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  • Writer's pictureMICHAEL BHAGWANDIN

Navigating Transfer Taxes: Who Pays in Resale vs. New Developments?

When you're in the market for a new home, understanding the fine print of closing costs can save you surprises—and potentially thousands of dollars. One of the most significant expenses that can arise during a real estate transaction is the transfer tax. But who is responsible for paying these taxes when you buy a home?

Transfer Taxes in Resale: Seller's Obligation

Traditionally, in the resale of a property, it is the seller who is responsible for paying the transfer taxes. This is seen as part of the cost of selling a property and is usually deducted from the proceeds of the sale. For the buyer, this means one less closing cost to worry about, allowing you to allocate funds to other expenses like down payments, renovations, or new furniture.

The Developer's Shift: A Historical Change

However, when it comes to new development projects, there's been a significant shift in who bears the burden of transfer taxes. This change dates back to the 1980s, when a developer named Donald Trump began a practice that would alter the landscape of real estate transactions for years to come. Unwilling to pay the transfer taxes on his sales, he shifted this cost onto the buyers, and this precedent stuck. Today, it's common practice for developers of new properties to pass on the cost of transfer taxes to the buyer.

New Developments: Buyer's Responsibility

As a result, if you're eyeing a shiny new condo or a newly minted townhouse in a development, be prepared to factor the transfer taxes into your budget. This can be a significant amount, depending on the sale price of the property, and it's an important consideration when you're calculating the total cost of your purchase.

Negotiating Transfer Taxes in Today's Market

The good news? In the current market, there's room for negotiation. As a buyer, you have the power to negotiate who pays the transfer taxes, especially in a new development. Developers are keen to sell, and with the right negotiation tactics, you could have them cover this cost.

As your advocate in the home buying process, I can step in to negotiate these terms for you. With experience and knowledge of the market's ebb and flow, I can often successfully have the developers absorb the transfer tax, alleviating that financial burden from you, the buyer.

Closing Thoughts

Understanding who is responsible for transfer taxes in the context of your real estate transaction is key. Whether it's a resale property or a new development, knowing the norms and your negotiation power can make a significant difference in your closing costs. Always consult with a knowledgeable real estate professional who can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf to ensure you're getting the best deal possible on your new home.

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