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Independent Legal Advice (ILA) and when you may need it.

There are certain situations when purchasing or selling a property or refinancing your mortgage, where one or more of the parties to the transaction will require independent legal advice (ILA).

ILA is the process where an outside, unbiased lawyer is retained by one party for the limited purpose of providing advice on the real estate transaction so the individual appreciates the nature and consequences of a decision that must be made.

Key Takeaways:

  • • Under certain situations such as conflict of interest of joint retainers, you may be required to obtain independent legal advice. Your mortgage lender may also require ILA to qualify you for a loan.
  • • ILA will help ensure you understand all legal aspects of the closing and any agreements or contracts you sign and will also provide you with a certificate upon completion.

When Would I Need ILA?

According to the Ontario lawyer’s rules of professional conduct, you would be required to obtain Independent Legal Advice (ILA) under several circumstances.

  • • When there is a potential conflict of interest, a lawyer may still be permitted to act for a client but will be required to advise the client to seek independent legal advice. This is to enable the client to fully understand the implications of a conflict of interest.
  • • A joint retainer occurs when two or more people hire the same lawyer to represent them for a shared purpose, such as a real estate transaction. In this scenario, lawyers are advised to recommend that their clients seek independent legal advice.
  • • If a lawyer finds out that they have made an error or an omission that could be damaging to the client’s case, the client should be advised to seek independent legal advice.

Should you decide not to obtain ILA during a real estate transaction, there may be consequences. For example, the contract that you sign may not be legally enforceable should the courts deem that you were not properly informed. In addition, certain mortgage lenders may require you to obtain some form of ILA in order to qualify for your loan. Be sure you understand your circumstances before you make a decision.

What Will Happen When I Get ILA?

When you seek independent legal advice, you will meet with a lawyer who will confirm that you fully understand all legal aspects of your transactions. Including benefits, liabilities and any legal ‘jargon’ they may not fully understand. At Deeded, our lawyers can provide an ILA using our virtual technology, meaning you won’t have to come into the office. Instead, you’ll meet the lawyer over a secure video conference.

When looking for a lawyer to provide you with legal advice, you should ensure they offer the following services:

  • • Review your purchase/sale agreement and all other legal documents and attachments.
  • • Provide consultation and advice for agreement and all other legal documents.
  • • Provide you with an independent legal advice certificate upon completion of their services.
  • • If you are seeking convenience, will the lawyer provide an ILA over a video conference or other remote technologies?

When do Lenders Require ILA?

In many situations it may be the mortgage lender that will require persons to obtain ILA in order to qualify for the loan. ILA is typically required to be obtained by the legal titleholder of the property. This is meant to ensure that they receive a simple explanation of the nature and obligations contained in their mortgage agreement from an impartial third-party lawyer.  

In addition to the title-holder, lenders may require non-title holding spouses or other individuals involved in the transaction such as a guarantor or covenantor, to receive ILA as well. This is to ensure that they also receive an explanation of their obligations as they may become liable for repayment of the mortgage loan and observance of the mortgage obligations under certain circumstances, such as the death of the title-holder.

In most circumstances, the requirements from the lender on who will need to obtain ILA will be set out before-hand in the mortgage commitment. If it’s not, we would recommend taking the initiative to bring this up with the lender, whatever the result is make sure you take clear written instructions in case you ever need to refer back. 

If this looks overwhelming to you, rest assured that the Deeded team is here to make things easier and as simple as possible. We will walk you through your situation and help you understand what requirements you have and what steps you need to take to protect yourself  and ensure that you understand every aspect of your transaction.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Should I Be Drafting My Own Agreement of Purchase and Sale?

Some homeowners or home buyers have contemplated at some point whether they should be buying or selling their home without the help of a Real Estate agent, or privately as it is commonly referred to.

We are not going to debate the reasons for and against buying or selling privately.  We believe that Buyers and Sellers need to understand the pros and cons of using certain professionals in their transaction, and ultimately, it is entirely up to the individual Buyer or Seller to decide what resources they may or may not want to use for their purchase and sale.

