With over 20 years of Real Estate experience and over ten thousand deals closed, we have come across most of the issues that come up in closing a Real Estate deal. To help our clients we publish a newsletter “Title Tips” to answer questions and keep closings smooth. Below are the most common questions and issues we find.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is not intended and should not be relied on as legal advice. Feel free to call John Zinati to discuss your particular situation today.
Finding your dream home is a milestone. But that doesn’t mean the home buying process is over. A common question we field is whether or not a property buyer should purchase title insurance. Title insurance is a form of insurance used to insure the buyer and their lender against loss or damage as a result of title defects.
A so-called defect is anything on title that prevents the owner from having clear title to the property. This can include outstanding liens (unpaid bills) or encumbrances (errors in deeds) and could result in the termination of the sale.
Title insurance is not mandatory in Ontario; you can still buy a home without it. But a good real estate lawyer in Toronto would advise their clients that is it not just an option, but a critical element in obtaining an assurance of title. That’s because title insurance protects homeowners and minimizes any risks. It’s not something you need to pay over and over again. It’s a one-time payment, called a premium that lasts for as long as you own the property.
While you may think title insurance is just another payment you don’t need, think again. A large number of real estate transactions require extraordinary work to clear up a title. This means your chances of having some sort of issue with the title is probably higher than you think.Here is a list of the most common real estate title transfer problems:
While it was thought that selling houses during the COVID-19 pandemic would have been a big challenge, and it was at the beginning, statistics have shown that the market is actually busier than it has ever been in certain circumstances. This is because demand for real estate is strong, interest rates are low, and many people have managed to keep their jobs during the pandemic. As such many transactions are being closed regularly and we are happy to advise that our procedures and systems, such as many of those across the industry, have been changed to allow the market to continue in its strength.
If you’re looking to buy or sell a house during the pandemic, here are some of the current issues surrounding the real estate market and how our real estate closing lawyers in Toronto can help you secure the home you want.
If you’re a homeowner wondering whether it is worth selling your home, there are probably quite a few misconceptions about selling your house that you’ve heard. So, to keep you on track with the truths and myths about selling your house, here are the top home selling myths debunked.
Does a buyer need a lawyer? If you’re considering buying a house or condo in Toronto, you will need a real estate lawyer to help you through the process. What does a lawyer do when you’re buying a condo? Their primary responsibility is to protect your rights and make sure all the terms of the purchase and sale are met by the seller, so that you can obtain the title to the property. Here’s a more in-depth breakdown of what a closing lawyer does while buying a house or condo.
So, you’ve decided to sell your home—congratulations! Whether you’ve chosen to upgrade to a larger home or downsize to a smaller, cozier property, selling your home is a big deal.
Working with the right real estate agent and real estate lawyer can help make this exciting process as stress-free and smooth as possible; they can also help you prepare for all the necessary fees, especially the hidden costs of selling a house.
How much does it actually cost to sell your home and what fees should you prepare for? Keep reading as we break down some of the hidden costs of selling a house.
If you’re currently looking to purchase a new condo, it’s important to do your research as well as to work with an experienced real estate lawyer. The last thing you want to do is purchase a condo on a whim and later find out that there are maintenance fees or regulations you weren’t aware of.
So, how do you ensure that you have all the important information you need about your prospective new home before you sign on the dotted line? That’s where a condo status certificate can help.
You’ve likely heard the term “status certificate” before, but what exactly is a status certificate and why is a status certificate important?
Here’s what you need to know about this invaluable document and the purpose of getting a status certificate.
Over the last few months, there has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy. Millions of people lost their jobs, businesses were forced to shut down, and Canadians coast to coast were required to isolate and social-distance.
While the pandemic has certainly taken a toll on our social lives and on the economy as a whole, it’s also forced many homeowners to question whether they will be able to pay their mortgage.
Luckily, the five largest banks in Canada—Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD), Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), Bank of Montreal (BMO), and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)—have stepped up to offer mortgage deferrals in Toronto and across Canada.
What is a mortgage deferral? And does a mortgage deferral hurt your credit? Here’s what you need to know about this new form of financial assistance from lenders and whether it’s the right move for you and your family.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t just affected millions of Canadians financially, but it has also sent the global economy spiraling. Many Canadians have already lost their jobs and the housing market has taken a major hit, which has led to concerns that the mortgage process will be affected, too.
Now more than ever, people are rushing to refinance their mortgages and provide themselves with a bit of a safety net. But is mortgage refinancing during COVID-19 really the right move?
The answer is that it strongly depends on each individual’s circumstances.
Here’s a breakdown of whether you should refinance your mortgage now and a few of the benefits of mortgage refinancing during COVID-19.
Even though the housing market has slowed during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has adapted to the challenges and is taking advantage of online tools to accommodate people who are still interested in buying or selling. Buyers who already own a home will need to decide whether to buy a new house before selling the old one, or vice versa.
Here’s what you need to know about how to buy a house while selling your own in Canada.
