To buy or not to buy? that is the question

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 Deciding where to live can seem overwhelming. There are a lot of factors that contribute to that choice. What you may not know is that it is not simply a choice between renting OR buying, there is also a third option: buying a home on leased land. Listed below are some pros and cons of each to help you decide.

Renting:

Pros:

  • You are usually only committed for a year at a time.
  • You are not taking on debt in the form of a mortgage in order to live there.
  • You are not responsible for the maintenance of the apartment itself or the property. No shovelling in the winter, no lawn to mow in the summer.
  • Many apartment buildings are not pet friendly, and those that are usually only allow cats, small dogs, & other small pets.

Cons:

  • There is less privacy living in such close proximity to your neighbours.
  • You are not able to change much if anything in the home to make it “yours”.
  • Your payments do not build any equity, do not have any ownership rights in the property.

Buying Property:

Pros:

  • The land and house belong to you. You are free to paint, renovate or make changes to the land, such as putting in a pool etc.
  • You can have the pets you like, including large dogs.
  • You have more privacy in a detached home, and particularly those on rural or wooded lots.

Cons

  • You are responsible for maintenance of the property. That means the home, the driveway, as well as septic and well if you are not on municipal services. It also means mowing grass or shovelling in the winter.
  • Most people must commit to a mortgage in order to finance the purchase of the home. These can be substantial monthly payments. Also if you do not have good credit this may not be an option.
  • You pay a lump sum tax called Deed Transfer Tax when you purchase land in Nova Scotia. In HRM this is 1.5% of the purchase price.
     

Buying a home on leased land:

Pros:

  • You own the house and are free to renovate it to your taste. You can also have whatever pets you like in your home.
  • You are not responsible for maintenance to the property itself, such as well and septic.
  • You do not pay Deed Transfer Tax because you are buying the home, but not the land it sits on.
  • Since the mortgage will only be on the home, it will result in lower monthly payments. This means you may be able to live in a neighbourhood you could not otherwise afford.
  • You do still build equity in a substantial asset, although it is only on the house itself.

Cons:

  • You don’t own the land. This may limit your ability to make certain changes, such as putting in a pool etc.
  • You will likely have to commit to a mortgage on the home itself, and a land lease.
  • You will pay a monthly land lease fee to the owner for use of the property, for as long as you use it.

If you are interested in looking into the land lease option you can see for yourself and ask questions one local option is Foxwood Village. It is a new development in Hubley selling modular homes on leased land parcels. You can find their information on their website: http://foxwoodvillage.ca

Have questions for us?:

If you questions related to this topic we'd be happy to help.  You can call us at (902) 826-3070 to set up a meeting or contact us online.  You can also schedule a no commitment Issue Review Consult for $100+HST where you have the opportunity to explain your situation to a lawyer and get basic advice before deciding whether or not you'd like to retain us.

By: Briana O'Grady, J.D. - Associate Lawyer

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