What we have seen lately is Buyers and Sellers who are completing their transactions privately and are drafting their own agreement of purchase and sale; occasionally using templates and forms from the Real Estate boards and associations, or the similar forms to what Real Estate agents are using.

There is one positive aspect about using templates and drafting your own Agreement of Purchase and Sale in order to negotiate your private transaction and that is, it is better than a hand-shake after all.  When an Agreement is signed by both parties and consideration is provided, it becomes binding. Which means all parties are now obligated to fulfill the terms and conditions of the said Agreement.

While the “do it yourself” (DIY) drafting of a contract method may work for purchasing a used car or some simple low-cost items, a home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make.  A mistake or an issue with an Agreement can end up costing you a significant amount should things not play out the way you have expected them to.  

That is why it is almost critical to have your Agreement reviewed by a lawyer prior to signing. No matter how simple or straightforward you may believe the Agreement to be. We have seen DIY Agreements that missed inclusions of appliances (imagine moving into your new home only to discover the seller took all their appliances while you were assuming they were included). All the way to incorrectly describing the property or land. Ultimately, minor mistakes can become costly in the end.

But I’m Using the Same Forms Real Estate Agents Do, What Can Go Wrong?

On a practical level, Real Estate forms are the standard way to contract for a Real Estate Purchase or Sale.  However, there are issues right off the bat with using real estate templates.

First, most forms are copyrighted and licensed by the Real Estate boards or brokerages. For example, in Ontario, OREA licenses its forms to their members and the OREA purchase and sale form is used as a standard by Real Estate agents across Ontario.

Even though they are readily available by doing a simple Google search, you may be infringing on copyright or licensing agreements if you are not licensed to use the forms. Second, forms that are found online may be outdated or may have been modified, sometimes in undetectable ways.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Real Estate agents are licensed, regulated and insured.  When a Real Estate Agent writes up an Agreement, they have been trained to do so through their licensing process, by their brokerage, or through experience of putting together many Agreements.

They are also insured by an errors and omissions policy. Say your agent made a mistake on the Agreement, which caused you financial damages.   Your agent (or their insurer), would be responsible for any claims and settlements.

When it is you who writes the Agreement, no matter if it is on a Real Estate form, you are not insured. Therefore, any claims for a mistake you may make, must be paid out of pocket.

Can I put the Agreement Together and Have a Lawyer Review?

Yes you can, an experienced Real Estate lawyer works with Agreements of Purchase and Sale on a frequent basis and has the experience to spot any potential issues.   A lawyer can either review an Agreement you have put together prior to signing, or offer to draft an Agreement for you from scratch.

How Much Will it Cost to Review an Agreement?

It is probably less than you think.  Especially if considering the peace of mind and potential risks you may be taking. At Deeded, we would be happy to help review and/or draft your Agreement and provide you with a quick turnaround.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

I Received the Previous Owner’s Bill. What Should I Do?

You’ve spent the first month living in your new home and you couldn’t be happier. 

However, when you go to check the mail, you notice a most unwelcome surprise. The city indicates there is an amount owing from the previous owner’s bill.

Your first thought might be malicious intent on the side of the seller, them trying to get away without properly taking care of their bills. However, chances are that this is probably not the case. The most likely scenario is that the previous owner’s bill was never sent to them, or, on occasion, the municipality did not process the change of ownership in a timely manner.

Commonly, bills such as water and property taxes are connected with the property, while utilities such as hydro and natural gas are associated with the consumer. Therefore, while a title changes ownership, water and property taxes continue to accumulate charges to the account associated with the property even as the owner’s name is changed on the accounts. This common mistake sometimes leaves the new homeowner with the leftover bill of the seller. 

If you find yourself in the situation of having to deal with a previous owner’s bill, worry not, below we’ve outlined the exact steps you should take to resolve things. 

