Real Estate Transactions
Why do I need a lawyer to buy or sell property?
Your realtor is knowledgeable about the real estate market and will work on your behalf. But a realtor is not a lawyer and cannot protect your legal interests. Your lawyer will ensure that your interests are protected and can advise you on the following matters as they relate to your transaction.
For Sale By Owner - Property Transactions Without a Realtor
If you are planning to purchase or sell property without using a real estate agent, it is important to have prospective contracts or documents reviewed by your lawyer before you sign anything. It is a simple matter for the lawyer to review the document to ensure that your interests are protected and that the paperwork is correct. Once the document has been signed by both parties, it may be too late to correct any oversights.
If both parties do agree to change something in the signed contract, this can be done by signing an amendment to the contract. This may happen, for example, if both parties agree to change the closing date.
If you are purchasing property, we will ensure that the property you want to buy is free of issues with neighbourhood zoning restrictions or development bylaws. We will also ensure that any questionable registrations on title are addressed and resolved prior to your possession date. We will review the Real Property Report (survey) for compliance and ensure that any necessary encroachment agreements with the city have been registered with the Land Titles office. Should there be non-permitted structures on the property, we will ensure that either the proper permits and approval are obtained, or that the structures are removed. We will also ensure that registrations on title pertaining to obligations or financing of prior owners are paid out and/or discharged.
Certain types of registrations may remain on title after you take possession. If this is the case with the property you are purchasing, we will ensure that you are aware of any restrictive covenants or easements which may place restrictions on your use or enjoyment of the property.
Mortgages & Turn-Around Times - Allow adequate time to prepare for Closing!
There can be considerable amounts of paperwork involved in preparing a mortgage, depending on your particular financial institution. You may have signed mortgage application papers and mortgage approval at your bank, but that's not all! Once you have signed off with your bank, they will prepare and forward mortgage instructions to us. This typically takes up to two weeks. Once we receive those instruction, we draw up the actual mortgage document which will be registered at Land Titles and have you come in to sign this documents. As this takes time, we recommend allowing a full month between the date you sign your Real Estate Purchase Contract and your closing date.
Possible Major Expenses on a Purchase
-Property tax adjustments;
-Insurance fee on high-ration mortgage (CMHC-Insured mortgages);
-Fees for registering the Transfer of Land and the Mortgage at Land Titles;
-Title insurance (required on some transactions);
-Real Property Report (survey - typically this provided by the vendor);
-Home inspection (you may have paid this yourself; occasionally it may go through our office.)
How much are the Legal Fees - and what do they include?
Our actual legal fees are only one part of what is generally called "the legal fees." There are also numerous disbursements, which are expenses that we pay up-front on your behalf. These include registration fees for documents registered at Land Titles including Transfers of Title; property tax adjustments; home owners' association or condo fee adjustments; tax & title search fees; fees for copies of Registered Documents, and fees paid to document runners and couriers. It is sometimes difficult to compare fees quoted by various law firms, as some will quote an all-in fee including many of these items, whereas others may quote for the legal fees alone and charge for disbursements separately.
Telephone our office for a quote on current fees as they apply to your transaction. Remember that each transaction is unique. Last-minute transactions, in particular, may be subject to additional costs.
We will conduct title and tax searches, obtain documents evidencing that homeowners' association fees and/or condominium fees are up-to-date, and that taxes have been paid. If necessary we will undertake to resolve outstanding amounts out of sale proceeds.
We will review your Real Property Report and Compliance documents. In the event that there have been changes to the property, or if these documents cannot be located, we will order a new RPR to be prepared and sent to the municipality for Compliance certification. It is generally a requirement of the Real Estate Purchase Contract that these documents be delivered to the buyerès lawyer prior to closing, so it is preferable to look after this ahead of time.
Occasionally there are old, outstanding registrations on title that must be resolved prior to sale. In this case, we will discuss options with both you and also the solicitor for the buyer in order to decide on an appropriate strategy for resolving the same.
We will obtain from your bank a statement of the monies required to pay out and discharge your existing mortgage on closing day.
We then prepare a Statement of Adjustments crediting buyer and vendor for their respective portions of adjusted expenses, the buyer's deposit(s), and the amount required to close the transaction. We also draw up the Transfer of Land and associated documents for your signature, and forward these to the lawyer for the buyer with specific conditions as to how the transaction is to proceed.
On closing day, we will pay out your existing mortgage and homeowner's line of credit, pay the realtor's fees and legal fees plus any other required items, and then pay the balance to you.
Possible Expenses on a Sale:
-Real Property Report and Compliance, if necessary;
-Property tax adjustment;
-Penalty on early discharge of mortgage;
-Homeowners' association or Condo fees adjustment;
-Possible cost of outstanding building permits or encroachment agreements:
-Possible cost of discharging any outstanding liabilities registered on title.
In the event you are re-financing your property, your bank will send mortgage instructions to us from which we will draw up new mortgage documents. We will look to the accurate signing and registration of your new mortgage at Land Titles. The old mortgage will be paid out and discharged, and we will ensure that the title, insurance, Real Property Report and property taxes are all in good health prior to the closing of the transaction.