What It’s Really Going to Cost to Sell Your Home in BC
Thinking of selling your home in Canada?
Going at it alone or using a listing service can turn into an expensive option.
While you'll avoid paying real estate agent fees on the selling price, that process requires serious time, additional expenses, and a huge amount of personal energy.
The entire process from listing to closing takes 90 days on average, but in some market conditions properties can sit on the market for much longer.
The truth is, most first-time home sellers have no idea how much this entire effort will cost them.
To show you the real cost of selling your home by listing in Canada, we explain all the expenses and then add up the numbers for a home in BC that’s worth $900K.
What Are the Costs Associated With Selling a House in Canada?
Paying for Real Estate Commissions
When you sell a house through a real estate agency, REALTORs expect a commission fee that's between 3 to 5 percent of the sale price – split evenly between the buyer's and seller's agent. Although there are many discount options available as well.
REALTOR fees cover for the time it takes your agent to market & arrange the deal; but what you're really paying for is their expertise in understanding value and, more importantly, their skill in negotiating the best possible selling price for you.
Having an experienced negotiator on your side can help you sell your house for thousands of dollars more.
What does it cost for a REALTOR to sell a house on average? On a home that's worth $900K, real estate agent commissions (3 to 5%) will usually cost between $27,000 and $45,000.
A typical fee structure for Kelowna real estate is 7% on the first $100,000 and 3% on the balance. So for the example $900,000 property it would be $31,000 split between both agents and their respective brokerages.
Real Estate Lawyer Fees
When you get a suitable Offer to Purchase your most valuable asset, hiring a real estate lawyer can help you avoid making costly or even deal breaking mistakes.
Real estate lawyers oversee the transaction, ensure your contract is flawless, your home title is in good standing, and that all of your filings are completed according to BC's provincial laws.
Some of the key responsibilities and filings that a real estate lawyer in BC, Canada oversees include:
Reviewing your Contract of Purchase and Sale
Performing a title search
If required, a completed Property Disclosure Statement
Conveyancing, which includes preparing documents like the Transfer of Land and Statement of Adjustments
Confirming Tax and Utility arrears are paid
A Payoff Statement which shows the exact amount needed to discharge your mortgage upon closing
Registration of Documents with the Land Title Office
Discharge of Mortgage to ensure the lender's interest is removed from the title
Notarization and witnessing of documents, such as the Transfer of Land
Final reporting which provides you with a breakdown of all financial transactions and confirmation of successful transfer of ownership
Hiring a real estate lawyer to oversee your transaction will cost you around $1,500.
If you’re selling and then moving into a brand new home, you should budget an additional $1,500 to $2,000 to oversee the purchase and title transfer of your new home.
How Much Does It Cost To List?
Getting a home ready to market takes serious preparation. Here’s what you can expect to pay if you list your home on the MLS by yourself.
The first crucial step involves performing a thorough cleaning of your home. Enlisting the services of a professional cleaner will assist you in achieving picture-perfect images for your property listing and prevent potential buyers from being deterred by unattractive dust, dirt, and untidiness.
Typically, for a 2,000 square foot residence, the cost of cleaning services will range from $250 to $500.
When your house requires substantial repairs, the process can extend over several months and potentially incur expenses ranging from thousands to even tens of thousands of dollars. Additionally, there's the cost associated with waiting for these repairs to be completed. In bustling real estate markets like Kelowna, British Columbia, it can be a challenge to secure the services of professional contractors promptly, leading to further delays.
It’s not uncommon for sellers to invest $5,000 to $30,000 in pre selling improvements in an effort to get the most from their sale. Is it worth it? Experiences shows that you can expect to receive two dollars back for every dollar strategically invested in the right improvements.
A good agent should be able to guide you here and will likely have a contractor on speed dial to execute the work in a timely manner.
Vantage West even offers a program called Fix and List which allows you to fix up and sell your home and defer payment on the renovations until the closing date.
Home Inspection Fee
Prior to placing your home on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), it's essential to arrange and pay for a pre-listing home inspection to assess the overall condition of your property. In British Columbia, Canada, a qualified home inspector utilizes specialized equipment to thoroughly examine key components such as the roof, gutters, plumbing, electrical systems, doors, windows, walls, and foundation.
The cost of this inspection can vary based on the size of your home, typically ranging from $400 to $800.
Condo Status Certificates
When selling a condominium unit, it's necessary to acquire a Status Certificate, which is also referred to as an Estoppel Certificate in Alberta (AB) or an Information Certificate in British Columbia (BC). This comprehensive document contains essential details about the building's legal and financial standing, including bylaws, building regulations, and the financial responsibilities of condo owners.
Typically, the cost of obtaining a condo certificate is around $100, and the processing time typically takes between 1 to 2 weeks.
Outstanding Property Taxes
When you sell your home, any outstanding property taxes must be paid off before the sale can be completed. This is a legal requirement, and the buyer's lawyer or notary public will typically ensure that all property taxes are up to date as part of the sale process. If you have unpaid property taxes, you'll need to settle them, which can be a significant financial burden.
Staging Your Home
Home staging is all about making your living spaces look fantastic for prospective buyers. It involves depersonalizing your home and adding elements like plants, area rugs, mirrors, stylish lighting, art pieces, and carefully-chosen furniture to make your home appear more valuable.