Key Takeaways:

  • • Water bills and property taxes are associated with a property instead of a customer like utilities. This means you will sometimes see arrears on your water bills and property taxes from previous property owners.
  • • To deal with an arrears on your water bill contact your lawyer and have them contact the seller to request payment.
  • • Dealing with property tax arrears are more common on new homes and require your lawyer to contact the builder’s lawyer to adjust. 
  • • While arrears on your bill are a common post-closing issue and are often easy to solve, it is an excellent example of the benefits of title insurance.

What Should You Do with Arrears on Your Water Bill?

If you notice that there are arrears on your water bill from a previous property owner, the first thing you should do is contact your real estate lawyer and provide them a copy of the bill. Your lawyer will then contact the seller’s lawyer, who will then contact the seller directly to request payment of the bill. 

If you do not receive a reply from the seller you are left with two options. If you have title insurance, you may submit a claim to your insurer. If you already paid the bill, the title insurer will reimburse you directly.  If you did not pay the bill, the title insurer will pay the bill on your behalf. However, if you do not have title insurance, your choices would be to either take the seller to court which would be costly and time consuming, or pay off the bill yourself. 

What Should You Do with Arrears on Your Property Taxes?

Property tax arrears on existing homes are rarely an issue after closing because they are known and adjusted at closing. However, if they are discovered, contacting your lawyer and following a similar format as you would for the above water bill situation is the best scenario.  

However, if the property you are purchasing is a new home, then it is likely that the property taxes need to be adjusted with the builder after closing. It typically takes several months for a new property to be assessed. Once that happens, the new owner will receive a supplementary property tax bill.

When you receive your supplementary property tax bill, we recommend you contact your lawyer to ensure everything is in order before contacting the builder’s lawyer to properly adjust the bill between the parties.

More often than not, the builder will pay their portion of the bill to the new owners to reimburse them for paying the entire bill. Each builder has different policies in adjusting for property taxes therefore it is usually best to leave discussions up to your lawyer when getting reimbursed. 

Final Thoughts

Adjusting after closing for arrears on your bills is often a common post-closing situation and most of the times can be resolved fairly quickly.

If all sides are cooperating, then the adjustment can be taken care of quickly and seamlessly. However, it’s recommended you always consult with an expert when dealing with these issues to avoid any mishaps. If you have any further questions, rest assured that the Deeded team is here to support you in any way we can.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Conditions On An Offer: Why They Matter

Purchasing a home has a great deal of inherent risk, that is why sometimes buyers and sellers look to mitigate that risk by using certain protections when making an offer. That is where conditions on an offer to purchase come in.

When a buyer’s offer is accepted by a seller, both parties are entered into the contract. However, when making an offer, either party has the choice to make the agreement contingent on certain factors.

These criteria, or conditions, are clauses that would void or alter the purchase/sales contract if certain obligations are not met.  These obligations can typically fall under three major categories: home inspection, mortgage approval, and lawyer’s review of the agreement.

Mortgage or Financing Condition

It is common sense not to purchase something that you don’t have the money to pay for, that’s exactly the purpose of a mortgage or a financing condition in your offer.  The financing condition clause protects the buyer in the case they are not able to secure a loan. 

This clause allows the buyer a predetermined period of time (usually 3-5 business days) to secure a lender that will issue a mortgage after the date the offer is accepted. If the buyer is unable to secure a lender that will commit to a loan, the buyer may invoke this clause of the agreement and walk away from the sale with the down payment and no other penalties.

It is always a good idea to get pre-approved by a mortgage lender prior to putting in an offer.  This process will give you a better idea of what you can afford and what the lender is willing to lend you. Although the clause may allow you, as the buyer, to walk away from the transaction, it is always a good idea to have your mortgage lined up.

Home Inspection

A home inspection is one of the most important clauses to include in a closing agreement. This contingency allows the buyer to have a third-party inspect the property after putting down a deposit. 

The purpose of this condition is to ensure that there are no issues with the property such as damage. However, if something does appear to be wrong, a home inspection contingency allows the buyer several options. They may either request that it be fixed at the sellers’ expense, renegotiate the price to factor in costs of the repairs they would have to pay or ultimately back out of the sale. It’s rarely advisable to waive an inspection contingency, for more information of why home inspections are a must have, visit this blog.

