10 things International Buyers and Sellers need to know about buying Real Estate…

One of the major influences in today’s real estate market is the foreign buyer. So buyers and sellers, who are buying in Canada or the United States need to know a few things before they make that move. It’s a very big investment, but before you move ahead, here’s 10 things that you need to know.

#1 Multiple Listing Service

Canada and the United States have what is called a Multiple Listing Service. That means that you can work with one agent who can show you all the listings in his office or her office and they can also show you listings that belong to other companies. So there is no need to shop for a number of agents: you can use one agent, and that agent can show you as many properties as you would like to see.

#2 Listing Agent

Sellers enter into a contract to list their properties for Sale with one agent, called the Listing Agent.

#3 Buyer Agency Agreement (Buyer Representation)

Buyers can enter into contracts with what we call a Buyer Agency Agreement (Buyer Representation). Which means that, that the Buyer Agent’s fiduciary duty is to you as the Buyer. That means that they have to protect your interests, they have to make sure they have all the information, and they are on your side in a number of transactions. So it’s Buyer Agency, Buyer Representation, and is very important in North America.

#4 Funds On Shore

Make sure that you have funds transferred into a Canadian or a U.S bank, so you are ready to move ahead with a transaction if you see something you like. You need to make sure that your funds are on shore before you make any sort of deposits or down payment and transactions. Don’t expect that your funds can be transferred within a day or two; they should be on shore… they should be in North America and ready to do the purchase.

#5 Deposit

You will need a deposit, and a deposit is something that is cash and/or certified funds and that money has to go into a bank account with the Listing Brokerage. It is called a deposit, and it’s either between 5% or 10% of the Purchase Price and should be fairly accessible from your bank account and into the trust fund of the Listing company.

#6 Financing

If you need financing you will have to be pre-approved by a bank with branches in Canada. There are a lot of foreign banks in Canada and you can use them, but all will be much easier if a lot of your assets are already transferred into Canadian funds or in a Canadian bank…or U.S funds in a U.S bank.

#7 Land Transfer Tax

Buying property in Canada and United States is like buying property in many other places, there are taxes to be paid. Here we have taxes on the property that are paid on a yearly basis. There’s also taxes that are paid when you actually buy the property. And in Toronto at the moment there are two taxes to be paid, one goes… 2% goes to the Province and 2% of the purchase price goes to the City of Toronto. But you have to be prepared to pay to those taxes on closing.

#8 Property Tax & Withholding Tax

Owning property in Canada and the United States means that you will have to pay property taxes. Taxes on most property are a factor of the size of the property, and the value of the property. And here it is based on a percentage of the value of the property. And usually that is one percent of the value of the property you pay in taxes per year. But that is a figure you should keep in mind. When you sell your property, you will be subject to withholding tax, and that withholding tax will be relinquished once the Government assesses your tax liability.

#9 Responsibility To The Mortgage

Please know that when you buy a property in Canada and it’s financed and you have a mortgage, the mortgagee can go after you for all of the value of the mortgage that you’ve borrowed. So you are responsible to the mortgagees to pay that money back.

#10 Agreement of Purchase and Sale

Please know that an accepted of Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a contract and it is a binding contract. It’s not something that you can walk away from nor do I suggest you ever do that. Buying in Canada has been a very possible for a lot of people and it’s a very safe place to live, a very safe place to put your money. Please note that anytime you buy a property in Canada there are strong property rights and very hard for someone to take that property away from you, unless you do not meet your financial commitment. But it’s a very strong safe place to invest.