We have everything you need to know about the home buying process in our complete guide to buying a home in Alberta.
The true cost of buying a home in Alberta
An outline for finding a home that works for your lifestyle and fits your budget.
By ATB Financial 18 August 2023 3 min read
Buying a home is an exciting time and a huge milestone. Many factors can play into our purchase: our emotional response, how well a house meets our needs and how it fits into our budget.
If you want to make a home work with a tight budget, set aside some time to think through all of the expenses involved in buying a house up front. Working with the purchase price alone doesn’t give an accurate picture of what you’ll have to pay. Prepare yourself for the true cost of buying a home in Alberta with this outline of the expenses to factor in when home buying.
Here’s a high level look at what to expect:
- Plan on spending about 2% of your purchase price on additional costs.
- If you have a down payment of less than 20%, another 2.8% - 4% of the mortgage amount will be added to your costs. This is usually added to your mortgage amount.
So, if you’re buying a new home for $500,000 with a mortgage of 5% down ($25,000), you’ll have another $21,375* added for mortgage insurance. Your total mortgage will be $496,375. Then you’ll also need to budget approximately $8,000 for additional costs.
Now let's take a closer look at what goes into these additional costs:
Costs you always have to pay
- Adjustment costs. (Varies, budget for $1000–$2000) You’ll need to reimburse the previous owner for any utility payments or property taxes that have been paid beyond the closing date.
- Legal fees. ($1000–$2000) Lawyers will need to do paperwork. Make sure you know exactly what they’re charging you for. Keep in mind that this is an approximation—always chat with a lawyer to get the most up-to-date cost.
- Title insurance. (around $300) Your mortgage provider will require this. It may save you from the higher costs of a property survey.
- Property insurance. ($1500 to $3500 at closing, then annually) Your mortgage provider usually requires you to have insurance to cover the replacement value of your home and its contents.
- Moving expenses. (Varies) It could be anything from beer and pizza for your friends, to a well-insured international moving company.
- Utility service charges. ($35–$50 per utility) Check with your utility providers to find out what your exact moving fees will be.
If you put less than 20% down
- Mortgage insurance. (Between 2.8%-4% of your mortgage amount) If you have a down payment of less than 20% of your mortgage amount, you need to insure your mortgage. This cost can be paid up front or added to your mortgage.
Costs you may have to pay
- Property appraisal. $300–$500. Usually your mortgage provider will ask you to have the property you’re purchasing appraised at your expense. The cost will be higher for large, unique or rural properties.
- Property survey. $1,000–$2,000. Your mortgage provider may want an up-to-date survey. If the seller doesn’t already have one, you’ll have to pay for it. But before you do that, see if your lender will accept title insurance instead—many do.
- Home inspection fee. $350–$600. We recommend that you get your new home inspected before you purchase. It can save you from very costly surprises after you move in.
- Estoppel certificate fee. up to $100. If you’re buying a condo or strata unit, an estoppel certificate lets you know if the previous owner has outstanding payments and the amount of interest owing on unpaid condo contributions.
- Other costs. You may want to add a personal touch to your home when you move in. Updating decor or small renovations are another cost to budget for. Cleaning fees are another consideration. A cleaning company might be used for moving out, moving in or both.
If you’re buying a brand new build
- Goods & Services Tax (GST). (5% of purchase price) If you’re buying a newly built home, you’ll be charged GST. This is usually included in the contract price. But if the new home you’re buying is less than $450,000 and will be your primary residence, you may qualify for a partial rebate. Check out the Revenue Canada website or talk with a real estate accountant for more information.
- New Home Warranty. ($2,000) In Alberta, this is mandatory if you’re building a new home.
Many of the higher costs can be rolled into your mortgage, but keep this in mind when you decide the mortgage amount you can afford. Your lender will be able to guide you through this process. Understanding the real costs of buying a house will help you find the home that’s right for you—one that you love and can afford.
*Based on a 25-year amortization.
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