Lawyer’s Review Condition

Before entering a binding agreement that may involve a very significant purchase such as a home, it is always wise to have the agreement reviewed by a lawyer.   

There have been many cases where both buyers and sellers did not understand their obligations under a binding agreement of purchase and sale. Some of these cases have resulted in litigation and heavy financial judgements against buyers or sellers. Having a lawyer review clause in your agreement will allow for a few days to have the agreement properly reviewed, giving you peace of mind.

Waiving All Conditions in a “Hot Market”

The Real Estate market has been highly competitive across North America for the past few years with properties often receiving multiple offers and bids in attempts to purchase the property.

As a buyer, it is ultimately your decision whether you would like to waive or forego any certain conditions in order to make your offer more attractive to the sellers.  For example, a seller would typically see an offer with no conditions more attractive than an offer with certain conditions.  

Quite simply, it gives sellers more certainty as opposed to having to wait days for all conditions to be satisfied and risking having to re-list their property should the deal fall apart.

While removing conditions may increase your chances of securing the property,  it comes with taking on additional risks.   For example, if you agree to purchase a property without an inspection and find out there are damages and issues after the fact, those issues become your responsibility.

Final Thoughts

When making an offer on a home it’s wise to use an experienced Realtor that can help you ensure you have proper protection. If you have any further questions, rest assured that the Deeded team is here to support you in any way we can. Send us an email and we would be happy to answer any questions you have or provide recommendations to suit your situation.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

3 Questions You Need to Ask Your Alberta Real Estate Lawyer

If you just firmed up your purchase or sale (Congratulations!), you’ll likely need to choose a Alberta Real Estate lawyer to facilitate your closing.  

No matter which lawyer you choose, asking the right questions before moving forward with having the lawyer (or law firm) who is going to handle your transaction can make the entire experience smoother and more predictable. 

Here are some questions you must ask any Alberta Real Estate lawyer when buying or selling a house:

What Are the Fees, INCLUDING Disbursements?

Legal fees are the professional fees your lawyer charges for completing your real estate transaction. In addition to legal fees, disbursements are third-party costs paid by your lawyer in connection with completing your transaction. Disbursements usually include costs such as land title fees, tax searches, title insurance, and courier costs.

Can I Sign My Documents Virtually and How Do You Conduct Your Virtual Meetings?

An Alberta Real Estate lawyer can now witness real estate closing documents remotely. This means you can meet with your lawyer through video-conferencing to have your closing documents signed and witnessed. However, not all lawyers conduct virtual signing meetings in the same manner.

At Deeded, virtual signings are easy, efficient and client friendly. Our lawyers can remotely witness Alberta real estate closing documents regardless of where you are located, either inside or outside of Alberta.  All you need is a computer or tablet with a webcam, an internet connection, and a mobile phone.

What is Your Process?

Home buying/selling is exciting but can also be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Whoever you choose needs to be able to explain the closing process so that you can anticipate what is required and know what to expect.

At Deeded, our goal is to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible. Our welcome package provides you with everything you need to know about the home closing process. Further, at every stage of the transaction, we will let you know what’s happening next. If you have any questions during the process, please do not hesitate to call, email or text us.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

What’s The ideal Day To Close your Real Estate Transaction?

When you’re making an offer to purchase a property, you’ll be asked when you would like to “close” on your property as part of the agreement to purchase.  The date you pick will also have to align with your seller’s expectations as they may need to arrange to move and vacate the property.

On closing day, the ownership of the property is transferred to you, the buyer, and in most provinces, you will receive the keys to your property towards the end of the day.

While typically any business day can be designated as your closing day, it is important to consider a few factors that may make your closing experience easier and avoid potential issues when picking the ideal day to close your real estate transaction.

