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  • How to Scan Documents With a Cell Phone Like a Pro

    How to Scan Documents With a Cell Phone Like a Pro

    During the closing process, a variety of documents must be exchanged between you and several other parties such as your Lawyer, Realtor, Lender or Mortgage Broker. Some of these documents may already be in digital format (also known as "soft copies"), while some documents may still be in paper formats.

    Scanning documents the traditional way has always been a cumbersome experience that requires scanning equipment, specialized software and know-how (not to mention paper jams!)

    Thankfully, the mobile phone has become the modern day Swiss Army knife for most of us. With advanced cameras on most mobile devices, you can take pictures of documents and upload them in minutes.

    To successfully scan documents with a cell phone, you need to know the best way to photograph different types of documents.

    Here are the Deeded tips to scan documents a phone:

    Camera Settings

    • • Check your camera phone settings. If possible, select the "macro" or "document" mode. Also make sure that the camera's autofocus setting is on. Macro/document mode is particularly important for scanning smaller documents like letter-size pieces of paper or business cards.
    • • If you don't have macro/document mode, make sure the camera is set to its highest resolution. This'll generate the largest image.
    • • Turn off your flash. Flashes tend to reflect harshly off of white surfaces like paper. The result is a washed-out image.

    Lighting

    • • Find the best lighting. Since you can't use a flash, the document needs to have ample natural light. Position the document near a window or directly under a lamp. Use brightdirect lighting on your document. Shadows and indirect light may cause certain parts of the document to be unreadable after scanning.

    Positioning

    • • Hold the device directly above the document to avoid distorting the scan. Try to fill the camera frame with as much of the document as possible so that it is not cut-off. If you're photographing a business card, you'll need to get in nice and close so that the card fills almost the entire screen.
    • • For letter-size pieces of paper and business cards, you may want to rotate your camera 90 degrees so that the document fills even more of the screen.
    • • Hold the camera phone with both hands to keep it steady. Slight movements can produce a blurry image, especially in low-light situations.
    • • Most importantly, preview your picture on your screen to ensure it is legible and in focus prior to sharing it. Will the person receiving the document be able to read it? If not, it is best to take the photo again.

    The Deeded Team is dedicated to making real estate closing as simple and efficient as possible. With the technology and resources available closing a transaction and sharing documents has never been easier. For any further questions feel free to contact our team and we'll show you why we're the best in the business.

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  • Should You Consider Taking Advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)?

    Should You Consider Taking Advantage of the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)?

    Are you actively contributing to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)? If so, the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) can help you increase your down payment amount and purchase the home you want. The HBP allows you to withdraw from your RRSP account so you can build or buy a home for yourself or someone with a disability that's related to you (by marriage, common-law, blood, etc.)

    As of March 2019, the Canadian HBP withdrawal limit is $35,000. That can go a long way toward buying or building your home. That said, it’s important to fully understand how the HBP works before you decide if it’s right for you.

    How Does The RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan Work?

    To withdraw from your RRSP account for the Home Buyers’ Plan, you’ll have to inform the Canada Revenue Agency and apply through your financial institution. As mentioned, if you qualify, you can extract up to $35,000 tax-free to use as a down payment for the purchase or construction of a home. Here’s what you’ll have to do to get started:

    • Contribute to an RRSP - You can only qualify for the HBP if you have enough money in an active RRSP account, for at least 90 days prior to withdrawal. While you normally cannot withdraw from this type of account (penalty-free) until you’re of retirement age, the CRA makes an exception for qualified homebuyers.

     

    • Be a Canadian first-time homebuyer - Only permanent residents who are buying or building their primary residence (or doing so for a disabled person) can qualify. If you’ve already used the HBP for yourself and want to do the same for someone else, you must have a zero balance on your original account.

     

    • Submit the right forms - You must also visit the CRA website, fill out Section 1 of Form T1036 and bring it to the financial institution that holds your RRSP account. They will then complete Section 2 and, if you qualify, will send you the form T4RSP, which confirms how much you have borrowed from the account.

