The most overlooked costs when renting or buying a new home
You’ve done it. You’ve found your dream home, your next place to lay your head, your sanctuary. That’s a cause for celebration. But here’s the question. Can you afford the party? After all, the real price of moving is often hidden. There’s a lot more money involved than your accepted offer or agreed-upon rent amount. It’s not uncommon to need a little extra cash after you cross the finish line, which it turns out is a couple of kilometers past your move-in date.
The good news is that with the help of Spring Financial, we can guide you through the most overlooked costs associated with moving, to make sure you don’t hit any speed bumps - and if you do, we’ve got you covered there, too. Let’s dive in.
Closing time: Great song, the best part of your Friday afternoon, and an exciting step on the homeseeker’s journey. Closing costs are a significant expense that you want to plan for ahead of time. They’re the fees that home buyers pay to a lawyer or notary to complete the necessary legal paperwork required to transfer the ownership of a property, property transfer taxes, appraisal fees and insurance. They range widely, but you can expect to pay between 1.5% and 4% of the purchase price of your new home, which adds up in the thousands. Remember that these fees vary depending on where you’re buying, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time and budget accordingly. A great realtor will help you stay ahead of the game.
If you’re a regular reader of The Guide here on REW, you’ll know our feelings on home inspections. They’re crucial, saving you money on both home repairs and Advil down the road. Unfortunately, they aren’t free, and this is one of those times when you don’t want to go with the cheapest option, no matter how much your dad thinks he’s “got this”. You’ll want to budget between $300 and $700 depending on the property size.
Buying a home in Canada is a huge investment, whether you’re opting for a condo, townhouse, or detached home. A home inspection makes sure that you go beyond what you can see with your own eye, revealing as much as possible so that you’re putting in an offer with full confidence. Trust us, the truth may hurt, but not as much as a leaky roof.
When you’re renting, you’ll likely need to allocate some funds to go toward a security deposit. It’s taken to cover any damages that happen to the property during your tenancy, just in case you should happen to build a skatepark inside your downtown studio apartment. Those kick-flips will cost you.
To avoid any surprises, make sure you read the fine print and understand the terms of your deposit. Sometimes an additional non-refundable cleaning fee is included in your deposit, and pet deposits add up quickly, so you’ll want to know their total costs beforehand. Document the property's condition, take video if you can, and communicate any issues with your landlord to avoid surprises when it’s time to move out. Security deposits in Canada can cost thousands of dollars, and should always be crystal clear.
Let’s rock down to electric avenue and chat about utilities for a minute. Whether you’re renting or buying, utilities are an ongoing expense. And like calories in a sleeve of delicious Oreos, they can add up quickly. Best to read the nutrition label on the side of the box before you get too comfortable. Before signing a lease or purchasing a new home in Canada, inquire about the average utility costs at your new digs. Electricity, gas, water, and other costs should be known before you move in so that you can avoid any surprises when the bills arrive. Unless of course you enjoy cooking via a wood fire and reading by candlelight.
Different types of utilities cost different amounts depending on the provider, location, and type of service. As a reference point, the average cost of utilities in Canada is around $300 per month.
Hiring a moving company.
The physical act of moving is a workout for your legs. The financial act of moving is a workout for your bank account. Both are equally exhausting. When you hire a professional moving company, you can save time and energy during the relocation process - but only if the company conducts itself in a professional manner. Hiring inexperienced movers will only add to your stress levels.
If you’re moving yourself, budget the cost of a rental truck, packing supplies and pizza for your strongest friends. If you’re hiring a reputable moving company, get a quote before you buy or lease your new home. Your wallet and your back will thank you.
Maintaining your castle isn’t free. Depending on the upkeep of your new home, you’ll want to keep maintenance costs in mind upfront. That said, maintenance looks different depending on the type of property you purchase.
Renters of apartments can often depend on their landlord to take on general maintenance, but renting a detached home is a different story. Likewise, homeowners of apartments will have less maintenance than detached home buyers, and townhomes often come with monthly maintenance fees. In general though, homeowners in Canada will be their own gardeners, snow plowers, and pest control specialists (unless you want to pay for it). Know what you need to purchase or who you need to hire to maintain your home, and add it to your budget.
This is where numbers can vary wildly. Whether you’re renting or buying, you should know which renovation projects you need to take on upon moving in, and have their costs accounted for in detail. The price of a new roof or flooring can range significantly, whereas the cost of adding a heat pump or a new toilet is fairly fixed.
Create a rough budget and know your numbers. If the home you’re purchasing needs new trim, doors, or windows, you should know these costs before you make an offer. This way, you’ll know how much money you have to play with after you take possession. Estimate your renovation costs before purchasing so that your must-haves are taken care of and your home is everything you want it to be.
When you move into a new home, everything you need to furnish immediately becomes evident, which often leaves homeseekers searching for more money. Separate your nice-to-haves and your need-to-haves and outline the associated costs attached to each item. If you sell your couch before you move, you’ll likely need one to replace it - and the La-Z-Boy empire wasn’t built on charity. Remember that the supply chain is still (yes, still) fairly backed up, so if you’re looking at new furniture, delays are still common and full payments might not be accepted until your order is shipped. Waiting up to six months for certain pieces isn’t uncommon, unfortunately.
Furnishing a home can be thousands of dollars, and it’s important to establish a timeline so that you know exactly what you need, and when you need it.
Another expense that renters and homeowners should consider is insurance. Renter's insurance can help protect your personal belongings in the event of theft, fire, or other unexpected events, while homeowner's insurance can protect your property and personal belongings from damage caused by a natural disaster, fire, theft, or other events.
The cost of insurance in Canada can vary depending on the amount of coverage you need and the location of the rental or home. If you’re moving to a home on a floodplain, for example, you might be in for a much larger insurance bill than you were expecting. Shop around and compare rates from different insurers to find the best coverage at the most affordable price.
Do you need help covering your moving costs?
Whether you're renting or buying a home in Canada, there are a variety of expenses that can catch you off guard if you're not prepared. By budgeting for these expenses ahead of time and preparing for unexpected expenses, you can avoid any financial surprises and enjoy your home sweet home.
While it's important to budget for moving-related costs, unexpected expenses can still arise. This is where small personal loans can come in handy. Spring Financial's Personal Loan Product, for example, offers same-day personal loans of up to $35,000 (you can even get approved without ever leaving your home). These loans can be used to cover unexpected expenses such as emergency home or rental repairs, moving costs, or virtually anything else we’ve listed above. Just know that when you need a hand, Spring Financial offers fixed interest rates and flexible repayment terms of up to 18 months, so you can choose a repayment schedule that works for you. By preparing for unexpected expenses, you can avoid any financial surprises and enjoy your home sweet home.