What is Conveyancing?
Real estate conveyancing involves transactions such as buying and selling a home, transferring the title of a home, and getting a mortgage or refinancing an existing one. While buying or selling a home is very exciting, the process can also be stressful and confusing.
Our team at Centra Lawyers LLP will give you the legal advice you need to complete your transaction as smoothly as possible. Our goal is to guide you through the legal process, answer your questions about the procedure and documents, and complete your transaction worry-free. We are accessible to clients and upon request, offer a free consultation to provide a general overview of the transaction before it closes.
To accommodate our clients’ busy schedules, we offer appointments in the evenings and on Saturdays.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you do. The completion of real-estate transaction is based on undertakings (promises) exchanged between the lawyer/notary representing the buyer and the lawyer/notary representing the seller. The funds are drawn from and received into the lawyer’s/notary’s trust account and disbursed according to the undertaking.
Notaries are limited in the services they may provide. Only lawyers can provide you with legal advice on issues that may come up before, during, and after the completion of your transaction. Also, there is a misconception that notaries are cheaper than lawyers. Lawyers’ conveyancing fees compare favourably with notaries’ fees.
It is advisable to choose a lawyer at least two weeks before your completion date. This will allow some lead time for us receiving documents and providing you with the accounting breakdown of your transaction in advance for your review.
Once you have chosen your representative, let your realtor and your lender (if you’re a buyer) know who you’ve chosen. The realtor will proceed with providing your representative with the contract documentation and your lender will provide your representative with mortgage instructions.
Joint tenants own the property in equal shares, have an equal interest in the property, and an equal right to use the whole of the property. If a joint tenant dies, his or her interest passes to the surviving joint tenant(s) and does not normally form part of the deceased’s estate. Joint tenancy is a common choice for spouses who want to ensure that upon the death of one of them, the surviving spouse will have full ownership and use of the property.
In a real estate transaction, your lawyer/notary needs to make sure that the funds they receive are “certified/guaranteed funds”. Personal cheques are not guaranteed funds because they have a “clearing period”. Wire transfers can be problematic due to the deductions for wire fees and a time delay in the transfer. Bank drafts and certified cheques provide the certainty that the funds can be used right away to complete your transaction.
Property Transfer Tax (PTT) expense equals to 1% of the first $200,000 and 2% of the balance of the purchase price. For example, if you buy a $600,000 home, you will pay $10,000 in PTT.
A typical co-ownership agreement defines the financial contributions each party made towards the purchase price and the responsibility for any mortgages registered against the title. It also clarifies the percentage contribution that each owner must make towards common expenses – such as property taxes, minor repairs, utilities, cable, and strata maintenance fees. The co-owners may also be interested in defining the “ground rules” about the use of the property and mechanism for buy-sell when co-owners wish to part ways. The benefit of having a co-ownership agreement is that parties address any issues upfront to prevent disagreements and uncertainties down the road.
A bare trust agreement is a declaration of a trust arrangement between a “nominee” and a “beneficial” owner. The beneficial owner of the property is the person who makes a capital contribution towards the equity in the property. For reasons of convenience, estate or tax planning, a beneficial owner may appoint someone else to hold the title to the property or join in the legal ownership (a “nominee”). The agreement will define that the nominee must follow the directions of the beneficial owner when dealing with the property and will receive proceeds from the sale of the property.
If you want to add or remove a buyer after you’ve already signed a purchase contract, you may be able to do so by executing an addendum or assignment of the contract. You should discuss any changes to the buyers and/or the type of ownership with your lender if you’ve already arranged for financing. Changing ownership once the purchase transaction has completed is a little more involved. In that case, you may not only have to consider the effect that change will have on your mortgage, but also the payment of additional legal and Land Title Office fees and potential property transfer taxes.