18 common fees: A cheat sheet for home buyers and sellers

Written by the Square One team

Reviewed by Mike Kelly

Updated June 27, 2024 | Published November 18, 2018

Selling or buying a home is the largest transaction most of us ever become involved in. But the actual purchase price on a house listing is only a part of the ultimate cost of buying or selling it. We’ve created this cheat sheet to cover the 18 common and hidden fees.

Costs and fees for buyers

  1. Legal fees and disbursements

    These fees are charged by a lawyer or notary, and can cost up to $1,200 depending on the complexity of the deal. Your lawyer or notary will arrange all transfers, payments and other factors of the funds for the real estate transaction.

  2. Property or land transfer tax

    This is applied on all purchases of homes. These taxes are calculated at different rates depending on the province and city in which the sale takes place. For example, in Ontario, the tax rates on land transfers are: 0.5% on the first $55,000, 1.0% on amounts from $55,000 to $250,000, 1.5% on amounts from $250,000 to $400,000, and 2.0% on amounts greater than $400,000. First-time homebuyers may qualify for an exemption on some or all of the land transfer tax. See what first-time homebuyer programs are available in your province.

  3. Property taxes

    This should come out of your legal fees, and your notary will take care of this. You will owe or receive a prorated amount for the remainder of the year’s property taxes.

  4. Utility payments/hook-up fees

    You will have to pay to have your utilities connected to your new property.

  5. Survey fee

    Your lender may require an up-to-date survey of the property. If the seller doesn’t provide you with one, you will pay at least $800 to have it done.

  6. Home inspection fee

    It is always a good idea to get your new home inspected before you remove subjects. It can be an invaluable way to ensure the safety and structural integrity of your investment.

  7. Appraisal fee

    Before your lender approves your mortgage, you may be required to get an appraisal. This can be anywhere from $250 to $500.

  8. Mortgage loan insurance premium (if less than 20% down)

    If you get a mortgage where you pay less than 20% for the down payment, you will have to get mortgage loan insurance. This insurance rate can range from 1.75% to 3.25%, though it will be bundled with your regular mortgage payments. There is also a mortgage loan insurance application fee associated with this insurance. One upside of insured mortgages is that you may be able to secure a lower rate.

  9. Moving expenses

    These costs can vary, depending on if you hire a moving service or enlist family and friends to help. Moving expenses can total anywhere from $200-$2,000.

  10. Move out fees (strata buildings)

    This is usually in place to lock out the elevator.

  11. Renovations and repairs

    Costs will vary depending on your needs and wants.

  12. Property insurance

    You will pay monthly or annually for insurance protection on your new property. Your home insurance premiums are based on the area you live, the property value, the land, etc. They can vary a lot, but a cost of at least $1,000 per year is to be expected.

  13. Real estate agent fees

    The seller is responsible for paying these fees, though they would come out of the sale price rather than the seller’s pocket. You can also negotiate something differently in order to close a deal.

  14. Miscellaneous fees

    If buying in a heritage neighborhood, you are responsible for verifying that there is no oil tank underground on the property. If there is, you are responsible for removing it. This can cost upwards of $2,000.

  15. Costs and fees for sellers

  16. Legal fees

    As noted above, the lawyer/notary fees for closing the sale will vary according to the intricacy of the transaction, but they should range from $500-$700. Again, your lawyer or notary will arrange the transfer of these funds.

  17. Real estate agent fees

    For standard agencies, the fee structure looks something like this:

    7% on the first $100,000 and 2.5% on the remaining balance of the sale price, plus applicable taxes. Of this total, the buyer’s agent is paid 3.255% on the first $100,000 and 1.1625% on the remaining balance. One Percent Realty charges you a flat rate of $6,900 plus GST. Property Guys and other independent avenues charge $400-$4,000 for various services. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ standard fee is 5% + 13% HST (in Ontario).

  18. Moving expenses

    As mentioned above, these costs can vary, depending on whether you hire a moving service or use family and friends. This can cost anywhere from $200-$2,000.

  19. Move out fees (condo buildings)

    Again, this is usually in place to lock out the elevator.

Want to learn more? Visit our Home Buying, Selling and Moving resource centre for everything you need to know about real estate, buying a home, or moving. Or, get an online quote in under 5 minutes and find out how affordable personalized home insurance can be.

About the expert: Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly is no stranger to working under pressure, Mike works hard for his clients in the Toronto real estate market while always maintaining a relaxed, low-stress environment. He builds trust with his clients through open and honest lines of communication.


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