     

    • Buy the home and withdraw - Once you meet all the criteria, you must withdraw the appropriate funds within 30 days of purchasing the home’s title, using a loan from your financial institution. If you wait more than 30 days, you will no longer qualify for the HBP and any money you withdraw will be subject to tax.

     

    Declaring Your HBP Withdrawal and Repaying Your Debt

    Once you’ve purchased your home, you must declare your T4RSP form on your income tax return for the same year the withdrawal was made from your RRSP account. Afterward, your annual CRA Notice of Assessment will display the amount you have repaid, what you have left to pay, and how much your next payment will be.

    You will then have 2 years before you must start paying back what you’ve borrowed. Typically, this is done in yearly installments to your RRSP through your financial institution, over a maximum period of 15 years. Each payment must be made within the same year it’s due or within the first 60 days of the following year.

    Other Requirements to Qualify for the Home Buyers’ Plan

    • • You cannot have owned another home within the 4 calendar years prior to applying for the HBP
    • • You must first enter a written agreement to purchase or construct the home
    • • You have to start living in the home within 1-year of its purchase
    • • If you’re buying a home with common-law partner or spouse who isn’t a first-time homebuyer, you can’t have lived in their primary residence for more than 4 years

     

    Benefits and Drawbacks of The Home Buyer’s Plan

    Now that you know what the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan is and how you can withdraw from it, here’s a list of some of the main pros and cons of the process:

    Benefits

    • • The loan will be tax and interest-free
    • • Your taxable income will decrease when you claim your RRSP contributions
    • • Two first-time homebuyers can combine their plans for a total of $70,000
    • • A larger downpayment means you’ll need to borrow less
    • • You only have to start paying it back after 2 years (total of 17 years to repay)

     

    Drawbacks

    • • You won’t gain any interest on your funds like you would if they were invested
    • • Contributions you pay back from your HBP won’t count toward your deductions
    • • Being a homeowner with other expenses can make it difficult to repay your debt
    • • You must declare any missed RRSP payments on your taxes (and pay for them)

     

    Do I Still Need a Down Payment If I Take Advantage of the HBP?

    These days, it’s nearly impossible to find a home that doesn’t require a down payment. In fact, if your home costs $500,000 or under, your mortgage provider will require a minimum down payment of 5% of the home’s asking price. If your home is between $500,000 and $1,000,000, you can expect to pay at least 15% down (5% on the first $500,000 and 10% on anything over that, up to $1,000,000).

    So, if the money you withdraw from your RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan doesn’t sufficiently cover your minimum down payment, you may not qualify for a mortgage and the rest of the funds will have to come from your own pocket.

    Can You Purchase a Second Home Using The Home Buyers’ Plan?

    Fortunately, you can be eligible for the Home Buyers’ Plan a second time, as long as you haven’t owned a home within the past 4 years. So, if you want to sell your first home and live in an apartment to save money, you can reapply as a “new” homebuyer 4 years later.

    As mentioned, whatever balance remains on your previous HBP account must also be fully repaid before you can qualify a second time. The same sort of rules apply if you’re buying a home for a disabled relative.

    What If My Spouse Owned a House Less Than 4 Years Ago?

    If you’re purchasing a home with a spouse who owned a house less than 4 years ago, but you did not live in that house with them, you are still eligible to use the HBP. Just keep in mind that only you will be able to withdraw $35,000 from your RRSP, not your spouse.

