As I drove through Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge recently, I realized that during the past 30 years we've had a real estate deal in practically every single neighbourhood.
We've even seen multiple deals on some properties through the years.
I enjoy seeing our communities evolve, along with the various stages of our clients' needs.
It's also good to see real estate deals go smoothly, which means the legal documentation is done quickly and correctly and with as little stress for the purchaser and seller as possible.
As we approach the busiest real estate season of the year, I'd like to provide some helpful definitions and tips.
The term "conveyancing" is simply the transferring of the legal property title (ownership documents) from one owner to another. Conveyance services assist with the selling, purchasing, or refinancing of a property and also help to inform estate planning.
These services also ensure that the property title is accurate.
Your law firm can also help with your mortgage documents and property transfer tax questions. Your lawyer should ensure you understand what you're signing by explaining the details of your documentation with you.
Legal advice can only be provided by your lawyer and legal expertise is what you are paying for. Always ask questions, if you're not clear on what you're asked to sign.
Here are the tips we find help the most: 1. A signed contract of any nature is legally binding. A lawyer should review your sales contract before you sign it to avoid potential problems. Every deal is unique, and there is much at stake.
Asking your realtor to provide you with legal advice places both of you at risk.
2. Get a title review as one of the conditions (subject clauses). This will ensure that you are aware of the type of charges on your title. These could affect your use and enjoyment of the property.
3. Ask about your lender's requirements for title insurance. This requirement is becoming more common and will come at an additional cost.
4. Understand who is responsible for property tax payments. The party who is on title for the property as of July 1 is responsible for paying the property taxes. There may be a tax adjustment between parties if the seller has a prepayment tax plan with the municipality. This adjustment will be prepared by your lawyer.
5. If you are buying a strata, your realtor should obtain a Strata Form B. This document will provide you with an informative financial snapshot of the strata. Usually these are obtained through the realtor.
6. Your lender will require fire insurance for your property. If you are buying a strata unit, the fire insurance is carried by the strata corporation itself and your lawyer will get this information directly. If you are buying a single-family residence then you will have to arrange the fire insurance before the closing and advise your lawyer of particulars so required information can be requested.
It's an exciting time for your family, but it's also a time to take care with a legal matter that likely involves your largest personal asset.
John Becker has run his own law firm in Pitt Meadows for more than 30 years, focusing his practice on corporate commercial real estate and business succession planning. Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org