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Additional property transfer tax in Vancouver explained

The introduction of the new additional property transfer tax in Greater Vancouver Area (GVA) raised a lot of questions an concerns in Canadian real estate industry. According to the the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver property sales dropped nearly 26% in August 2016. However, experts in the industry association are saying it’s too early to judge the impact of the new taxes.

An additional property transfer tax for foreign buyers of residential real estate was introduced in GVA, excluding Tsawwassen First Nation lands effective August 2, 2016. It is 15% of the fair market value of the foreign buyer’s proportionate share of residential property. For instance, a foreign buyer would have to pay an extra $300,000 on a $2 million dollar purchase.

The Additional PTT is paid in addition to the general property land transfer tax payable on applicable real estate transactions that are registered with the Land Title Office. It applies to a wide variety of residential properties such as single family residences, duplexes, multifamily residences, condominiums, apartments and nursing homes. It also applies to any transaction that is normally exempt from property transfer tax (i.e., between related individuals or as a result of amalgamation).

A “foreign entity” status applies to foreign nationals who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents; foreign corporations that are not incorporated in Canada or incorporated in Canada but controlled in whole or in part by a foreign national or other foreign corporation (excluding corporations who’s shares are listed on a Canadian stock exchange); and taxable trusts belonging to a foreign national or foreign corporations or a beneficiary of a trust that is a foreign national or foreign corporation. Foreign entities are required to have an additional property transfer tax form filed at the time the property transfer is filed with the Land Title Office.

The additional property transfer tax does no apply to non-residential properties.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about any specific circumstances.

Parking Units: Owned vs. Exclusive Use Parking

Condo buyers often get confused by the differences in a parking space status in a condominium listing.

A listing indicating that the dwelling unit comes with parking doesn’t always entail the ownership of the parking space.

Some parking spaces are rented, others are owned or under an exclusive use.

While rented spaces are self-explanatory, the latter two should be carefully distinguished by a condo buyer.

Owned parking units come with a separate title and can be sold separately from the dwelling unit, subject to condominium rules established by the corporation governing documents.

Exclusive use parking spaces come with no legal title and they form a part of condominium elements. Usually, a dwelling unit will have a parking space allocated to it by the Declaration or by Board of directors. The owner of the dwelling unit using the parking space does no have a legal title and therefore doesn’t have the right to sell the space. However, the owner has the exclusive right to use the space as long as they own the unit and comply with the condominium rules.

Exclusive use parking spaces are subject to the condominium governing documents. The buyers should check with the condominium by-laws and rules on the use of the exclusive spaces, specifically on how they could be swapped or leased. It’s important for the condo corporation to maintain clear and updated records of all exclusive parking spaces and to terminate any swap or lease of the exclusive parking space as soon as the dwelling unit changes its ownership.

Before committing to a condominium purchase, consult with your realtor on the parking space use and make sure to always have a provision of reviewing the condo status certificate with your lawyer in your agreement of purchase and sale.

Renovations and Home Insurance

Home renovations often require advanced planing and budgeting. However, a lot of homeowners tend to overlook their home insurance while planning renovations.

Informing your insurance company of the upcoming renovations is a crucial step in the project organizing process.

Homeowners should keep in mind possible risks involved in the renovations process such as injuries and property damage (including neighbouring properties). If the insurance provider is not notified in advance, the home insurance could potentially be invalid.

It’s important to talk to your insurance provider to make sure your policy matches the changes you’ve made to the property. Otherwise the home insurer might void the policy retroactively.

Speak to your insurance provider to ensure a stress-free renovations process before you start.

Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) Checklist for a pre-construction condo

Before you occupy your new pre-constuction condo, the builder will arrange a Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI). During the PDI a builder’s representative will guide you through a detailed inspection of your new unit including instructions on how to operate all the systems.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with excitement of seeing your new condo for the first time. However, it is important that you examine your unit carefully and point out all shortcomings you find during the pre-delivery inspection, so the builders will fix them before you take possession of the unit. For larger units, it is a good idea to hire a qualified home inspector to go through your unit with a fine-tooth comb and provide a report.

