Residential Real Estate

Note: The information on this page covers typical real estate purchases only.  Readers are advised to seek legal advise specific to their situation. 

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Your lawyer will protect your investment. Whether you are buying or selling, our team will ensure that clear title is transferred from the seller to the purchaser and that money changes hands only when both parties' interests are protected. If you are obtaining a mortgage to facilitate your purchase, we will work with your bank to meet the funding requirements and protect your interests.

How Do I Make an Offer?

Your realtor will help you draft an Offer to Purchase. If you do not have a realtor, we will prepare the offer for you as part of our standard conveyancing fee. Keep in mind that once the offer is signed, it becomes legally binding. When making your offer, you may want to consider the following:

Home Inspection
You will want to have a qualified, reputable home inspector go through the home. The inspector will check and report on any visual defects in structure, services, exteriors, landscaping, etc. The starting cost of an inspection is usually $500.  

Professional Appraisal
You may wish to have the home valued by a qualified professional. This is especially important in the case of unique homes, where it is more difficult to find similar properties with which to compare the asking price. The starting cost of an appraisal is about $450. 

What Other Costs Will I Have Along With the Purchase Price?

Title Insurance
Your bank will require that you either get a guarantee that the property you are purchasing meets municipal requirements, or that you purchase insurance to protect against any non-compliance. It also protects against fraud and allows the cash to transfer almost immediately. We will arrange title insurance, which is a one-time premium, usually between $175-225.

Mortgage Insurance
If your down payment is less than 20%, your bank will require you to pay a one-time premium for mortgage insurance. This protects the bank in the event that you default. The premium is 1.0-2.9% of the loan, depending on the size of your down payment.

Home Insurance
Your bank will also require that you get home insurance, which will protect your investment against fire and other perils. Home insurance can be purchased from a number of companies, and rates vary by company and the state of the house.   

Land Title Charges
The Land Titles Office charges a fee to register both the transfer of land and the new mortgage. For a mortgage, the fee is $50.00 plus $1.50 for every $5,000 in value. Transfers of land cost $50.00 plus $2.00 for every $5,000 in value.

Life and Disability Insurance
Life and disability insurance protects your investment in the event that you can no longer make your mortgage payments because of disability or death. Your mortgage broker or bank will offer you this insurance.  The premium depends on gender and age.

Property Taxes
The current year’s taxes are split between the seller and you, based on the number of days each has possession of the house. Your lawyer will make sure that property taxes are adjusted between you and the seller. 

Utilities Accounts
You will need to arrange power, electricity, and water accounts, ideally before you move in to your house, in order to avoid hook-up costs. 

Repairs and Renovations
As a homeowner, you will be responsible for all home maintenance and emergencies.  It is a good idea to have some money set aside for these, and any upgrades suggested in the home inspection.

Realtor’s Commissions
The seller is responsible for paying all realtors’ commissions. GST is applicable to commissions. 

Do I Have to Pay GST?

If you are purchasing a used home, with a lot of 1.25 acres or less, there is no GST on the purchase.  

For larger lots, or mixed-use properties, you may be able to avoid paying GST.

New homes, regardless of lot size, are subject to GST. A GST rebate is available if the purchase price of the house is less than $450K. Where the purchase price is $350K or less, the rebate is 36% of the GST paid, up to a maximum of $6,300. A declining percentage is calculated for purchases between $350K and $450K. Sometimes, the builder will accept an assignment of the rebate, reducing the amount of cash you have to pay on the closing date.  
We will determine how GST applies to your purchase. 
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