (subject to the mortgage percentage you may get). Also, Land Transfer fees in Canada vary but in general for most provinces will be 0.5-2% of house sale price:
Land Transfer tax rates
It is advisable that a new immigrant looking at being represented by a Realtor should research and select the right professional through recommendations. CIS can provide recommendations throughout Canada for our clients.
Realtors in the area you are looking at can be found at: http://www.realtor.ca/