HRM Home Buyer's Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Real Estate Questions from Buyers in HRM


Question: Are there taxes on homes in Nova Scotia?

Answer: Yes. There is a municipal tax called a Deed Transfer Tax that is paid on all property sold in Halifax Regional Municipality. It is 1.5% of the purchase price of the house and is paid at the time of closing. There is 15% HST on new houses that is included in the asking price. It works out to less than 15% because of rebates to the builder.


Question: What are average electric and heating costs in Halifax Nova Scotia?

Answer: Electricity costs an average between $1000 and $1200 per year for most people. This is the electricity we would use for lights, appliances and such. Heating costs vary depending on the size and age of the house and what type of heating system you have. In general you can count on another $2500 to $3500 a year. Water costs about $500 - $600 a year. If you have a well there is no cost for water.


Question: How much down payment do you need to buy a home in Nova Scotia?

Answer: You need at least 5% of the purchase price. You will also need additional money to pay for the closing costs which are about 3% of the purchase price. The average price of a home here is about $280,000. So you would need a $14,000 down payment plus another $7,000 to $8000 for closing costs.

Question: How much is house/home owners insurance in Nova Scotia?

Answer: It varies depending on the size of the home and whether the home has an oil furnace or woodstove but on average home insurance costs between $750 and $1000 a year.

Question: How does the sale of new homes work in Halifax?

Answer: New houses are generally sold through MLS® the same as resale. There are no large scale builders who build every house in a subdivision and have their own sales staff. New houses are listed through MLS®and sold by MLS® agents.

Question: What are the current issues in buying a house in Halifax that I need to be concerned about?

Answer: Kitec plumbing is a huge issue here right now. You should ask if a home has Kitec in it and if it does if the seller is going to remove and pay for the removal. If not count on having it professionally removed. The cost varies but ranges from $3000 - $10,000. For more details click here KITEC.
Radon Gas is becoming a hot topic. Radon Gas is an odorless gas that has been linked to cancer. There are several areas of HRM that have been identified as high risk areas. You should have a condition in your agreement covering a Radon Gas test. You can do a Do It Yourself test or hire a professional testing company to do the test for you. We are experienced with Radon conditions and can handle this for you.

Question: What are Air/Heat Exchangers or Heat Recovery Units and what are they used for?

Answer: This is a mechanical unit that removes humidity from the houses by bringing in fresh air from the outside and removing the humid air from the inside.


Question: What are Restrictive or Protective Covenants?

Answer: These are rules for the subdivision that all owners must abide by. Most subdivisions developed since 1980 have them here. They usually include not being able to have a business, no daycares or schools, no farm animals, can't remove trees of a certain width or build a fence without approval and more. They are usually not that restrictive and protect everyone who buys in the subdivision.


Question: How long a time is there between the time I write an offer and possession?

Answer: The time varies depending on the owner's situation. The typical closing date is 45-60 days from offer date here. If you want to move into a house say in June you should have an accepted offer in place in April.


Question: How negotiable are prices in the Halifax metro area?

Answer: Negotiation varies between sellers and the market conditions. Resale homes usually have about 2% negotiation and new homes tend to have none.


Question: What is most popular form of heating in Nova Scotia homes?

Answer: Oil hot water baseboard or oil forced hot air and electric baseboard are the most popular. Whole house and split heat pumps are becoming very popular. The cheapest heating costs are with heat pumps which also offer air conditioning in summer months.


Question: What is a normal deposit that I will need when I submit my offer?

Answer: The amount varies depending on price and the owner's wishes but a typical deposit here would be $1,000-$2000 for a purchase price up to $300,000, $3,000 - $5,000 for $300,000-$500,000 and $5000-$10,000 for over $500,000.New homes would be between $5000 and $10,000.


Question: Can you show me listings of another company?

Answer: Yes. The MLS system we use means any agent can show any property listed for sale on the MLS system. You only need one agent to show you all the listings


Question: Can you send me full listing sheets by e-mail?

Answer: Yes. I can send you the full listing on any house you have the MLS number for by e-mail. If you see a house you want information on a will send you a more detailed sheet than you can find on your own and I will send it the same day you request it.


Question: What do I pay you for your services as my agent?

Answer: There is no charge to the buyer for agent's commissions. The owner of the property pays our fees.