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Thinking of Heading North? – What US Buyers Should Know About Moving to the Waterloo Region

Back at the end of 2016, for various reasons “Moving to Canada” went viral across social media in North America and although we may not be trending at the same pace today, we know there are many of you are still seriously considering migrating to the Great White North.

Among the many beautiful regions in Canada, the Waterloo Region is one of the most desirable destinations for foreigners. Not so familiar with our wonderful region? Here’s a just a little look:

Waterloo – The City of Waterloo is an energetic, diverse and very high tech city and it even has the awards to prove it. Waterloo is consistently named as one of Canada’s smartest cities as well as one of its most livable.

But it’s not all about the tech. The city boasts a rich history that is celebrated through museums, local events and more, and a selection of restaurants, stores and cultural institutions that is as diverse as it is comprehensive.

Kitchener – The City of Kitchener achieves the near impossible – it provides its over 240,000 residents with all of the excitement and convenience of big city living and yet still manages to remain the small town charm in which its history is rooted.

It is a city of innovation – Google is among just one of the many cutting-edge companies that call the city home – of diversity and most certainly of culture and celebration.

Cambridge – Located at the convergence of the amazing Grand River – a waterway designated a Canadian Heritage River – and the sprawling Speed River Cambridge is renowned for its charm and its Old World feel.

The whole city is reminiscent of one that might have been created by Dickens, with its historic limestone buildings, winding walking trails and wonderful waterfront.

Townships of Wellesley, Woolwich and Wilmot

The Township of Wellesley is a beautiful rural escape within just a 20-minute drive of the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. It is made up of the communities of Bamberg, Crosshill, Hawkesville, Heidelberg, Kingwood, Linwood, St. Clements, Wallenstein and Wellesley, and is home to many small businesses mixed together within a thriving farming community.

The Township of Woolwich is home to Canada’s largest year-round farmers’ market — the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market — as well as to some amazing Mennonite history and traditions and the only remaining covered bridge in Ontario, the West Montrose Covered Bridge, built in 1881 and known locally as the Kissing Bridge.

Home to Ontario’s first Amish settlement, the Township of Wilmot is a diverse set of communities sharing a proud history. At every turn, you’ll find history, beauty and excitement, as well as a great place to live.

Sounds good? We think so. If you’ve been thinking about moving to Canada, here are a few things you should know before buying your home in the Waterloo Region.

Have a Canadian Give You a Hand

Unless you’re already familiar with the area, it’s important to have someone guide you towards a neighbourhood that suits your lifestyle. Using a Realtor to help narrow your search is a great place to start. When it comes to neighbourhoods, they know the good from the bad, the booming from the low-key, the young-family friendly to those rich with retirees. The Waterloo Region has a neighbourhood for everyone and a Canadian Realtor will help you find it.

Search Like a Realtor

Here in Canada, the most common real estate search tool is Realtor.ca. This is a great place to start browsing to see what’s out there in your price range. When you’re serious about buying you need to be able to search a lot deeper. The Waterloo Region’s real estate market is thriving and it can be very competitive. Here on the Team Pinto site, you have access to all the complete MLS listings in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge, and beyond. And either Aaron or Angie are a simple phone call or instant message away if you need help (or just want to chat about your possible move)

Financing as a US Buyer

If you’re buying a home in Canada as a U.S. citizen, you will need to open a Canadian Bank account and be prepared to use it. Unless you’re buying your home in cold hard cash, you’ll need to arrange a mortgage through a Canadian lender. We won’t lend you any of our rainbow coloured money until you’ve been actively using a Canadian bank account for a certain period of time. It does have to be set up in person too, but hey, what better excuse for spending a few days enjoying all that our region has to offer?

As an American, you’re able to capitalize on our low-cost-loon, which means when you buy a property here in Canada, your dollar can go roughly 25% further. However, here in Ontario, you will get dinged a 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax, aka the Foreign Buyers Tax. But, with the exchange rate giving you a head start, that’s still an approximate 10% savings overall.

There are, of course, lots of other financial considerations, but when you work with an experienced Canadian Realtor we’ll help you understand them all.

Whether it’s for our famous craft beer – we practically invented the stuff – our drool-worthy poutine or a leader who’s easy on the eyes and the ears — whatever the reason — if you’re thinking about moving to Canada and would like to discuss your options, we’d love to chat.

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