Buying a house in Toronto as a non-resident 101

Buying a house in Toronto is a pretty simple process unless you are a non-resident. Even though Canada is pretty welcoming towards foreigners, the process is a bit more difficult and requires some extra effort and professionals you will be needing. That’s why we are here -to help you to buy a house in one of Canada’s most amazing cities – Toronto. This city has everything so no matter how old you are – it will be perfect. Many families are happily raising their kids here. You will find that this is also a great retirement place. When it comes to education, it is also a great place for younger generations and when it comes to young professionals – you will easily find plenty of job opportunities.

Before we start

Before we start, we have to answer the question many are wondering – are non-residents allowed to buy a house in Toronto, or in Canada in general? Non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents can legally purchase real estate in the Toronto area. They, like any other buyer, need to go through the standard channels when purchasing a home. This entails making all required tax payments, including the extra NRST (Non-Resident Speculation Tax). Moving to Toronto will be such an amazing adventure!

Toronto by day
You chose the perfect location to buy a house!

Non-Resident Buyer’s Tax

Yes, in addition to the regular purchase fees and taxes, all non-resident buyers in the Toronto area must pay an NRST as we already mentioned. The vast majority of non-locals will have to pay this tax on any property they purchase in the area, however, some rebates and exemptions may be available. This is a pretty common reason why Americans are moving to Canada.

You will need a lawyer

To complete a real estate transaction in Canada, both parties need to have their legal representation sign the transfer document. This is something you should expect. Additionally, there are transfer and other property transaction-related data retrieved by specialist software. Since only lawyers can use this program, you should definitely have one present during the closing. Counsel may be involved from the outset, or they may be needed only at the close. An attorney well-versed in international real estate transactions is invaluable for any foreign buyer of Canadian property. By doing so, you can avoid making any egregious, easy-to-overlook blunders.

A person shaking hands with a lawyer before the process of buying a house in Toronto
This is the easiest way to buy a house.

Real estate lawyer

A lawyer’s primary responsibility during the purchase of Toronto real estate is to ensure that the transaction is handled in a timely and proper manner. Commonly, deals of this nature are high-stakes, complex affairs. Your attorney’s role will include reviewing the conditions of your agreement, facilitating the transfer of monies to the seller, and ensuring that you are properly listed as the property’s new owner on all relevant paperwork. You can usually expect them to show up after you’ve settled on a price with the owner and taken other necessary steps to secure the home. Choose a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of real estate law and has expertise with transactions like yours. (Keep in mind that there are two distinct types of real estate attorneys: commercial and residential).

Let’s talk about insurance

Insurance is a must in case your property or possessions are damaged by things like fire, theft, or other accidents. Hopefully, something like that will never happen. In addition, mortgage providers will want you to show proof of homeowner’s insurance when you apply for a loan. Although it may be difficult and costly for a non-resident to obtain insurance, you should give serious consideration to doing so. It’s important to remember that, unlike auto insurance, home insurance is not mandated in Canada.

Instead of calling each individual insurance provider, it is much more efficient to work with a broker. Many of them work for a variety of insurance providers. Also, they are happy to talk to you about your options. As opposed to insurance brokers, who typically represent multiple insurers, insurance agents typically represent only one and can help you figure out things like what kind of coverage you need, how much you should pay for it, whether or not you qualify for any discounts, and so on for your property.

Websites that you will need right now

Obviously, you will need a local realtor to help you with buying a house in Toronto. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look around online. Then, once you find that perfect house you can call to help you out. Until then, check out the following websites:

A laptop, a computer, and a tablet.
Luckily we can rely on modern technology!

Buying a house in Toronto in a few simple steps (summing things up now)

First, you need to research Toronto and see which area/s you prefer. Then you can start looking at homes online on one of the websites we already suggested. Then if you are applying for a mortgage (yes foreigners can apply for a mortgage in Canada) you will need to deal with the financial aspect of buying a house. Your next step is hiring a realtor. Just make sure to find a local one. They are usually the best at this. Once your realtor finds you some houses you like you will need to find a home inspector.

Usually, realtors already have some at hand. Hiring a home inspector is a very smart option just like hiring movers for relocation is. Experts can handle heavy pieces for you and help you with all your moving needs and you will also need experts in the process of buying a house in Toronto. It might sound like a hassle right now and it is. There is no easy way to buy a home in a day and move without dealing with anything.

Buying property is a huge deal and yes, you will need to do some paperwork and deal with lawyers but soon enough you will have your dream home in Toronto. That’s a pretty good reward for all your trouble. Good luck!