Buying land anywhere is a daunting commitment, and the same goes for Ontario. If you don’t understand the details of buying a piece of land, it’s very easy to enter into an agreement you later regret. To ensure your decisions are sound and you are getting the best deal, our team has broken down what to look for when buying land in Ontario.
Buying Land in Ontario
About the Area
The first and foremost consideration when buying land is to decide on the area. Do your research into the potential locations according to your needs. If you have kids, look into the school systems, the safety rating of the neighborhood, transit if needed and anything else that might impact your decision.
Talking to residents will help give you a first-hand idea of what it’s like to live in your potential new locale. Once you have made up your mind, try contacting local developers or even surf the web for useful websites that are used for land exchanges and transactions. Ontario has quite a few land registry offices that you can call if you have any questions about ownership.
Property Zone for Residential and Non-Residential Areas
Depending on what you want the land for, there are zoning regulations that you must abide by. Property zoning means the piece of land and its surrounding areas are under certain restrictions.
Zoning laws vary from area to area, residential or non-residential. In general, zoning laws will affect what and how you can build. Impacted factors could be high how the building can be, and even the layout.
Depending on the area you pick, the bylaws will be different, so our experts stress the importance of looking into the rules and regulations in fear of tearing down your finished project just because it’s too high.
When you are buying in commercial areas for business purposes, there will be zoning bylaws that apply as well. You need to make sure that the plot you are looking into is allowed to accommodate your project. If you aren’t sure about the regulations and which plots will increase in value and the business potential, you can enlist the help of a commercial realtor.
Type of Land/Plot
The type of land or plot you buy hinges on what you want to build. You should also ask yourself if it’s suitable to build on. Some plots may only be zoned for certain purposes, while others are flood plains. Make sure you purchase the land knowing you can build the type of structure you intend without any zoning or committee rules.
Where you choose is incredibly important. Our experts say to ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea on if the land in question is suitable.
Is it properly zoned for your purposes? Is the crime rate in the area high, how safe is the location? Will the land flood easily? Are there any hindering structures nearby such as power plants and sewer drains?
Aside from these questions about the land itself, you should also think about the living conditions such as transportation, convenience, schools, parks, and anything else you might need.
Cost and Value
A huge consideration for investing in property and land is the cost and value. You want the land to appreciate, and not the other way around. To increase your chances for a good investment, you have to do your homework for the area, and our team suggests asking professionals such as a developer can help you make an informed decision.
Purchasing land is similar to purchasing a house, you need a down payment. For houses, a minimum of 5% is needed or up to 25% if you want a mortgage without insurance. For purchasing land, the down payment is significantly higher at 25%-50%. The amount will vary depending on the land you choose and the mortgage lender.
Our experts say just like with houses, not having enough for the down payment isn’t the end of the line. You can add your equity from other properties you own to the required down as collateral.
The title is in regards to who actually owns the land. For you to legally take possession of the plot, you need to be the title holder. The number of people listed as title holders can vary from one, two or more. The title holder can also be an entity, such as a corporation.
When you purchase land or property in Ontario, you need to pay a land transfer tax. The value will vary depending on the price of your property. The range is from 0.5% all the way up to 2.5%. The taxes can be paid in instalments throughout the year in 2, 6 or 11 instalments.
You do not have to pay Harmonized Sales Tax or HST on vacant land if it’s for residential purposes. If you plan to develop commercial properties, then HST  is applicable.
Our experts stress that utilities cost is also another factor to think about. Bringing utilities to your land can cost you tens of thousands, but again it depends on your land, location and how close you are to public utility connections.
How much does an acre of land cost in Ontario?
An acre of land in Ontario will approximately cost around eleven thousand dollars. This depends on the area and the size of the land, but Ontario land prices are generally higher than many other provinces.
How much is a downpayment on a vacant land in Ontario?
Down payment on a vacant land in Ontario can range from 25%-50%. The difference is due to the area and your building plans. If you have no immediate plans to build on the plot, the down payment will be higher for more guarantee and security for the lender.
Buying land in Ontario is not very difficult if you have the down payment. The amount will vary, so to make sure you are putting your money in a piece of land that will give you an ROI. Our experts urge you to consider all the factors stated above. It’s also vital to remember the cost to you won’t only be the land, but also taxes, utilities, and more.