Tarion, the new home warranty provider in Ontario offers an extensive check-list on their website: http://www.tarion.com/New-Home-Buyers/Your-Pre-Delivery-Inspection/Pages/PDI-Check-List.aspx

However, based on my personal experience I would like to add a few points to that list:


• Are there any cracks in your balcony/terrace tiles?

• Check balcony floor ensure water drains out

• Inspect the railings and balcony glass to make sure they are sturdy and secure

• Make sure screen door(s) are in place


• Inspect the walls for any cracks or dents, nails or screws sticking out

• Check the light fixture installations and working condition (turning the light switches on/off)

• Are the electrical outlets working? (bring a phone charger to check all of them)


• Check the sink faucet and sink drainage

• Open and close all kitchen cupboards to make sure they work properly

• Confirm all your upgrades are installed


• Run the hot and cold water to ensure both faucets work properly in the sink and the bath/shower

• Make sure the bath tub drains well

• Inspect the toilet for cracks and flush to see if it works

• Turn on your fan to see it if works and how noisy it is

• Inspect the towel rack installation

This check-list combined with the Tarion one should provide you with good ammunition for your PDI. Once the PDI is done and you pick up your keys, you will still have 30 days to report any issues for the builder to fix. Best of luck with your new ownership!

Winterizing Your Home

This fall many GTA residents were caught off guard by a sudden cold snap, but there is still time to prepare your home for the real winter that is just around the corner. Here are some tips for winterizing your home:  
1) Furnace Inspection:
* Call an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and to clean ducts.
* Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
* If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
* Remove all flammable material from the area near your furnace. 
* Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly. 

2) Get the Fireplace Ready:  
* Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
* If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
* Buy firewood or chop wood.
* Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
* Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
* Check the mortar between bricks and tuck-point, if necessary.

3) Inspect Your Home Exterior, Doors and Windows:  

* Inspect home exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them if needed.
* Use weather-stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
* Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
* If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
* Switch out summer screens with glass replacements from storage. If you have storm windows, install them.

4) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts:

* Check flashing to ensure water cannot enter the home.
* Replace worn roof shingles or tiles.
* Clean out the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear away debris.
* Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.
* Adding extra insulation to the attic will prevent warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams in the temperature below 32 degrees


5) Check Foundations:
* Rake all debris and edible vegetation away from the foundation.
* Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
* Tuck-point or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
* Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
* Secure crawlspace entrances.

6) Install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: 
* Check with your city smoke detector requirements.
* Buy extra smoke detector batteries and change them when daylight savings ends.
* Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and / or water heater.
* Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
* Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher older than 10 years.

7) Prevent Plumbing Freezes:

* Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
* Drain all garden hoses.
* Insulate exposed plumbing pipes.
* Drain air conditioner pipes and, if your AC has a water shut-off valve, turn it off.

8) Prepare Landscaping & Outdoor Surfaces:

* Trim trees branches that are hanging too close to the house or electrical wires.
* Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
* Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
* Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area. 
* Some dead garden vegetation can be left behind as it provides attractive scenery in an otherwise dreary, snow-drenched yard.
* Plant spring flower bulbs.

9) Service Weather-Specific Equipment:  
* Drain gas from lawnmowers.
* Clean, dry and store summer gardening equipment.
* Service or tune-up snow blowers.
* Replace worn rakes and snow shovels.
* Sharpen ice choppers and buy bags of ice-melt/sand.

10) Prepare A Home Emergency Kit:
* Buy indoor candles and matches/lighter for use during a power shortage.
* Find the phone numbers for your utility companies and tape them near your phone or inside the phone book.
* Buy a battery back-up to protect your computer and sensitive electronic equipment.
* Store extra bottled water and non-perishable food supplies (including pet food, if you have a pet), blankets and a first-aid kit in a dry and easy-to-access location.
* Prepare an evacuation plan in the event of an emergency. 

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HomeLife/Realty One Ltd.
Real Estate Brokerage*

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E-mail: kat@katanderson.ca

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