    How to Decide if The Home Buyers’ Plan is Right For You

    Although the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan can be the perfect solution for first-time homebuyers, it can also be an expensive and lengthy debt to take on, particularly when you consider all the other costs that come with being a homeowner in Canada. In fact, there are cases where you should and shouldn’t take advantage of the HBP:

    The Home Buyers’ Plan Could Be Right For You When…

    • • You’re a first-time homebuyer or haven’t owned a home in at least 4 years
    • • You and your spouse/partner can combine your HBP funds
    • • You’re trying to purchase a home for someone with a disability
    • • You have automatic RRSP contributions set up with your financial institution
    • • You still have enough money in your RRSP to keep your retirement on track
    • • You don’t have enough for a 20% down payment (which would help you avoid having to pay mortgage default insurance)

     

    The Home Buyers’ Plan Could Be Wrong For You When…

    • • You have owned a home within the past 4 years
    • • You already have enough for a 20% down payment
    • • Your retirement would be greatly delayed due to your withdrawal
    • • You would be withdrawing all of your RRSP funds (no interest gained)
    • • Would not be able to afford your annual payments
    • • You have an unsteady income, bad credit, or a lot of existing debt

     This is a Guest Post from our friends at Loanscanada.ca.

     

    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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  • Title Search – What is it and Why Do You Need It.

    Title Search – What is it and Why Do You Need It.

    Before we explain what a title search is, it is important to understand what title means.

    Title is a legal term that means registered owner of a property

    Records associated with the title of a particular property are usually kept in a land registry office, which is responsible for record keeping.  These records include deeds, court records, property and name indexes, and other documents related to the property.

    Before you purchase a property, your lawyer conducts a title search to examine the property’s title history and ensure that the seller has the legal right to sell the property, and that there are no other encumbrances (such as liens, title claims, judgements, mortgages etc.) or property line issues that could prevent the buyer from taking full possession.

    What Does a Title Search Show?

    A title search clarifies the legal owner(s) of the property, any existing easements, leases, or restrictions that affect the property, any mortgages, judgements against the property, liens, or unpaid rental contracts (such as hot water tanks) that will need to be dealt with before the property can be sold to a buyer.

    What if There Are Issues Found With The Title?

    If title issues arise with the property you are purchasing, your lawyer will work with your seller’s lawyer to try to resolve.  Often times, issues can be corrected prior to closing

    What if There Are Issues Found With The Title?

    If title issues arise with the property you are purchasing, your lawyer will work with your seller’s lawyer to try to resolve.  Often times, issues can be corrected prior to closing.

    What If a Title Issue is Discovered After Closing?

    In case an issue is discovered on your title after you have closed your transaction, title insurance covers several situations and is meant to protect you against the unforeseen. For more information on title insurance, click here.

    How Much Does a Title Search Cost?

    Our transparent fees include a title search for purchases and refinances of properties.  Depending on the extent of the searches required, you may incur some disbursements for service fees incurred for the searching the land registry.

    I’m Refinancing, Why Do I Need a Title Search?

    Your lender will likely require a new title search as a condition of refinancing.  Lenders typically will need to see if there are any issues standing in the way of your property being fit to sell when approving refinancing transactions.  

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  • Online Real Estate and Mortgage Closings

    Online Real Estate and Mortgage Closings

    We created Deeded to bring simplicity and accessibility to one of life’s most important transactions.

    Our vision is to bring the entire closing process online, making it transparent, convenient and human.  It is something we felt strongly was needed to meet the demands of the modern consumer and compliment the ongoing digitization of the Real Estate transaction.

    Little did we know that shortly after launching, our vision would quickly become the reality by which online Real Estate closings are the norm.   The crisis caused by COVID-19 has sent the entire industry into a tailspin where new practices had to be adopted literally overnight in order to accommodate a new reality.

    In the past two weeks we’ve seen regulations change, significant support from the title insurers and a resilient industry come together and innovate in order to get current and future transactions closed.

    This is where our technology, streamlined processes, and team shine.  Preparation always meets opportunity.  We were built for a digital age.  We’ve invested in a future that turned out to be now.  It’s why we feel so prepared to serve you during these difficult times and beyond.  

    Deeded offers fully online real estate closings, making purchases, sales and refinances smooth and seamless.  

