Step-by-step process for buyers

Listed below are the steps you'll take to complete your real estate transaction, together with fees associated with this transaction.

You probably won't pay your deposit amount until you remove some or all of your subject clauses. Once you do pay your deposit, it will be held in trust, at your realtor's office, until completion date. Now what? Listed below are the steps you'll take to complete your real estate transaction, together with fees associated with this transaction. (Note: these are estimated prices only and are merely stated to give you an idea of what your closing costs may be). The first few steps will be in follow-up to the subject clauses you have in your contract, and they're pretty standard. You'll want to do everything that's required to remove your subject clauses in a timely manner. These are the most usual subject clauses that you'll have to work on removing:

  1. Arrange suitable financing (if applicable), {find out what your mortgage broker or bank requires from you. Minutes of meetings? An appraisal?}
  2. Approve and review the Property Disclosure Statement, (upon listing his home, the seller had to disclose pertinent information about the property, and this is all listed on a Property Disclosure Statement. You, as purchaser, will have to review this sheet and sign the bottom acknowledging that you've received it)
  3. Approve and review a title search on the property (done on most property upon listing it for sale and your lawyer or notary will review this information with you upon completion),
  4. Call your insurance representative and ensure you can obtain insurance on the property. Here's my representative: Columbia Insurance here in New West at 604-527-1377. Call and give them your potential address and see what the cost of insurance would be on the property (most of us pay monthly), and ensure there's no 'red flags' (problems on record with the building) on file for this property.

And the following will apply if this is a strata property purchase:

  • Approve and review all strata documentation (which includes a copy of the Form B (Information Certificate from the property management company), registered strata plan {if available}, current bylaws and financial statements, minutes of any meetings {often for the last two years at least}, and any other pertinent information.
  • Arrange to have the home inspected. You'll need to locate a home inspector. Use the following website to assist you in locating a home inspector:

Some I've used in the past and that come highly recommended are:

Pillar to Post Home Inspection
Tyler Burley

Acme Home Inspections Inc. #55749 Licensed, BC Home Inspector
Paul Sew
ph: 778-233-8246

Northwood Home Inspectors
Ryan Kadow
Phone: 604-831-3644
Fax: 604-949-0063


Haystack Home Inspections Inc.
Chris Thompson
Phone: 604-734-4700

Douville & Co. Home Inspections Ltd.
Gary Douville
Tel: 604-626-4887
Cell: 604-309-6782
Fax: 604-857-1637
Other: 1-888-804-2444

5. Arrange for a notary public or lawyer to handle your conveyancing needs. You can search the notary public website at Or use a few notary public/lawyers noted below:

Nazirah Premji
416 - 604 Columbia Street, New Westminster, BC V3M 1A5
P: 604-521-8550
F: 604-521-8540

Martin Kastelein
448 Sixth Street, New Westminster, BC V3L 3B3
P: 604-526-7884

William G. Anderson
252-4820 Kingsway (in Metrotown Mall)
P: 604-434-5936

Uptown Notaries
Natalya Hanna
104-2849 North Road (near Lougheed Mall)
P: 604-420-6671

Barristers and Solicitors

Edwin Chan
Barrister & Solicitor
#2600-4720 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 4N2
P: 778-374-1736
F: 604-648-9615

Cassady & Company
330-522 Seventh Street (Uptown New West office)
P: 604-523-7090

Stephen Graf and Company
604 Columbia Street, Suite 480 New Westminster, BC V3M 1A5
P: 604-314-5700

Cobbett & Cotton
#300 - 410 Carleton Avenue, Burnaby, BC V5C 6P6
P: 604-299-6251
F: 604-299-6627

Bell Spagnuolo
variety of offices, check website

Looking to speak with a Mortgage Broker? Here's five I use regularly:

Stephanie Barritt

Matt Chan, Dominion

Corinne Lundale, Dominion

Mike Husband, CIBC 
Mobile Mortgage Advisor


For long term rate hold, like a Development pre-sale:
Rebecca Awram

Rebecca Awram website

Prior to your completion date fees:

GST - Rebate Threshold and Transitional Rules For New Housing

The Province increased the threshold for the BC HST new-housing rebate from $400,000 to $525,000 to ensure that, on average, purchasers of new homes up to $525,000 pay no more tax due to harmonization than was currently embedded as PST.