Key Takeaways:

  • • Picking a closing on a Friday may cause issues if you cannot get everything before 5:00pm, businesses and systems will close for the weekend leaving you stuck.
  • • Real Estate transaction peak in month-end especially during the Spring, be aware this means everything will be busier making it harder for you to get things done.
  • • When picking a closing day, try to avoid Fridays, long weekends, and month-ends wherever possible.

Here are a few of our suggestions when you’re picking the ideal day to close your real estate transaction:

Avoid Fridays, if You Can

While a Friday might sound like the ideal day of the week to close on a purchase.  Friday closings can be the cause of major challenges and extra costs should something not go according to plan.

That’s because mortgage lenders and the electronic land registry are open until 5pm on Friday afternoon. After 5pm, registration and transfers of funds, if needed, become impossible until the following Monday.

During the day of closing a lot goes on behind the scenes and timelines can be very tight.  Funds move between the buyer, the buyer’s lender and the seller and their lender (and their respective lawyers). After the funds arrive, the transaction needs to get registered before keys can be released to the buyer. 

Needless to say, even the slightest delay or something not going according to plan can mean the difference between meeting the 5pm registration deadline or missing it.   If the 5pm deadline for registration is missed for whatever reason, your transaction will likely not close till the next business day, which is Monday.

Depending on your circumstances, such delays can be costly and put a wrench in your moving plans, so if you can potentially avoid a Friday closing date, you may just eliminate a few potential headaches and hassles.

Before a long weekend or holiday?

We love our long weekends and while it may seem like the ideal time to close and settle into your new home, a long weekend can present the same challenges of closing on a Friday.  

With mortgage lenders and the land registry closed for the long weekend or upcoming holiday, any delays in closing may result in having to wait until the next business day to close.

Month-end, Especially in the Spring

The volume of Real Estate transactions peak during the months of May through to September.

This means that law firms, movers, appraisers, and many other parties involved in your transaction get particularly busy these months, and particularly on the last few days of the month.

Closing at month-end isn’t an issue.  In fact, it’s quite common.  

However, with an increased volume of transactions and all the players in the system working to hit month-end deadlines, the chances of something slipping through the cracks will likely increase.  It also means you may not always get your first choice of lawyer, mover, etc., especially as Covid continue to slow down and change processes in the industry.

Final Thoughts

When negotiating your closing, the ideal day to close your real estate transaction would be before Friday, prior to a long weekend and not on a month-end.

While your transaction may close without a hitch, even if on a Friday or the end of the month, picking the right closing date can decrease the chances of having closing issues.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Practical Tips on Drafting Title Insurance Clauses in Alberta

When it comes to closing a home in Alberta, on occasion, the seller may offer a credit for the costs to the buyer to purchase a title insurance policy in lieu of the seller providing an up-to-date real property report (RPR). When considering the prospect of drafting title insurance clauses, into your agreement of purchase and sale make sure you understand exactly what you’re agreeing to.

What is Title Insurance

Title insurance is available for a low premium that is paid only once at the time of the purchase. Title insurance provides coverage for losses arising from survey/RPR related matters including:

• Forced removal by a governmental authority or an affected neighbour/easement holder of all or part of the existing structures due to encroachments onto adjoining land or onto an easement; and

• The land being unmarketable, which allows another person to refuse to perform a contract to purchase, lease or make a mortgage loan due to adverse matters that would have been disclosed by an up-to-date survey/RPR.

Limitations of Title Insurance

Title insurance does not cover known defects at the time of the purchase. This would include deficiencies disclosed in an RPR or home inspection report obtained prior to closing. However, some title insurers may provide coverage for known issues subject to underwriting approval. If you wish to use title insurance to deal with known issues, the availability and extent of coverage must be confirmed with the insurer prior to offering a title insurance credit to the buyer to compensate for the known issue.

Do be cautious in drafting title insurance clauses in the purchase agreement. Avoid vague clauses such as:

• Buyer accepts the RPR as-is with title insurance

• Title insurance in lieu of RPR

  • Clauses such as these do not address
    • a) who pays for the title insurance; or
    • b) what happens if the RPR shows a known defect which a title insurer will not cover.