    There Are 4 Easy Steps To Get Your Deal Closed By Deeded.  

    Upload Documents

    Securely upload required documents and complete a brief online intake and ID verification process.   The entire process takes under 10 minutes.

    Attend a Video Signing

    We’ll schedule a video signing meeting at a convenient time for you (including evenings and weekends).   All you need is a computer with a webcam, an internet connection and a smartphone.   There’s no printing, scanning or couriers required.  

    Electronic Funds Transfer

    On a purchase we will ask that you direct deposit the funds into our account. On a sale we will wire the funds into your account after closing.

    Keys at the Property

    On a purchase we’ll arrange for your sellers to leave the keys in a lockbox at the property. On a sale, simply leave your keys in a lockbox at the property.

    Our Deeded Team is ready to help you get started, to obtain a quote, please click here.

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  • How Do Video Closings for Real Estate and Mortgages Work?

    How Do Video Closings for Real Estate and Mortgages Work?

    Virtual video closings keep mortgages and Real Estate transactions flowing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it has become challenging to close a real estate transaction, especially for those thousands of buyers and sellers who are planning to close their transactions over the next few weeks or even months.

    Why Do We Need video Closings for Real Estate and Mortgages?

    The closing process requires documents to be signed and commissioned in front of a lawyer or a commissioner of oaths, which presents an issue when people are quarantined, stuck abroad due to travel restrictions, or simply cannot travel to the lawyer’s office due to quarantine or closure of the office.

    As of March 16, 2020, the Law Society of Ontario has issued a special bulletin to allow remote commissioning of documents as a special measure to deal with the disruption caused by COVID-19.  In addition, title insurers and some lenders have indicated flexibility given the situation.

    Deeded has invested in virtual signing technology that allows clients to securely sign their documents from the comfort of their home.  All they need is a computer, an internet connection, and a smart phone.   There’s no need to print, courier or scan documents.

    This technology allows us to securely present documents, have them signed and witnesses in real-time, and record the entire interaction for security purposes.

    How Do Virtual Signings Work?

    Step 1 – Scheduling The Signing Appointment

    Clients will receive a calendar meeting invite with a link.   The session takes place live and can be scheduled at a convenient time.   All individuals who are signing need to attend, but they do not have to be at the same location. 

    Step 2 – The Virtual Signing

    All parties will be able to see each other on a live video stream.  The lawyer will explain the entire process and will ask each signer to identify themselves and show photo ID.  Clients will

    Each document to be signed is presented on the screen, explained, and is signed on the screen by each party.  If the client does not have a touch-screen device, a SMS or email can be sent to their mobile device and they can sign on the surface of their mobile device using their finger or stylus.

    The lawyer or commissioner will also sign where applicable.

    Step 3 – Security Protocols

    Throughout the meeting, the audio and video of the conference is recorded along with the documents being signed.  A secure audit log is used to confirm items such as the signer’s location and identification.   The video is stored on servers offering bank-grade security.

    Step 4 – Final Documents Distributed

    As soon as the meeting is complete and parties sign off, the final electronic version of all signed documents is distributed securely for everyone’s records.  

    Preparing for Your Virtual Signing Appointment

    Make sure you have your laptop, tablet and mobile phone ready and that you have a high-speed internet connection.

    Have all signing parties bring picture ID to the Virtual Signing appointment

    Ensure all parties signing have the calendar invite and meeting link

    Log into the Virtual Signing session on the scheduled time

    Ensure only those parties who are signing are in the room, or if there is someone else in the room, that person’s identity would be noted, and possibly they would be asked to leave the room

    If you are interested in using a video closing on your next real estate closing or mortgage transaction, our Deeded Team is ready to help you get started, to obtain a quote, please click here. 

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  • Realtors: Real Estate Transactions Amidst COVID-19

    Realtors: Real Estate Transactions Amidst COVID-19

    Will COVID-19 impact closing your Real Estate transactions?

