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Tag: real estate lawyer

  • How Can I Protect My Home With a Will?

    How Can I Protect My Home With a Will?

    Prepared by Willful for Deeded

    Owning a home is so exciting! You’ve likely been preparing for this purchase for a long time. You’ve just closed and you just can’t wait to move in and settle down. 

    We’re not here to bring down the mood, but have you thought about what happens to your home if you were to die unexpectedly? 

    A recent study commissioned by online estate planning platform, Willful, shows that 49% of Canadian homeowners don’t have an up-to-date will, and 1 in 4 Canadians don’t know what happens to their home if they pass away. For many individuals, property is one of the biggest assets they own. So while no one wants to think about their own death, it’s important to make plans to protect your property in the event of your death. 

    What is a Will?

    Your last will and testament is a legal document that outlines how you wish to distribute your assets such as property and money when you pass away. Your will is also where you name guardians for any minor children and an executor who will be in charge of settling your affairs on your behalf.

    In the context of a home, you can think about it like home insurance. In the event of an emergency, having a will makes sure that your home will be left to the beneficiary or beneficiaries of your choice if you were to pass away.

    What Happens To my Home if I Die Without a Will?

    When a person dies without a will, they are considered to have died “intestate”. No, this does not mean the government will get your house. But it does mean a provincial formula will decide how your home will be distributed. The rules vary from province to province, and in many cases, it means your home and other assets will not be distributed to the individuals you would have liked.

    It’s important to note that most provincial formulas don’t account for common law spouses, so it’s even more important to plan in a will if you’re in a common law relationship.

    Does The Type of Ownership Affect if the Property in My Will?

    How you own your home can significantly affect how your property is distributed in your will. Depending on how you own your home, there are a few ways the home can be distributed upon your death. 

    Owning Property on Your Own 

    This is when you own property solely under your name. In this situation, your property is covered by your will when you pass away. Like any other assets you may own, you can leave it as a specific gift or it can be distributed to your beneficiaries as part of your residual estate.

    Property Owned Jointly With Rights of Survivorship 

    This is when you own a property jointly with rights of survivorship with a spouse or someone else. In this situation, property passes directly to the other person who co-owns the home, along with any associated mortgages/debt. As a result, this property does not become part of your estate and what happens to it is not governed by your will.

    Property Owned Jointly With Tenancy in Common

    If you own property as joint tenants in common, you and the co-owner each own a share of the property. In this situation, the property will not automatically be passed to the other owner. As a result, your share is included in your estate and can be gifted through your will.

    Depending on how the home is owned, this may also affect taxes at the time of your passing

    Do I Need to Update My Will Every Time I Move?

    It’s important to review your estate plan regularly to ensure that it is up to date, and moving is a great time to do that!  Any time to sell or acquire an asset, you will want to make changes to any specific gifts in your will. For example, If you’ve left a property at a specific address to someone, you’ll need to update it to the new address.  Having the correct information is crucial to ensure your gifts are honoured. 

    If you’ve moved to a different province (or country!), you will also be subject to local wills and estates laws in that market. While most Canadian provinces recognize wills made in other provinces, it’s always best practice to update your will to adhere to provincial legislation. It’s also important to ensure your selected executors and guardians still make sense in your new location.

    The Important Takeaway?

    If you own a home, you need a will. While it may sound like a lot of work - creating your will is actually one of the easiest things you can do to protect your home and loved-ones. There are many ways to make a will, but online estate planning platforms, like Willful, make it easy for you to make your will in 20 minutes, all from the comfort of your home!

    Willful is an online estate planning platform that makes it affordable, easy, and convenient to create your will and power of attorney documents online in less than 20 minutes. Learn more about Willful here.

    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. This article was written by Willful. Deeded Law Professional Corporation and Willful are independent entities. Deeded Law Professional Corporation does not assume any liability for the accuracy of the content or any services that may be provided by Willful.

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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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  • Reimagining The Home Closing Experience

    Reimagining The Home Closing Experience

    Reimagining the home closing experience

    A long conversation over lunch sparked what later became Deeded.  

    I had recently closed on a new home and was still shaking my head after being charged thousands in fees I did not anticipate.  My co-founder’s closing went much smoother, but his excitement of buying his first home quickly shifted into misery when he spent 4 hours in traffic going to the lawyer’s office to pick up the keys for his new home.

    After speaking with dozens of recent home buyers and sellers, we quickly learned that our home closing experiences weren't just isolated cases. The most anticipated part of every real estate transaction was being done with it, yet the closing is, by nature, the most complicated and slowest part of the proceedings. A good home closing experience was defined by consumers we spoke with as "uneventful" as opposed to the exciting, happy and memorable moment - as it should be.

    So, what do a couple of crazy entrepreneurs decide to do?  We decided to build a company can deliver the home closing experience that we wished we had. 

    We spent weeks summarizing all the feedback we heard from consumers and speaking to dozens more, including lawyers and top industry executives.  We noted and prioritized common pain points and spent a few more weeks trying to come up with solutions to each pain point.

