Real estate transactions: Who pays for what?

There are many steps involved in a real estate transaction and many wonder who should pay for several costs that may arise during a real estate acquisition or sale? In this short blog I will try to summarize it for the buyers and the sellers:


  1. Inspection: The buyers will have to pay for an inspection should they choose to go ahead with it. In some cases (Recently built condos), some people opt out of performing an inspection, but as your real estate professional we always suggest that you do perform an inspection. To consult a list of certified home inspectors that we recommend, please click here.
  2. Notary Fees: It is the buyer who will pay the notary fees. The notary, or in some provinces or states the lawyer, is responsible to verify all the documents, to make sure the property is free of any leans, and prepare the deeds. The cost may vary depending on the type of property and the location where it is purchased. Please click here to consult a list of notaries that we suggest you use.
  3. Home Insurance: It is highly recommended that you obtain a home insurance and in fact it is obligatory if you purchase a property with a mortgage; the bank requires that you insure the property and keep it insured at all times. Please click here to consult a list of insurance providers that we recommend.
  4. Transfer Tax: This tax has different names depending on the location where you live. In Quebec it is sometimes referred to as “Welcome Tax”; whereas, in some other provinces or states it could be called “Land Transfer Tax”.  The way it works in Quebec, you will receive a bill from your municipality within 30-60 days after your notary has registered the change of ownership. Once you receive the bill, it is payable within 30 days. Please see here for some more explanations regarding this tax. If you have more questions about this subject, please feel free to contact me.
  5. Moving Costs: Depending on how much furniture you may have, this is another cost that you should keep in mind.
  6. Commission: In 99% of the cases the buyers do not pay any commission. In most cases, it is the sellers who pay the commission and the idea is that the buyer is already paying for the costs outlined above. Please feel free to contact me to find out in which cases a buyer is expected to pay the commission.


  1. Commission: It is normal practice that the sellers pay the commission to the real estate professionals involved in a transaction. There is no set rule or amount and fees are determined based on the property type, the services that you require, and market conditions.
  2. Certificate of Location: Nowadays, it is normal practice that the notary of the buyer asks the sellers to order a new certificate of location if the one that they currently have is more than 10 years old. The cost depends on the type/size of property, which land surveyor you choose to work with, and how fast you would like to have the certificate ready. Please click here to consult a list of land surveyors that we recommend.
  3. Tests: There are certain tests that the sellers are expected to pay for in a real estate transaction. These tests are mostly performed in commercial real estate, but it is not uncommon that a seller has to perform them even for a residential property. For example, if there is a chance of presence of asbestos, an air quality test is required. In certain areas, depending on the soil quality, a pyrite test is required to be done. In most cases the sellers are expected to pay for the costs unless the buyers agree to pay for them or split the cost with the seller.

Of course, these are all some costs that may occur in the majority of the transactions. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if you are dealing with a specific situation.