In 2012, we had the opportunity to help a number of non-Canadian residents buy real estate in Toronto. While we did write a Guide to Buying Property in Canada, I wanted to take the opportunity to pass along a few tips for foreigners looking to get into the property market in Toronto:
- Work with a real estate agent who uses video and technology to help you tour properties and participate in home inspections from overseas. You can almost replicate the home buying experience with technology.
- You’ll need a big downpayment – 35% is not uncommon. You’ll also have to jump through some hoops to get financing from a Canadian bank – but it can be done.
- Get a Power of Attorney if you want to avoid coming to Canada to sign the official mortgage paperwork (but the offer to purchase a property can easily be done while overseas)
- Know the tax rules! Non-Canadian residents who sell real estate in Canada have to pay taxes (though there aren’t any special non-residency taxes for the purchase of a house or condo). You can find out more than you want to know on the Canada Revenue Agency‘s website.
- Getting home insurance might be a challenge as not all insurers approve non-residents. Make sure you find out the cost of insurance before you make an offer on a property.
- Work with a Realtor who has experience with non-resident real estate purchases and can hook you up with appropriate lenders, property managers, insurance agents etc.
- Work with a Realtor who knows the pros and cons and ins and outs of Toronto neighbourhoods and knows how to analyze an investment opportunity. Neighbourhood matters and much like Torontonians wouldn’t be able to identify a good neighbourhood in your city, you’ll need to rely on expert advice to invest in the right neighbourhood in Toronto.
If you’re thinking about buying property in Canada, contact us for more information and to get available properties e-mailed to you.