    While it is still way early to declare victory or claim we've solved anything, we couldn’t be prouder of of the foundation we’ve built. 

    “Closing is like a black box – you never know what’s going on”

    By far, the top concern we heard from home buyers and sellers was a lack of communication and transparency during the closing process.  Many claimed the process shut them out and kept them waiting.  Consumers didn’t know if any work was being done on their deal.  They were clueless as to what is expected of them or if any issues arose during closing. 

    In some professions not hearing anything can mean good news (think your doctor, after your physical).  However, for those who are in the midst of the most significant transaction they’d ever make, not hearing is a cause for stress and anxiety.

    Today’s real estate customer has an amazing number of tools at hand to make the process easier and faster for them.  They can search for home online, compare prices or review amazing virtual tours. Outside of Real Estate, we can track our Uber, Pizza delivery or Amazon order by the minute.  Yet when it comes to closing their real estate transaction, as one of our interviewees called it, it is often a “black box”.

    Building a Transparent Home Closing Experience

    We built a technology platform that lets everyone involved in the transaction stay on top of all the steps involved and always know what’s next. 

    Closing a Real Estate transaction involves collaboration between several professionals – each with an important role to play.  Through each step, the client and professionals helping them (such as their Realtor, mortgage broker or lender)  receive real-time notifications and can even log into a personalized portal to see details that are relevant to their role in the deal.

    Everyone involved in the deal knows the exact progress (in real-time) and there's never a question as to what's next. With every step intuitively laid out for clients, their stress levels subside and they feel engaged in the closing process.

    Our goal is that you’ll never feel like your transaction is in a "black box".  Instead, an open and transparent experience engages the home buyer or seller and guides them throughout the entire process.

    The Deeded dashboard keeps everyone in the deal up-to-date.

    “I saw the bill and was just speechless”

    We know that buying or selling a home is an expensive proposition.  In fact, according to a CBC article, Real estate commissions, land transfer taxes, legal costs and fees for inspecting and surveying homes make up almost two per cent of Canada's economy. Fees can add up to tens of thousands of a home owner's hard-earned dollars. 

    Now imagine walking into a Starbucks, ordering your drink, and when you get to the cash register, they tell you it’s going to be $200.  I know that sounds absurd, but without understanding exactly what you’re on the hook for in terms of legal fees and disbursements, you’re just asking to be shocked!  

    Numerous buyers and sellers we spoke with experienced some degree of “sticker shock” when they finally saw their legal bills at closing.  While many firms and the Law Society of Ontario have made strides to standardize the way prices are advertised for Real Estate closings, consumers still find pricing confusing.

    Since an everyday homebuyer is unaccustomed to the ins and outs of real estate purchases, consumers often don’t know what they need included in their legal services. Extra fees can easily add up at closing, leaving consumers surprised and sometimes shocked.

    Pricing You Can Understand and Anticipate

    We felt that consumers deserve transparency and understand what they are going to pay for closing their deal. 

    We published our pricing calculator on our website.  It tells you exactly what will be included in your fees and what to anticipate as charges. 

    We also know not every deal will require the same amount of time (and hence costs), so we committed to letting consumers know of any anticipated additional costs the moment we know.   

    “I’m self-employed.  Taking a day off work means no income for the day”

    Almost every Real Estate transaction ends with a signing appointment.  This is the time where you will meet with your real estate lawyer and sign the required documents to make your purchase, sale or refinance transaction official.

    Between work, family, travel and hobbies, we all lead busy lives.   We heard many examples where buyers and their spouse needed to take time off work and commute to the lawyer’s office during business hours to sign their deal.  One couple had travelled 150km each way to meet with their lawyer.  The ordeal took an entire day and cost them thousands in lost wages.

    Our at-home signing is a standard part of our service.  This means you can sign when you want and where you want, including evenings and weekends.

    Virtual Home Closing Experience

    Just as entire industries are being transformed by the next generation of services that are built around the convenience of consumers (think Uber Eats, Amazon or Instacart), we felt that no consumer in this day and age should ever have to be inconvenienced to close their Real Estate transaction.

    Technology and new legislation have recently made it possible to close a transaction over video conferencing. It isn't only simple and convenient, but our technology also makes it paperless and secure. All you need is access to a device with a webcam and a high-speed internet connection. There's no printing, scanning and couriering of documents (and hence no costs of these add-on expenses either - we pass those savings to our clients)

    At Deeded, virtual signing is a standard part of our service.  This means you can sign when you want and where you want, including evenings and weekends.

    “I left a voicemail, and another one 2 hours later… crickets!”

    One of the Realtors we spoke with described how their client, a first-time buyer nearly ended up in the hospital right before closing.  They had received news of a delay from their bank and were trying to reach their lawyer…for two days!  As the stress levels rose, the health of the client got the worst of them to the point their could not easily breath.

    Without any ill intent, their lawyer and his staff were so busy that they didn’t have time to check voicemails and return calls.

