Making Your Military Move Manageable
Members of the Canadian Forces are often men and women on the move. When a change of service
(COS) is in the works, an accompanying move brings its own worries and concerns.
It’s only natural to have questions. Will the family like the new location? Are there good schools for my
children? Will we find a good home at a reasonable price?
Luckily, you can turn to the Wilson team (www.wilsonteam.ca) to help you put all of your
understandable relocation worries behind you. This family-owned and run team of mortgage
professionals is part of Invis, one of Canada’s largest mortgage brokerage firms. Not only does the
team have access to a range of mortgage products from more than 30 respected lenders; the team
members will ease your transition to the Ottawa area by connecting you with local realtors and a range
of respected service providers from physicians to hair stylists. After all, it’s the little things that make
your new house feel like a home!
The First Step: Selling Your Current Home
Before you can relocate to the Ottawa area, you’ll need to put your existing home up for sale. The
Canadian Forces will ensure that you are suitably reimbursed for the sale, and you can take the lovely
memories along to your next abode.
Although the Department of National Defence (DND) has a series of regulations regarding selling your
home prior to a move (https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/corporate/policies-
standards/relocation-directive/2018.html), allow us to lend a hand by summarizing the key points for
you in laymen’s terms.
The home must be your residence:
You or your dependents must actually live in the home you are selling prior to putting it on the market
in order for you to claim the associated reimbursement benefits generated by the sale.
Holding the title:
You must have clear title to your property in order to be reimbursed for its sale. DND will reimburse you
for some of the expenses related to ensuring you have clear title, as follows:
Land survey costs, if your lawyer or notary certifies that:
o the last survey is more than five years old;
o there have been observable changes to the lot since the last survey; or
o the seller is required by law to provide a survey.
Charges, such as administrative fees and mortgage disbursement fees levied by a lender, for the
disposal of one mortgage on the property.
Legal fees you incur as the result of the deed transfer to Land Titles System.
Municipal fees associated with a municipal name change for tax rolls.
Your current mortgage:
Most financial institutions currently offer portable mortgages where the members can avoid or reduce
any charges or penalty by arranging to transfer all or part of the mortgage to the new residence. When
selling a residence, CF members must make every effort to port their mortgage when it is practical and
reasonable to do so.
If you are entitled to receive relocation benefits and are required to pay a mortgage early repayment
penalty (MERP) in relation to the discharge of one or more mortgages held against your principal
residence at the time of its sale, is entitled to be reimbursed the amount of the mortgage early
repayment penalties incurred if:
the terms of the mortgage or mortgages require the MERP to be paid to the mortgage lender;
at the new place of duty, the member either
o does not purchase a replacement principal residence, or
o purchases a replacement principal residence and the transfer of the discharged
mortgage to that residence was not permitted.
Choosing a realtor:
When you put your home on the market, you are allowed to choose any third-party supplier (realtors,
lawyers, etc.) provided that they won’t charge more than the military’s pre-negotiated rates and that
they are arm’s-length suppliers. In other words, no family members – aunts, cousins, daughters-in-law –
can be engaged.
Private sale of your home:
If you decide to sell your home privately, you are entitled to reimbursement for the actual and
reasonable costs related to the sale. The reimbursement won’t exceed the commission that would have
been paid if a realtor had sold the property.
If your realtor recommends a pre-sale structural inspection of your home in order to sell the property
and the relocation consultant agrees, you will be reimbursed for the inspection at no more than the pre-
approved corporate rate. A pyrite inspection may also be reimbursed.
Keeping your principal residence: Canadian Forces members who elect to keep their principal residence
receive an incentive equal to 80 per cent of the pre-negotiated corporate real estate commission rate
based on the appraised value of the principal residence, not to exceed $12,000.
Finalizing the sale: The sale of your home is not considered final until the transfer of ownership takes
place. You will be reimbursed for the real estate commission with a sum that shouldn’t be more than the
pre-negotiated corporate rates.
If your house doesn’t sell until after you have relocated, you or your spouse are authorized to return
there to attend the closing. You must take annual leave for this purpose, and the following conditions
qualified for TDRA;
subsequently sold the former residence;
could not arrange to courier documents/materials between legal firms;
could not complete the sale by a power of attorney; and
clearly demonstrated that all other avenues were exhausted.
The maximum reimbursement you can claim is as follows:
up to two days travel, meals and incidentals;
one night’s lodging; and
return transportation by the most economical means.
Since you are expected to be present at the closing of the sale transaction, so fees for a Power of
Attorney aren’t usually reimbursable. However, if you can’t attend, you may be reimbursed for various
costs, as follows, provided that your base commander and base administrative officer certify your
Cost to courier documents between legal firms;
Power of Attorney; and
Mandatory attending fees as per provincial requirements.
Reimbursement for financial losses from home sale:
You are eligible for reimbursement if you sell your home for less than you originally paid for it. You are
entitled to receive 80 per cent of the reimbursable amount or $30,000, whichever is less.
The reimbursable amount equals the difference between the original purchase price and the sale price,
minus any reduction in the sale price that is identified in the agreement of purchase of sale and is due to
any repairs or replacements required to the home prior to selling.
Reimbursement for real estate commission:
If you don’t claim a real estate commission, you are entitled to receive 80 per cent of the commission,
based on the appraised value, up to a maximum of $12,000. This incentive will be paid into personalized
funds. Your eligibility depends on the following conditions:
You or your dependants occupying the residence immediately prior to official notification of the
Application for this incentive within 15 working days after receipt of the appraisal; and
Signing a waiver foregoing any future reimbursement of real estate fees, legal fees or other
related disposal costs for the property. If you decide to move back into this residence on a
subsequent posting, this home would be designated as a principal residence for any further
relocation that might occur after re-occupancy.
Temporary assistance for maintaining dual residences (TDRA):
Actual and reasonable expenses associated with maintaining two residences are reimbursed provided
that the former residence remains unsold, vacant and actively marketed. Remember, the sale of a
residence is not considered final until the ownership is transferred.
The expenses of maintaining two homes is offset for six months. Such expenses include:
Interest charges on a first mortgage (or on a second mortgage if there are no charges on a first
Taxes (i.e., property, school);
Utilities (i.e., electricity, heating, alarm monitoring);
Property maintenance (such as lawn cutting, snow removal, and minor maintenance);
Insurance (house insurance including additional insurance costs for empty residence); and/or
Rental of a mobile home pad.
If you haven’t sold your home before the move and haven’t had an offer in two months, request the
marketing incentive benefit to ensure that your home is being actively marketed. If the real estate agent
recommends their use and the service provider is supportive, reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.
However, all marketing incentives must be clearly identified on the original or amended Property Listing
Agreement and the Offer to Purchase documents.
Remember, relocating need not be a fear-inducing, painful experience. The Wilson team is here to assist
you in making your move an exciting one, as we assist you and support the DND-assigned moving
specialists. Questions? Get in touch with us at www.wilsonteam.ca and be sure to check out our blog
post on buying a home in a new area. (Link to follow once written!)