Firstly, we hope you and all of your families are doing well and observing as much as possible the directive to stay home and work from home as much as you can. These are difficult times and this is the best way to get through them.
However, although most of us are home as much as possible, many of you have questions about the impact of Covid-19 measures on existing or new closings. Below is the essential information that you need to know. The Bottom Line is that Real Estate transactions are still closing:
- The Land Registry Office and Teraview system are digital and there is no expectation that they will be shut down at this time.
- Lawyers have been declared an essential service and as such can remain open to complete real estate closings, although many are adjusting to working from home.
- The Law Society has relaxed rules on Commissioning Affidavits and Declarations so lawyers are allowed to Commission sworn documents and Identify clients remotely using digital signatures and video interviews. Lawyers are signing clients remotely and banking online as much as possible. Also, the current circumstance has people thinking about estate planning and Wills, which often requires making sure title is held in joint tenancy so that if one person passes away the property automatically passes to the survivor. The Ministry of the Attorney General has advised that an emergency Order In Council has been made under s. 7.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act with respect to the virtual commissioning and execution of wills. This means that people can both have their Wills and any Title Transfer required completed virtually.
- Lenders are allowing lawyers to sign their documents through digital signature and remotely on mortgages for purchases and refinances, although some lenders are not or are doing so on an ad hoc basis.
- Title Insurance companies have confirmed that their fraud coverage will apply to cover buyers and lenders accepting digital signatures and remote signing.
- The law is not clear on whether Covid-19 measures can excuse the performance of a Residential Real Estate contract. The two most likely elements or doctrines of law to apply to the situation are Force Majeure clauses and Frustration of Contract.
- Force Majeure: Unlike most Commercial agreements there are no Force Majeure clauses in the standard Orea Residential Resale forms. These are clauses which allow parties to be discharged from the obligations in the event of serious unforeseen circumstances.
- Frustration of Contract: This applies to discharge parties from their obligations when through no fault of their own unforeseen events make completing the contract something almost completely different than what they had bargained for. Essentially, the parties’ reasons for entering into the contract have to be destroyed by the unexpected event. It would be difficult to establish this in a Residential Real Estate transaction. Frustration of Contract is a final options which require the parties to almost have no other alternatives or workarounds to limit or avoid losses. Given that registry systems, law offices and banks remain open it is unlikely to apply to residential real estate transactions.
- Cooperation between the Parties and Lawyers: Given that the law is not clear, lawyers and clients are being advised not to take hardlines in instances where Covid-19 measures impact a party’s ability to close, as it is expected that courts will not look favourably on a party who is not reasonable or takes advantage of the current circumstance.
- Covid-19 Clauses: Covid-19 clauses have been drafted to factor this reality into an greement:
- Covid-19 Clause – more ways out, better for buyers as they are more likely to need a way out- although it does give both the buyer and seller more ways out: The parties agree and acknowledge that in the event that either the BUYER, SELLER, or any of their respective lawyers/notaries, relevant service providers, branches of Canadian Banks or other Lenders, Land Registry Offices or other Government Agencies become the subject of a Voluntary or Mandatory Covid-19 virus quarantine, closure or travel restriction prior to the time of completion herein which results in the Buyer or Seller being unable to complete the transaction on the completion date stated herein, the completion date herein shall be automatically extended at the request of either party for a period of up to ten (10) business days after such quarantine, closure or travel restriction order is lifted. Such extension shall be up to a maximum delay of sixty (60) days unless the parties otherwise mutually agree to further extensions. Upon the expiration of the maximum 60 day extension period either party may elect to terminate this Agreement, in the event of which both parties will be released from any liability or obligation to each other.
- Covid-19 Clause -less ways out, better for sellers as the are less likely to need a away out- although it does give both buyers and sellers less ways out and confirms an obligation to Close: The parties herein acknowledge and agree that they are required to close this transaction notwithstanding any impacts of Covid-19, save and except the closing of the Land Registry Offices and all financial institutions. In the event that the closing herein cannot happen because of a shutdown/disruption in the operation of the Land Registry System and/or financial institutions, the completion date herein shall be automatically extended to the fifth business day following the date upon which the said shutdown/disruption ends and the Land Registry System and financial institutions reopen.
- With many law offices closed, or lawyers working from home, clients should expect to have to wire funds to lawyers and key exchange arrangements to be made between buyers and sellers, perhaps with the help of agents.
- Tarion has amended its rules about times for extensions and many builders are using the “Unavoidable Delay” provision to extend transactions.
- Lawyers and all participants in the industry are being advised to be on high alert for possible instances of fraud because of the relaxed rules and video signing.
The situation is fluid with regular updates from the Law Society, Title Insurance, Lenders, and Governments so all of this is subject to possible change. We wish you good luck, health and safety during these difficult times.
Title Tips is not intended and should not be relied on as legal advice. For specific questions or situations, please feel free to call John Zinati for assistance.
