Welcome back to my 7 part home buyer's guide designed to teach you everything that you need to know about buying a home in Vancouver.

Whether you are purchasing your first home or your third, this series will help you to navigate the complexities and financial implications of your purchase. Part 1, Are You Financially Ready, can be found here. Parts 2 and 3, Consider your Mortgage Options and Mortgage Default Insurance, can be found here. Parts 4 and 5, Government Programs and Finding a Home can be found here. This newsletter contains the final sections, Parts 6 and 7, Making and Offer and Closing and Related Costs.

Part 6: Making an Offer

After seeing many different homes, you have finally found one worthy of an offer! What are the next steps?

What is an offer?

An offer is a formal, legal agreement to purchase a home and is legally binding once accepted by the seller. Offers to purchase a home can be made conditional on factors such as financing or a home inspection. If any of the conditions are not met, you can change or cancel the offer, even if the seller has already accepted it.

Do you have your money ready?

You will need to present a deposit within one week of having an accepted offer (after subject conditions are removed) or right away if you are writing a non-subject offer. The amount varies based on the home's purchase price and the market. It is usually around 5%.

Do you have up-to-date identification?

The federal Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act(PCMLTFA) requires REALTORS® to identify clients involved in the buying and selling of real estate. REALTORS® need to record your name, address, date of birth and occupation for their files which are kept for at least five years. They need to see valid government-issued ID. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) provides more information about the Act on its website: www.fintrac-canafe.gc.ca.

Part 7: Closing and Related Costs

Closing costs are the legal, administrative and disbursement fees associated with buying a home. Understanding these fees will help you budget more accurately. Remember these are additional costs over and above the price of the home.

How much land transfer tax will you have to pay?

The land transfer tax is a one-time tax levied by your province when you purchase a property. The tax is based on a percentage of the purchase price of the property, and varies from province to province. Some municipalities also charge a land transfer tax (for example, Toronto).

Have you budgeted for the associated legal costs?

Legal costs cover your lawyer’s fees or notary’s fees. These may include:

• Reviewing the terms of the offer

• Conducting a title search on the property

• Registering a new title

• Obtaining relevant documents, such as surveys and evidence of liens on the property

• Checking the statement of adjustments for taxes, utility and fuel bills, and other costs that have been pre-paid by the seller at the date of closing

Do you need a home inspection?

A home inspector assesses a property’s condition and can tell you if something is not working properly, needs to be changed, or is unsafe. They may be able to identify where there have been problems in the past, such as a leaking basement or termite damage.

What other costs can you expect?

• Interest adjustments between date of closing and first mortgage payment

• GST/HST on a new home or a home that’s been extensively renovated

• Service charges from utility companies for hook-ups on electricity, gas, internet and telephone services

• Appraisal fees

• Moving costs

• Storage costs if you must leave your current residence before you are able to move into your new home

• Furniture and appliances

• Real estate commissions

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