RESIDENTIAL PURCHASE TRANSACTION
Our office’s role in a real estate deal is to complete the transaction and to make it as simple and straightforward for the client as possible. This is done by understanding the law and being familiar with the items and issues particular to an area or municipality.
Investigating the Deal
As your real estate lawyer, I will ensure that you get a house ‘clear and marketable’ title. This means making sure there are no tax liens, builder’s liens or even litigation liens filed in the process of a divorce. Our office makes sure there are no worrisome items on title such as notice of a ‘grow op’ and as your lawyer I will also confirm that the seller has the authority to sell the property.
Prepare Legal Documents and Register in the Land Title Office
Our staff and lawyer will draft all the documents needed to transfer legal title to the property and will attend to registering the transfer of ownership in the land title office. Often, in a purchase, we will also be retained by your mortgage lender. Our office will clarify and confirm all the terms of the mortgage, such as interest rate and prepayment penalties, and will document your agreement with the lender and register that agreement in the land title office.
Work the Numbers
In addition to the purchase price paid to the seller, there are many other costs that must be adjusted between the buyer and the seller; for example utilities, strata fees, and property taxes. The lawyers will also deal with property transfer tax, HST rebates, mortgages, realtor’s commissions, and fees charged by municipalities, strata corporations and the land title office. Once all of these numbers are balanced out, our office will tell you the final dollar figure that you need to complete your purchase, or that you will be taking away from your sale.
Move the Deal Along
Residential real estate deals in Ontario are able to complete quickly because of lawyers’ undertakings. A lawyer’s undertaking is a solemn promise provided by one lawyer to another, and regulated by the Law Society. In residential real estate deals, the seller usually needs the sale proceeds to pay out their existing mortgage, but the buyer usually needs the signed transfer to secure their new mortgage funds. The deal can close only because the lawyers exchange undertakings to follow through with all necessary steps to transfer clear title for the agreed upon price. Some of these steps will happen months after the deal closes.
Enforce the Contract
Lawyers ensure that all the terms of the contract are upheld. For example, if the contract states that a septic tank must be cleaned, then the lawyer will require proof before transferring the funds. Also, your lawyer will protect your interests in the event the deal goes sideways.
Explain and Advise
When you buy or sell a house there are a lot of ‘moving parts’. Your real estate lawyer is there to guide you through the legal process and help you navigate the transaction with ease.
In preparation for the closing of your purchase transaction, we will do the following:
• Review of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and Status Certificate where applicable and note any deadlines to insure the deal proceeds as scheduled;
• Arrange for and review the title search
• Request other required searches – tax arrears, common expenses, zoning, work orders, etc
• Obtain information regarding satisfaction of conditions/deliverables (i.e. invoices to show repair work completed, clean water test obtained, septic permit)
• Prepare and send requisition letter and closing documents required from Sellers and Sellers counsel on or before the requisition date
• Request and obtain title insurance or provide an opinion on title
• Prepare transfer for review and completion by seller’s counsel
• Prepare draft Charge as instructed by Lender for review and execution by client
• Attend with client for review and execution of closing documents and obtain remaining closing funds from client
• Enter escrow closing arrangement with the lawyer for the sellers;
• Receive mortgage funds and rest of closing funds in trust
• Review Statement of Adjustments and prepare certified cheques for sellers as directed by counsel and in keeping with the Agreement of Purchase and Sale
• Receive keys and deliver to client once released, release closing funds
• Register Transfer and Charge once released from escrow
• Report to buyer clients
• Report to Lender
• Advise municipality of change in ownership
• Follow-up with counsel for sellers to ensure that discharge of previous charge has been registered
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