At Deeded, we would be happy to help you draft title insurance clauses and would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you on the purchase agreement to ensure the best interests of your client.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Most Common First Time Closing Mistake

We love working with first time home buyers and are always striving to educate clients to ensure their first closing experience is a smooth one.

Let’s face it. Buying a home isn’t easy.  There’s a lot to know about buying and closing a home and while there’s a flood of information out there, it is important to get the right professionals working with you to make your home buying experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

The most common first time closing mistake we see with buyers is forgetting to budget for closings costs. With all the excitement, first time buyers often forget that these closing costs must be paid upfront in cash, unlike the mortgage which is amortized and paid in instalments over time.

Before the keys can be handed over, however, there are still a few expenses buyers need to shell out for. These closing costs must be paid upfront in cash, unlike the mortgage which is amortized and paid in installments over time.

Below we’ve broken down the closing costs you need to know about as a buyer so you don’t fall for the most common first time closing mistake:

Down Payment

While your lender will provide your mortgage funds to your real estate lawyer on closing day, as a buyer, you must have the cash down payment ready to go, minus any amount that has already been paid as part of your deposit.

If you aren’t liquid (meaning you don’t have the down payment money sitting in cash), make plans to have the down payment cash ready at least 3-4 days prior to closing.  Keep in mind that if you have your money with an online bank, it may take a few days to transfer funds, so plan accordingly.

Your lawyer will be in touch a few days prior to closing to let you know the exact amount to bring towards the closing.  This amount will include any adjustments, legal fees, land transfer tax and other costs we’ll discuss shortly.

For information on how your family may be able to help you cover this cost visit our gifting a down payment blog post.

Adjustments

What’s an “adjustment”?

If you are buying a resale or new construction property, you will likely have to pay for several adjustments on closing. Adjustments can include payments for utilities, property taxes or in cases of new construction, account setup fees, development charges, and others.

Adjustments can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.   For example, if the seller of your property has paid property taxes for the year and you are buying the property halfway through the year, you will owe the seller your portion of the property taxes.  

Your lawyer will inform you of adjustments a few days prior to closing.

Land Transfer Tax or Property Transfer Tax (LTT / PTT)

Home purchases in Ontario and British Columbia are subject to a provincial land transfer tax. Outside of the down payment, this is likely the largest outlay to be paid at the time of closing so it is very important to budget for.

Home buyers in the City of Toronto pay municipal land transfer tax (MLTT) in addition to the Ontario LTT, which effectively doubles the land transfer amounts owed.

Legal Fees, Disbursements, Title Insurance

Legal costs include a number of services, such as registering the transfer of the property and registering the mortgage. Your lawyer will also facilitate the purchase of title insurance, which protects the buyer from any other claims made toward the property. It can also include the ordering of the property survey, should the buyer wish to obtain one.

Legal fees and title insurance premiums can vary depending on the property type, location, and several other factors.

When you can anticipate and budget properly, the stress associated with closing your first property can be drastically reduced. Remember to consult with professionals such as your Realtor, Mortgage Broker and Real Estate Lawyer, and ask lots of questions… there’s no bad or silly questions you can ask.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Virtual Real Estate Closing: Here to stay in Alberta

Since the Covid shutdown, lawyers have been able to witness real estate closing documents remotely and that includes virtual Real Estate closings in Alberta

A virtual real estate closing means you can meet with your lawyer through videoconferencing to have your closing documents signed and witnessed instead of having a face-to-face meeting with your lawyer and signing documents with ‘wet ink’. At Deeded Law, we leverage the latest technologies to make virtual signings easy, efficient and client friendly.

The Alberta government recently decided to allow remote witnessing to continue indefinitely.

How Does a Video Conference Signing Work?

At Deeded Law, our lawyers can remotely witness Alberta real estate closing documents regardless of where you are located, either inside or outside of Alberta. All you need is a computer or tablet with a webcam, an internet connection and a mobile phone.