Good home staging can significantly speed up the sale of your home and increase its selling price by up to 20 percent.
Some real estate agents may cover the staging cost in their fees, but if not, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000 for professional staging services. The process typically takes about 2 weeks to complete.
Mortgage Discharge Fee
If you sell a home that's under an existing mortgage agreement, you’ll have to pay a mortgage discharge fee, which is also referred to as a mortgage prepayment penalty. This fee pays for the administrative expenses incurred by your bank when they remove the outstanding mortgage balance from your property title.
Depending on your financial institution, mortgage discharge fees cost around $300.
Capital Gains Tax
If you’ve earned a profit on the sale of your home, the amount you've earned is referred to as a capital gain. Guess what? The government wants a piece of that in the form of a capital gains tax.
As an investor, 50% of your capital gain is subject to capital gains tax, which is included as income on your tax return.
But if you’re selling your primary residence, you won’t have to pay the capital gains tax. In Canada, this is known as a principal residence exemption.
Your home is considered a primary residence if you’ve lived there for each month of ownership, and were not renting your property or simply using it as an investment.
Land Transfer Tax
Who Pays the Land Transfer Tax in British Columbia?
The British Columbia government mandates that land transfer taxes, also known as property transfer taxes, are always paid for by the home buyer.
If you’re selling, then moving into a new home, you’ll want to make room in your budget to pay your own land transfer tax.
For a home worth $900K, the buyer would pay a land transfer tax of $16,000 ($2,000 + $14,000).
In BC, Land Transfer taxes are calculated as follows:
Handling the move on your own can be the most challenging part of selling your home. It's a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that may not create a positive bonding experience.
Choosing a trusted and professional moving team can alleviate a significant amount of stress. Skilled movers are experienced in safely transporting your belongings without causing damage to your walls or door frames. They take special care to ensure that your fragile items arrive in excellent condition. In addition, some movers offer assistance with packing, disassembly, and unpacking, allowing you to concentrate on your work and bypass the strenuous lifting.
The cost of a local move typically ranges from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on your home's size. For moves between cities, you can anticipate a higher cost, usually falling in the range of $6,000 to $8,000. In the case of a cross-Canada move, such as from Vancouver to Toronto, the cost can escalate to approximately $10,000 to $20,000.
The Cost of Inconvenience
Selling a home can feel like embarking on a new, demanding job. It disrupts your daily routine, affecting both work and social life for several months. On average, it takes around 12 home showings to secure a sale through a traditional listing, and nearly 30 percent of potential buyers may withdraw their interest. During the listing period, your home must remain in a state of readiness for open houses and short-notice showings.
Selling through the MLS often means surrendering control over the timeline, which can be stressful. Additionally, you may encounter the frustration of no-show appointments, lowball offers, and the anxiety of waiting for buyer financing approval.
Adding Up The Costs
It costs serious dough to list and sell your home in Canada.
You’ll need to hire cleaners, repairmen, and a good home inspector. Then you’ll stage the home, find a buyer, and let realtors, lawyers, and bankers bite into your revenue.
Finally, you’ll hire a good team to help you move.
Factoring in all of your expenses, the total cost of selling a home worth $900K in Canada can be as high as $100,000.
Keep in mind that expenses like cleaning, staging, and hiring an experienced negotiator will increase your revenue and offset some of these selling costs.
Nonetheless, our selling expense estimate of ~$50 to 100K means parting ways with a serious chunk of hard-earned change.
Benefits of Selling Your Home With an Experienced Real Estate Agent
By selling your house with the help of an experienced real estate agency, you can help recover some of the costs of selling your home.
Here's how a good REALTOR® can help you:
Expert pricing strategies to determine an optimal listing price, attract good buyers, and maximize your selling price.
Local market insights to on deal timing and pricing to get your the best possible deal.
Effective negotiation skills to get you the best possible deal and help you avoid leaving money on the table.
Objective advice that takes emotions out of the deal-making process and helps you make rational, informed decisions.
Access to qualified buyers who are pre-approved and ready to buy.
Reducing your stress by handling time-consuming tasks like showings, negotiations, and closing while guiding you every step of the way.
Guidance on value-added home improvements that will deliver a positive return on investment.
Professional home staging & photography to make your house look its very best with high-quality imagery.
Effective marketing tactics that highlight your property's unique features and reach the right target audience using traditional (open houses, brochures, print advertising) and online channels (social media, virtual tours, SEO, PPC).
A professional network of home inspectors, legal experts, and contractors to make the process as smooth as possible.
If you decide that selling a home using the expert services of a REALTOR is worth your while, it's important to choose an agent with a proven track record.
Vantage West Realty | Kelown'as Top-Rated Independent REALTORS®
Vantage West Realty is an independent real estate agency in Kelowna, BC with over 800 glowing 5-star reviews – a testament of our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction.
Our professional real estate agents have all undergone Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE) training and can help you maximize your selling price with confidence, while enjoying a stress-free home-selling journey.
On the other hand, if you decide to go at it alone, be sure to watch our video below with 11 home selling secrets from AJ Hazzi, a Canadian real estate agent with 20+ years of experience and thousands of completed transactions.
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