The Province also has transitional rules for new housing. The provincial portion of the HST does not apply to sales of new homes where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.  In addition, sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into on or before November 18, 2009, are generally not subject to the provincial portion of the HST, even if both ownership and possession are transferred on or after July 1, 2010.

Property transfer tax relief

When you buy a home, the provincial government charges a tax of 1 per cent of the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2 per cent of the remainder. But if you're a first-time buyer, you can purchase ppt tax-free as long as the purchase price is less than $425,000.

Here's further details:

In most of Canada, real estate Buyers pay Property Transfer Tax ("PTT"). In BC, it is calculated at 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% of the fair market value (usually the purchase price) in excess of $200,000. Please note that Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the Provincial Property Transfer Tax (PTT) have completely separate and distinct rules for determining your status as a First Time Home Buyer.

Who Qualifies for the Exemption from the PTT as a First Home Buyer? You qualify for the exemption if:

  1. You are a Canadian citizen, or a permanent resident as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada),
  2. You have lived in BC for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date you register the property, or
  3. You have filed two income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the date you register the property,
  4. You have never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time (a principal residence is defined as the usual place where an individual lives), and
  5. You have never received a first time home buyers exemption or refund.

What Property Qualifies for the Full Exemption?

The property you purchase qualifies if:

  • The fair market value of the property (land plus improvements) is not more than the current threshold of $425,000,
  • The land is 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller, and the property will only be used as your principal residence,
  • The current threshold amount applies to purchases registered on, or after, February 20, 2008.

More information about the requirements for the exemption from the PTT as a First Time Home Buyer in BC can be found here First Time Home Buyer Eligibility Requirements.


Prepaid property taxes or utility bills - You will have to reimburse the sellers for any prepaid property taxes or utilities.

Sort out your annual tax amount. Do you qualify for the homeowner's grant? Home Owner Grant: BC grant used as a deduction from municipal property taxes for homeowner's principle residence. $570 for those under 65, and $700 for those over 65. Please check with your City or Municipality for the most up-to-date information.

Mortgage loan insurance and application fee - If you get a high-ratio mortgage (a mortgage where you pay less than a 25% down payment) you will have to buy mortgage loan insurance from CMHC or a private company. If you qualify for a 5% down payment, CMHC charges an insurance fee that equals 3.75% of the mortgage. If you put 10% or 15% down, your insurance fees will decrease to 2.5% and 2% respectively. The insurance premium usually gets added to your mortgage.

Sometimes, you may also have to pay an application fee. CMHC's standard fee is $235. CMHC also offers a basic service for a $75 fee but it must be accompanied by an appraisal.

Appraisal - Before your lender approves your mortgage, you may be required to have an appraisal done. Sometimes your lender covers this cost otherwise you are responsible for covering this cost. The fee ranges from $225 to $500.

Survey fee - Your lender may require an up-to-date survey of the property. If the seller did not provide you with one, you will have to pay to have one done. The fee ranges from $225 to $500. Surveys are usually only required on a house.

Home Inspection fee - Most Realtors recommend that you get a home inspection by a certified home inspector. The price for a condo inspection is around $400-450 and the cost for a home inspection on a house is anywhere from $450-550 approximately. Prices vary depending on the home inspector.

Legal fees - Lawyers/Notaries fees for closing the sale range according to the complexity of the deal.

Notary public costs: The approximate cost for handling the conveyancing needs for the sale of a property is around $400-600, and the cost of handling the conveyancing for a purchase of property is anywhere from $700-1500. Prices vary so obtain quotes in advance. Lawyer fees are usually higher.

Disbursements to Land Titles Office - These fees are approximately $400. Your lawyer/notary will arrange this payment.

Dianne Moscrip

Ready to find out more?

Call Dianne today! 604.518.0573