Prior to the meeting, we will obtain your written consent to proceed with a video conference signing and to take screen shots of you and your identification. We will also get a copy of your government issued identification and provide any original documents required to be signed.

To ensure confidentiality, we encourage you not to have anyone else present in the room during the video conference. During the meeting, you will be required to show the same identification previous sent to us. The lawyer will take “screen shots” and compare the photos on the identification with the individual on the video.

After witnessing you sign your documents, you will send us a PDF version or photograph of any originally signed documents. Only originals documents are required to be returned via courier using the provided
return address label.

You will receive an electronic version of all executed and sworn documents as part of the final reporting package, to keep for your records.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

The Top Real Estate Closing Costs to Consider in Alberta

It is too often that we get clients who are closing the purchase or sale of their home in Alberta and are surprised to find out that they did not budget for all their real estate closing costs.

Nothing is more stressful than finding out you have to scramble to come up with more money for your closing.   Nobody likes surprises.  That’s why we are always aiming to educate our clients and partners early in the home buying or selling process.

If you are buying or selling a home in Alberta, here are some of the real estate closing costs you may encounter:

Legal Fees

In Alberta, you will need a lawyer to close your Real Estate transaction.  Legal fees can range from $800 – $1500 and can sometimes include or exclude disbursements (expenses incurred by the lawyer, which are typically passed on to you such as couriers, search costs or other fees).

When comparing legal fees, ask for an estimate of total fees you can expect to pay for your closing, including disbursements.

At Deeded, we offer a flat fee for closings and you can calculate your full real estate closing costs on our website. 

Adjustment Fees

Say you are buying a home, closing in July and the seller has prepaid their full property taxes for the full calendar year.   In this situation, your lawyer “adjusts” the taxes so that you (as the buyer in this example), would owe a pro-rated portion of the expense to the seller.

Typical adjustments happen for property taxes, condo/strata fees, or any other fees that may have been pre-paid or unpaid by the buyer or seller.

It is important to always budget for adjustments as they can increase your real estate closing costs.

Land Titles Fees

The cost of transferring land title in Alberta is set by the Land Titles Act and charged by the Alberta Land Titles Office.   It is paid for by the purchaser of the property on closing.

This fee is calculated based on the value of the property and the mortgage funds borrowed and can be several hundreds of dollars.

We offer a Land Titles calculator, along with calculating any other closing costs on our website.

Real Property Report (RPR)

A Real Property Report (RPR) is a legal document that clearly illustrates the location of significant visible improvements relative to property boundaries.  A seller will typically have to obtain an RPR as a condition of their sale.

The amount of work (and cost) to prepare a Real Property Report varies between properties. Lot size and shape, number of buildings, natural features, age and availability of the property boundary information all affect the cost.

Estoppel Certificate Fees

You need this certificate to purchase a strata unit or a condominium in Alberta.  The estoppel certificate typically costs around $200 and shows you if outstanding interest is due from the previous owner, or if there are any unpaid condo contributions or interest that is due.

Title Insurance

Title insurance protects you from unknown title defects (title issues that prevent you from having clear ownership of the property).  For example, existing liens against the property’s title , encroachment issues (e.g. a structure on your property needs to be removed because it is on your neighbour’s property), and Title fraud.

Title insurance is often recommended, but is optional. The cost of a title insurance policy in Alberta can range from $200 and up, depending on the value of your property and could be a worthwhile investment for peace of mind.

Property Insurance

If you are borrowing money for your home, your lender will typically require that you have a certain level of insurance coverage on your home and ask for proof of insurance (also known as an insurance binder), prior to closing. Without insurance, a lender will typically not advance the mortgage funds to the lawyer.

It is a good idea to call your insurance broker and shop around a few weeks prior to closing.

Finally, it is important to mention that your fees can vary depending on the property, location and situation. Contact the Deeded team and we’d be happy to give you a more accurate estimate.

Important Note: This article is not Legal Advice.  No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely upon the materials provided on this website, any hypertext links or other general information without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

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