    The Chef Never Picks Up the Phone, The Host(ess) Does

    We know and appreciate that things can get very busy.  There’s a reason why when you call a restaurant, the chef doesn’t pick up the phone – the host or hostess does.

    Our dedicated home closing advisors serve as the front line for clients and industry professionals.   Their job is to proactively reach out to clients, respond to any inquiries, and most importantly, be the critical conduit that can escalate matters to the lawyers and staff. 

    We also know that deals rarely get done during business hours. Offers are often negotiated on evenings and weekend and questions can arise at any time. That's why we've made our team available on evenings and weekends and they are reachable by phone, text or email.

    At Deeded, we are on a mission to build a seamless, transparent and human closing experience.  However, we feel like we are just scratching the surface.

    For us, everything starts from the experience we’d like to achieve for our clients – the same experience we wished we had when we closed our last home.

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  • Real Estate Legal Documents – What You’ll Need to Sign at Closing

    Real Estate Legal Documents – What You’ll Need to Sign at Closing

    Before your transaction closes, you'll meet with your Real Estate Lawyer at a signing appointment to review and sign your closing real estate legal documents. This is the time when you'll sign the required documents to make your purchase, sale or refinance transaction official.

    The excitement of getting to the finish line tends to make us all a little impatient or uninterested in the fine-print legal details.  While your real estate lawyer will explain the purpose of all real estate legal documents and what they mean in plain English, we put together some further insight into what to expect when you are at the signing table. 

    Charge (A Fancy Name For A Mortgage)

    If you are taking out a mortgage to buy your new home,  the Charge/Mortgage is the document registered against your home in the Ontario land titles registry.  

    When reviewing the Charge/Mortgage, you may notice in the “Chargor(s)” section reference to whether or not you are a spouse. The reason for spousal information being includes, even if they might not be on title of the property is because a spouse must provide his/her consent to the mortgage.

    Consent To Also Act For Your Bank

    When your transaction involves a mortgage, your lawyer will generally act for both you and your mortgage lender (or lenders in some cases) to save you the cost of paying for two lawyers.

    While this isn’t the norm to the rules in most other legal transactions, where each side retains their own representation, an exception to the rule permits a lawyer to act for both parties only if he/she is given permission from both parties to do so.  

    When signing real estate legal documents for the purchase of your new home, you may come across a document called “Consent to Act…”.  By signing this document, you give your lawyer permission to act for both you and your bank.

    Acknowledgments And Directions

    Acknowledgments and directions are documents signed by you and used by your lawyer as written confirmation that you have reviewed certain documents and that the information is accurate. A direction states that you authorize and direct your lawyer to take certain action. Your lawyer may require you to review and sign an acknowledgment and direction before your mortgage or the transfer of title is registered. Your lawyer may also require you to review and sign a direction for the transfer of funds from your bank to be held in trust by him/her until the amount is paid to the home seller.

    Transfer of Title

    The Transfer of Title is a document that is registered with the Ontario land titles registry.  In a nutshell, this document directs the transfer of interest in the home.

    Joint Tenants or Tenants In Common

    If you’re buying your home with other people such as a family member or a spouse, you may be asked if you’d like to be registered as “Joint Tenants” or “Tenants in Common”.

    With joint tenancy, you co-own 100% of the home with the other people on title and no one person owns a specific share of the home. For example, spouses may purchase a home together as joint tenants because, in the event that one of the spouses passes away, 100% of the ownership of the home then automatically belongs to the surviving spouse.  

    On the other hand, with tenancy in common, you own a specified share of the home and may be able to transfer or sell that share to others. Upon death, the share of the home will pass to the tenant in common’s heirs.  Often times in co-ownership or investment properties the owners are considered tenants in common.

    Statement of Adjustments

    The statement of adjustments likely gets the most questions during the signing appointment.  Put simply, a statement of adjustments summarizes the monies that will be exchanged, less any adjustments (deductions in the favor of the buyer or seller). 

    The statement of adjustments is similar to your monthly bank statement, as it has a list of various debits and credits with a balance at the end. In the buyer’s statement of adjustments, the debits represent amounts already paid, such as the deposit, while the credits include the purchase price of the home and any fees or utilities the seller has prepaid. The total amount in the credits column (purchase price + prepaid items) minus what’s in the debit column (the deposit) is what you owe to the seller on closing day.

    If you are buying a home, you’ll likely see your purchase price, plus any additional fees, less any deposits you’ve put down and funds that are coming in from your lender.  The balance of the statement is what you’ll need to pay at closing.

    If you are selling your home, you’ll see items such as proceeds from your sale, property tax adjustments, deductions for real estate commissions, and a payout to your mortgage lender, as applicable.

    The more you know, the smoother your transaction will.  Now that you have a better idea of what documents to expect at your signing appointment, taking a few minutes to prepare questions or ask for clarifications is always a good idea.

    At Deeded, we’re committed to making your Real Estate transaction seamless and smooth.  We believe that consumers should be empowered and in control of the most significant purchase or sale they’ll likely make. 

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