    A hotter than ever spring housing market coupled with a reduction in mortgage rates is responsible for record-breaking numbers of Real Estate transactions in markets across Ontario.

    As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread, it may soon become a reality that your clients and perhaps you will face a quarantine much like we’ve already seen occur in China, Italy, Iran and other countries.

    This may present unexpected challenges in closing your Real Estate transactions that may impact your clients and your business. Here are the most common questions we've received along with potential contingency plans to minimize disruption to your business and your client’s lives.

    For Firm Deals, Are Clients Obligated Too Close?

    Most firm residential real estate transactions in Ontario require the buyer or seller to close the transaction by a specific date as set out in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS). 

    Most residential transactions do not usually include a force majeure clause that typically excuses a party from performance if the failure to perform is due to an event beyond the party’s control.

    Therefore, in most cases, clients will still be obligated to close their transaction despite any challenges that may be beyond their control.

    For any deals moving forward, consider incorporating a COVID-19 delay clause into your real estate transaction to protect you and your clients from a delay that is caused directly by COVID-19 disruption (such as a quarantine). This clause should be written and reviewed by a lawyer as it will need to be specific, clear and enforceable.

    Can Closings Be Delayed As a Result of COVID-19?

    Closing can be delayed if an amendment to the agreement of purchase and sale (APS) is signed and agreed upon by all parties.  If you or your clients foresee the need to postpone or change your closing date, the sooner amendments can be signed by both parties, the better. 

    Given the uncertainly, it is important to proactively communicate with your clients, lawyer, and the co-operating agent to ensure the closing is proceeding as scheduled.  Knowing the flexibility of your buyers and sellers can make a big difference in putting together potential amendments.

    What if Clients Cannot Make it to Sign Closing Documents?

    To close the transaction, your clients will have to attend a lawyer’s office to sign closing documents.  Some lawyers may offer at-home signing, which may not work in the case of a full quarantine.

    At Deeded, we have started to leverage remote signing and ID verification technology to allow clients to sign documents via video conference from the comfort of their home.  This service is available to qualified clients. Please reach out to us at hello@deeded.ca if we can help with your closing.

    What if Lenders Are Disrupted By Coronavirus?

    Most employers are taking serious measures to protect their employees and prevent further spread of the virus in the workplace. As such, lending operations may face delays and logjams caused by shortages of staff.

    Mortgage instructions from the lender are required to close a deal that requires financing and a delay in getting mortgage instructions may mean a delay in closing. It is best to be proactive, working with your partners on the deal to ensure that:

    1. 1. Clients sign mortgage commitments - Some lenders may offer remote options to sign paperwork.
    2. 2. Mortgage instructions are sent to the lawyer's office at least 2-3 days prior to closing

    What if The Land Registry Closes Down?

    Most title insurance policies include Gap Coverage that insures both purchasers and lenders against losses due to intervening registrations on title between the date of closing and the date of registration.

    This means that in the event that online registration is no longer available, or land registry offices experience delays or closures due to COVID-19, real estate transactions can close on time and funds and keys can be released to the respective parties.

    What if My Brokerage is Closed?

    Some brokerages have advised agents to work from home and may take additional steps to close their office during the pandemic and have deal staff working from home. This may impact your ability to take deposit cheques and collect commission cheques in a timely manner.

    For deposits, you can ask that it be wired or directly deposited into your brokerage's trust account instead of taking deposits as cheques. Payment for commissions can also be wired/transferred from the lawyer's office to the brokerage and if your broker is already setup to transfer commissions into your bank account, this can avoid any delays and potentially disrupting your cash flow.

    How Else Will COVID-19 impact The closings of my Real Estate transactions?

    The escalating situation with the spread of COVID-19 may impact other parts of your transaction such as your lawyers, mortgage brokers, stagers and other key resources.  It is more important than ever to proactively communicate with your partners and develop a contingency plan. 

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