If you are wondering what to do when buying a house for the first time, there is a lot of information available. Thanks to the Internet, there is no limit to the advice and resources you can find to help you make one of the biggest purchases of your life. But sometimes, the information can seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a first-time home buyer 101, so you’ll know what to look for when buying a house and can get plenty of valuable first-time home buyers tips. Keep reading for things first-time home buyers should keep in mind when buying property in Canada.
Selling your home can be a stressful process but you can avoid it by selling directly to a real estate investor. These sales often allow sellers to skip steps like inspection contingencies and avoid appraisal concerns or issues with financing from the buyer. In some cases, even if you choose to sell to a traditional buyer, you may get a better offer from an investor, perhaps someone with limited contingencies and assurance of a quick close. Should you sell your house or property to an investor? The answer really depends on the situation you want. However, it is important to understand the pros and cons of selling your house to an investor compared to a traditional buyer. Here’s what you need to know, so you make the best decision.
Are you wondering if you should sell your house for an all-cash deal? Chances are you want to sell it quickly and may need the money to pay off a debt or make another big purchase. Or, you may be wanting to avoid the contingencies of going through with a traditional mortgage. Whatever your reasons may be, it is important to fully understand what an all-cash house offer is, and how it may benefit or hinder you as you sell. Here’s all you need to know, plus some helpful advice.
It’s no secret that people have been scammed by fake house buyers and/or sellers in the past. Even if you are desperately searching for a new place to live or really want to sell your house quickly, you need to keep your eyes our for scammers and protect yourself from making a grave mistake. Here are some important warning signs to determine if a house buyer or seller is fake. Keep these in mind as you house hunt or list your house for sale and be sure to hire a real estate lawyer to protect you and your assets through this process.
Most real estate transactions tend to fall apart because of the buyer, but there are cases where sellers influence these failures. Some sellers may request additional time to move out before the buyer physically assumes the property, but there are also those who change their mind about selling at the eleventh hour. This may be because they want to sell to someone else after being offered a better price, or simply because they got cold feet. Although they may attempt this, it’s important to know that there are laws that protect buyers. These laws enable buyers to sue the seller and force them to follow through with the deal. If you’re wondering what happens if a seller delays or notice that the seller is stalling, here are your options and how you can get help from a real estate lawyer.
After a lengthy search for the right home for you, endless mortgage application forms, and tiring negotiations with the seller, you have purchased your dream home and are excited to move in! You signed your part of the purchase agreement, prepared your down payment, and are ready to celebrate your big purchase. However, you’re not out of the woods…yet. Until the deal has gone through, there is still the potential that this arrangement could fall through. Various closing problems could still arise, some which you can control, so you need to do your due diligence to prevent them from happening. Meanwhile, other closing problems could be out of your control. Here are some of the most common closing problems when buying a home, so you can prepare for anything.
A motivated seller is someone who desperately wants to sell their home. Whether they have big plans to move far away or are stressed with the workload it takes to maintain the property, a motivated seller is looking to get out of the mortgage and move on. As a buyer, this could be good news for you. For one, it might mean the seller is willing to negotiate the price and offer a quick closing. On the other hand, it could signal red flags. Before you get excited and sign the papers at this new opportunity, have your agent talk to the selling agent. Here are some important questions you should ask a motivated seller.
Condominium sales are skyrocketing in Canada’s biggest housing markets—especially the Greater Toronto Area—which is why many people are looking for the opportunity to invest in a pre-construction condo (a condo that is planned and approved to be built in the future) in hopes of gaining a future profit.
While it may seem like a lucrative opportunity upfront, experts say there are some important factors to consider before dishing out the cash. Buying a property, whether it’s your first or not, is a big step, so that’s why you should always consult with a lawyer before buying a pre-construction condo to ensure you get what you signed for. Here’s how to buy a pre-construction condo, as well as some important things to check before you make the investment.
For most people, the biggest and most significant purchase they will ever make is buying a home. While it is common for buyers to seek a real estate agent to help them with the process, there are also many reasons to hire a real estate lawyer. A real estate lawyer can help you with the legal aspects of taking on a property and dealing with any issues that may arise. Here’s what you need to know about hiring a real estate agent and lawyer.
The family home is a special place full of years—sometimes even decades—of memories from each generation. When it’s time to retire or consider moving into a more manageable space, deciding what to do with the family home can be an emotional and difficult choice to make. Many homeowners choose to pass their home down to the next generation—one of their adult children. However, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Any time you deal with making a real estate transaction, it’s important to put emotions aside and think carefully about making the right choice. If you are wondering how to transfer a house title or property from a parent to a child in Canada, here’s what you need to know so that you make the right decision for you and your family.
RULE NUMBER 1 – THINK TAXES!
YOU MUST BE VERY CAREFUL IN MAKING THESE TRANSFERS TO GET PROPER TAX ADVICE AS A MISTAKE COULD BE VERY COSTLY. TALK TO YOUR LAWYER, ACCOUNTANT, OR TAX LAWYER BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING.