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  • What is a residential real estate transaction?
    A residential real estate transaction involves buying or selling a home or property, encompassing various legal processes to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.
  • Why do I need a real estate lawyer for my residential transaction?
    A real estate lawyer is crucial for handling the legal aspects of the transaction, including contract review (in some cases), title searches, negotiations, and overseeing the closing process to protect your interests.
  • What is an APS?
    An APS is the acronym for Agreement of Purchase and Sale, which is the contract signed when buying or selling a property.
  • What does a real estate lawyer do during a transaction?
    Real estate lawyers perform tasks such as reviewing and drafting contracts, conducting due diligence, facilitating the closing process, ensuring legal compliance, registering instruments in the Land Registry Office of Ontario, coordinating the advance of funds from lenders, and resolving any legal issues that may arise.
  • How much are legal fees for a residential real estate transaction?
    Legal fees vary based on the transaction's complexity and required services. We offer transparent and competitive fee structures, and you can contact us for a personalized quote.
  • What is a title search, and why is it important?
    A title search is an examination of public records to verify property ownership and discover any outstanding liens or encumbrances, ensuring a clear title transfer during the transaction.
  • What is included in the closing costs for a real estate transaction?
    Closing costs typically include legal fees and disbursements. Those fees and disbursements vary depending on the type of transaction and its complexity. For a purchase, you have to keep in mind that land transfer taxes and title insurance are payable. If you sell, you will have to pay the realtors commissions and payout any mortgage or debt registered against your property.
  • Can you explain the concept of "closing" in a real estate transaction?
    Closing is the final step where legal ownership is transferred, involving paperwork completion, payment of closing costs, and key transfer.
  • When should I do my last visit to the property?
    Whether you are buying or selling, you should visit the property the day before your scheduled closing date to make sure everything is as it should be according to the APS. You should test all the appliances, make sure the faucets work, that the property is clean, etc. Please remember to check your APS as this document will tell you the state in which the property should be delivered (ex. Broom-swept condition vs professionally cleaned). If you see any issues during any of your visits, please let us know immediately by email with explanations and pictures/videos.
  • What is the role of a real estate lawyer in the negotiation process?
    A real estate lawyer assists in negotiating terms, conditions, and legal aspects to protect your interests and ensure compliance with laws and regulations. But for residential transactions, the lawyer is generally only involved if the terms of the APS or the specific circumstances of the deal are out of the ordinary. Otherwise, your lawyer usually only becomes involved once the APS has been signed.
  • What are the common challenges in a real estate transaction, and how do you address them?
    Common challenges include title issues, financing, or property conditions. We have experience addressing many of these challenges.
  • Do I need a lawyer for a private transaction or only for transactions involving real estate agents?
    Regardless of the transaction type, having a lawyer is essential for legal rights protection, contract review, and transaction law compliance. However, if you are doing a private transaction (ie. one without the involvement of a realtor), you should get your real estate lawyer involved early on in the process (ie. before signing an APS) to help you in the negotiation and drafting process.
  • When do I meet with my lawyer?
    You meet with your real estate lawyer a few days (typically 4 to 7 calendar days) before the closing date to review documents, discuss outstanding issues, and address questions or concerns. This is also the day you will deposit the balance of the funds to close the transaction, coordinate insurance, and sign the paperwork.
  • Am I responsible for contacting the different utility companies?
    Yes. For a purchase, you are generally responsible for contacting utility companies to set up services and payments in your name. For a sale, you need to make sure you inform the companies of the closing date ahead of closing and tell them how they can reach you for the payment of the last invoice.
  • Am I responsible for contacting the city?
    No. The city will not update their ownership records without a lawyer’s letter. We will therefore inform their tax and water departments of the change of ownership. Cities are often slow at updating their records. For a purchase, you should receive a tax bill within 60 days of closing. If you do not, please contact us immediately. For a sale, please make sure you keep track of all your payments of both taxes and sale and that you are in good standing with the city. You will have to provide that information, along with your most recent tax bill, to us.
  • Am I responsible for contacting the condo corporation (if applicable)?
    Yes. We will inform them of the change of ownership but you are responsible for making sure their records are up to date and that the payments are arranged or stopped, depending on whether you are buying or selling.
  • Should I buy and sell on the same day?
    We do not recommend that you do a purchase and a sale on the same day. Please consider scheduling distinct closing dates to reduce stress. This is because your sale needs to close first, allowing us to use the funds to complete your purchase. Complications during the sale can impact the purchase, setting off a chain reaction of issues that are costly and stressful to deal with. And unfortunately, a lot of these days of closing issues are out of our control. Opting for different closing dates provides more time to address unexpected issues.
  • What are my options instead of selling and buying on the same day?
    One of the most common options is bridge financing. Bridge financing allows you to purchase first and then sell, usually a few days later. This can reduce your stress because we can close the purchase without waiting for the funds from the sale and this also allows you to move from one property to the other over a few days. There are additional legal fees for bridge financing and your mortgage broker will be able to explain the other costs associated. But this is a much safer and less stressful way to do a purchase and sale. The last thing you probably want is to have all your belongings in a moving truck and be stranded at a hotel.
  • What days should I avoid when scheduling a closing date?
    Fridays (especially Fridays before long weekends), the day following a holiday or long weekend, the last day of the month, the first day of the month, around and in between Christmas and New Years, and any bank holidays.
  • What if there is an issue and an extension is required?
    Due to increasing concerns about fraud, financial institutions are implementing measures that may affect the processing time for the exchange of funds on closing day. This is an industry-wide issue beyond our control unfortunately. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in navigating these challenges. There can be other reasons for an extension on a closing day as unavoidable issues and unforeseen circumstances sometimes arise in real estate transactions. In the unfortunate event that an extension becomes necessary, our team is well-equipped to manage these types of situations. We prioritize transparent communication and as such, we will promptly inform you of the situation, outlining the reasons and steps moving forward. Any potential additional costs will be clearly communicated to you as well. We also commit to keeping you apprised of the situation as much as possible. And you can help too in a situation like this! Your cooperation is valuable. Prompt responses to inquiries, timely submission of required documentation, and flexibility in scheduling can significantly contribute to expediting the extension process.
  • What is Title Insurance?
    Title insurance safeguards against potential title issues after closing, providing coverage for certain risks.
  • Do I need title insurance for my property?
    While not mandatory for you personally, title insurance is highly recommended for protection against unforeseen title defects and potential problems after the transaction. Title insurance is mandatory to obtain for your lender.
  • For a condominium purchase: What is a status certificate, and why is it important in condominium transactions?
    A status certificate provides crucial information about the financial and legal health of a condo (both the unit and the condo corporation). This helps buyers understand potential issues and obligations. Specifically for condo properties, we perform additional legal work to review the status certificate. This will be coordinated with the help of your realtor.
  • When will I know how much money is required to close the deal?
    You will be provided with the numbers when we meet a few days before the closing date (typically 4 to 7 calendar days). Please keep in mind that the numbers are subject to change until the closing date. We will make our best efforts to provide you with the most accurate estimate when we meet, but unfortunately, this is not just up to us. We tie together the information we receive from the other lawyer and your bank. We ourselves unfortunately often do not get that information until a few days before closing. If you want draft numbers ahead of time, please contact our office and it will be our pleasure to provide you with ballpark figures if possible so you can plan your finances accordingly.
  • When should I set up my home insurance?
    We will require your home insurance binder before the closing date for immediate property protection. A binder is a summary page (or two) of your policy. We do not need the full policy. We will provide you with the information that should be reflected in your binder when we meet with you a few days prior to closing. Please wait until then to coordinate insurance so you can avoid calling your insurance provider/broker call multiple times.
  • How much does the Land Transfer Tax cost?
    The cost varies based on the property purchase price and location. We recommend you consult reliable online calculators, such as the one on the TRREB website. Please note that if you are buying a property in Toronto, you will have to pay double the land transfer tax.
  • Who is eligible for the First-Time Home Buyer’s Rebate?
    Eligibility is based on specific criteria, including being a first-time homebuyer and occupying the property. We will determine whether you qualify based on the answers you provide to our intake process. If you qualify, we will claim the rebate for you.
  • When will I get my keys?
    Keys are typically handed over on the closing day. Since Covid, keys are usually left in a lockbox on the property and the code is provided to you once the closing is legally completed. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a time of closing on the day of closing as it is highly dependent on external factors. Contracts usually provide that we have until 6 pm to close and we often close late in the day.
  • Should I move in on the day of closing?
    We do not recommend that you move on the day of closing as this could result in additional costs and frustrations for you if the transaction closes late in the day or if an extension is required.
  • When will I receive the proceeds from my sale?
    We unfortunately do not control the timing of a closing. It is highly dependent on external factors. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that the funds will be deposited to your account on the day of closing. In nearly all cases, funds are deposited into your account the following business day. However, if the deposit is done by certified cheque, banks typically put a hold on the funds. This hold can last for 5 business days or more, depending on your financial institution. Please do not plan on using your net sale proceeds for at least a week after closing, to avoid frustrations. Kindly contact your bank directly about any issues regarding delays or holds.
  • What time do I need to be out of the property?
    If possible, it is ideal to be out of the property and have the premises cleaned the day before the scheduled closing date. If that is not possible, we ask that you vacate the property and have it cleaned by noon on the day of closing. Please remove any garbage and debris from the property and leave it in the state it should be in as per your APS.
  • What is the Vacant Home Tax?
    Some municipalities have started implementing a vacant home tax payable on homes that are vacant (criteria vary). Each year, a declaration must be made as to the vacancy status of your home. When you sell, we will need proof that you made that declaration. Please contact your municipality or our office for more information.
  • What about my furnace, hot water tank, A/C, etc.?
    We will need all the information you have regarding items such as your furnace, hot water tank, A/C, etc. Specifically, we will need to know whether those are rented or owned. You should talk to your realtor before signing the APS to make sure that the correct course of action is taken. For example, if a hot water tank is rented and the buyer is specifically not assuming the contract in the APS, you may have to buy out the hot water tank prior to closing, which can cost you many thousands of dollars.
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