The most popular website in Canada is undoubtedly the MLS - Multiple Listing Service used by realtors. But I still recommend viewpoint.ca for browsing because it gives more information than is found on a typical real estate listing and also includes recently sold properties so you can get a general idea of prices in a similar location. It doesn't replace actually getting your boots on and going for a walk with your realtor, but it's a good place to get a feel for what you want and to weed out the places that don't appeal.
Buying a house or land in Nova Scotia is both inexpensive compared to other similar locations in the world, and easy. Of course, having the right tools and knowledge goes a long way towards ensuring a smooth and stress free experience for both buyers and sellers. If you're buying then you should make sure that you know the legal requirements and have a basic understanding of what to expect.Transactions can be dealt with by you and the seller, through a brokerage, agent, lawyer or municipality depending on the circumstances. However, the majority of transactions are through real estate agents and the brokerages they represent with lawyers handling the title transfers and legal paperwork.
In Nova Scotia, and in fact all of Canada, the seller pays the fees of the realtor unless they have listed privately and say that they will not pay fees. What does this mean to you? It means that if you're buying, you won't have to pay real estate fees related to the cost of purchasing your home though you may have some occasional fees to cover advertising you request. This would be unusual however and you would have to request this service and authorize any charges before your realtor would do anything. When working with a realtor you would also sign an exclusivity agreement that basically says the realtor represents you and so if you buy a home, they get their commission. It's for a fixed term and can be cancelled in writing. It's a way of making sure that multiple agents are not working with the same clients and then fighting over who gets the commission. Fees you will have to pay are the conveyancing fees to a lawyer to transfer title, the legal paperwork etc. You should do your research and find out the transfer amounts because they do vary greatly especially between the Halifax Regional Municipality and the rural areas in Nova Scotia. Commissions are calculated using one of several variations. Check here for the official word.
How fees are calculated A brokerage’s fee is most often calculated in the following ways:
By a percentage of the sale price (for real estate)
A flat fee
A fee for service
A combination of any of these
Note: Real estate brokering is a “service” and therefore Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is applicable to all fees. Real estate brokerage fees A real estate brokerage and client may negotiate any terms agreeable to them for the services provided. Any of the following calculations are possible:
1. Percentage of the sale price For example: An Industry Member charges 5% commission on the sold price of a property. The commission is calculated: 200,000 × 0.05 = $10,000 + HST Another percentage example shows a split percentage, with one amount of percentage charged on part of the sale price and another on the balance of the sale price. Therefore, as an example on a $200,000 sale, a commission of 6% on the first $100,000 and 2% on the remaining balance, would calculate as: (100,000 × 0.06) + (100,000 × 0.02) = (6,000 + 2,000) = $8,000 + HST
2. Flat fee The fee is a flat fee of an agreed upon amount regardless of the sale price, such as $10,000 + HST.
3. Fee for service All the individual services provided will be compensated for. The client and the brokerage should agree prior to entering into an agreement of what the service fees will be. The fee for service could be based on an hourly rate, specific amount for each service provided, or in the case of property management, a monthly service fee for specified services performed each month. The number of services provided may require an addendum to the service contract.
4. A combination of fee calculations For example: A flat fee plus a fee for service based on an agreed list of services. Assume the property sells for $200,000. ($5,000 flat fee) + ($5,000.00 total service fees) = ($5,000 + $5,000) = $10,000 + GST
Attention: You need to find out if fees are refundable or not and do not sign any agreement until you have read and understood it—and only then, if you agree to it.