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Legal fees -
The fees for your lawyer's own services. Disbursements - expenses incurred by the lawyer as part of your sale or purchase - examples: land title fees, couriers, tax and title searches. GST is payable on the fees.
Property tax adjustments -
A portion of the year's property taxes which are credited to the Seller if the Seller has already paid them, or credited to the Buyer if the Buyer will be required to pay them. If you're obtaining a new mortgage, the mortgage company may wish to hold back funds for future taxes as well. If you're obtaining a new mortgage, the mortgage company may wish to hold back future taxes as well.
Transfer registration fees at the Land Titles Office -
The Land Titles Office charges fees to register documents transferring ownership of property from one person to another and another fee is charged for registering mortgage documents. They also charge fees for discharging encumbrances, such as mortgages, from title to the property.
The mortgage company will not advance funds until title is transferred into your name and the lender's mortgage is registered in the Land Titles Office. Because it takes time to register these documents at the Land Titles Office and to obtain the mortgage advance from the Lender, the sale price may not be paid to the Seller until after the possession date. Until then, you will be unable to pay the Seller the full purchase price and will probably have to pay interest on the unpaid amount. In Edmonton this rate is usually Alberta Treasury Branch Prime plus three (3.0%) percent.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) -
There is a GST cost to the Buyer on the purchase of most new housing, although the Buyer will get a partial rebate in most cases. Most purchases of used housing will not require you to pay any GST. The Seller will give your lawyer a written statement that no GST is payable.
Appraisal and inspection fees (if obtained) -
A real property report or in the alternative Title Insurance.
Taking the guesswork out of buying your home -
Buying a home may be the largest investment of your life! Often, many years of planning and saving have been required. It makes sense to hire an expert to protect this investment - just as you use an expert to repair your car, to educate your children, and to take care of your health. Your lawyer knows about problems in the real estate business, and can protect you from them if you ask for advice early enough.
If you are obtaining a new mortgage there are costs associated with it.
Call our office to discuss these costs.
1. Ensures the real estate contract is in order. Examines title to the property ensuring all necessary legal documents are submitted to Land Titles so that the property will be correctly conveyed to you.
2. Ensures that the adjustments are properly computed and that the purchase funds have been properly disbursed.
3. Ensures your property complies with required municipal compliance.
4. Ensures that you have obtained a valid registered ownership to the property you purchase.
Buying a home may be the largest investment of your life! often, many years of planning and saving have been required. It makes sense to hire an expert to protect this investment - just as you use an expert to repair your car, to educate your children, and to take care of your health.
Your lawyer knows about problems in the real estate business, and can protect you from them if you ask for advice early enough.
If a property is listed on the multiple listing service, what normally happens is that a Buyer finds out about the home through a real estate agent (called a "selling agent"). Although the selling agent may assist you in finding a home, any commission the agent receives is paid by the seller.
When you find a home you want to buy, your offer is put into writing on a printed form called a 'Real Estate Purchase Contract'. The real estate agent will have blank copies of this form, and will usually fill in the form for you.
The Real Estate agent will also advise you about steps to take to protect yourself before signing the contract - examples are putting 'conditions' in the contract for financing approval and satisfactory inspection.
Take care to make sure that the offer states exactly what you want to buy, and how much you propose to pay for it. Once an offer has been prepared, signed by you, and accepted by the Seller, that offer becomes a binding contract.
1. Save any advertisements and get a copy of the photographic listing, if there is one, in case there is a dispute about what you thought you were buying.
There are other costs besides the actual purchase price involved in buying a home. Your lawyer or Real Estate Agent can help you to understand the other costs involved. The following is the suggested check-list of cost items that you should discuss with your lawyer during the first interview:
1. Legal fees - The fees for your lawyer's own services, which may also include a component for out-of-pocket expenses or disbursements.
2. Property tax adjustments - A portion of the year's property taxes which are credited to the Seller if the Seller has already paid them, or credited to the Buyer if the Buyer will be required to pay them. If you're obtaining a new mortgage, the mortgage company may wish to hold back future taxes as well.
3. Transfer registration fees at the Land Titles Office. The Land Titles Office charges fees to register documents transferring ownership of property from one person to another. An additional fee is charged for registering mortgage documents.
4. Insurance for fire and other hazards.
5. Opening of utilities account.
6. Goods and Services Tax (GST). There is a GST cost to the Buyer on the purchase of most new housing, although the Buyer will get a partial rebate if the purchase price is less than $450,000. Most purchases of used housing will not require you to pay any GST. The Seller should give you a written statement that no GST is payable. There is also GST payable on your lawyer's fees and disbursements and surveyor's charges. Currently, there is no GST on the Land Titles registration charge.
7. Appraisal and inspection fees (if obtained).
Any time a new mortgage is obtained in real estate there are costs associated with it. Your lawyer can advise you about these costs.
With the rising costs of single family dwellings, more and more new home buyers are being attracted to condominiums. In addition to the check-list of costs, the following is a suggested check-list concerning condominium ownership that you might want to discuss with your lawyer or Real Estate Agent:
1. Condominium units and common property.
2. Owners' rights and responsibilities regarding property.
3. Group government and restrictions under any by-laws of the Condominium Corporation.
4. Condominium maintenance fees and services.
From this brief summary of potential problems you can see the complicated legal details that the purchase of property involves. For this reason, you need the assistance of a lawyer. Your lawyer will do whichever of the following tasks are necessary to ensure you a trouble-free purchase:
1. Ensure that the contract fully reflects your understanding of the agreement before your lawyer approves of your signing it.
2. Examine the title to the property and ensure that the necessary legal documents ai c properly prepared and registered so that the property will be correctly conveyed to you.
3. Ensure that you understand clearly the terms of any mortgage or other financing arrangements for which you are accepting responsibility.
4. Ensure that the adjustments are properly computed and that the purchase monies have been properly disbursed.
5. Certify to you that you have obtained a valid registered ownership to the property you purchase.
6. Help you understand the full costs of home purchasing.
7. Help you understand the tax (principal residence provisions) advantages of a home investment.
In summary, your lawyer's role is to help you get what you bargain for, at the price you agree to pay, and on the terms you understand.
If you are purchasing a new [to be built] home or condominium, have your lawyer review the Real Estate Purchase Contract before you sign the Real Estate Purchase Contract.
Make the Real Estate Purchase Contract 'subject to' financing/mortgage approval (even if the proposed mortgage is within the limits of your 'pre-approved mortgage');
If possible set the Closing/Possession Date on a business day (i.e. not on a Saturday or holiday when banks, Land Titles and lawyer's offices are closed);
Ensure the Real Estate Purchase Contract specifically states which items are included/excluded from the purchase (eg appliances, ceiling fans, central vac and attachments, chandeliers/light fixtures, garden sheds, garage door openers and controls, etc.). If in doubt put it in writing in the Real Estate Contract;
Carefully inspect or have a professional inspect the property before you sign the Real Estate Purchase Contract (or make the Real Estate Purchase Contract conditional on obtaining a satisfactory inspection report). Remember 'Buyer Beware' and 'Purchase As Is' apply;
Buying a Condominium? We Recommend (in addition to the above):
Review the condominium financial statements (available from seller or real estate agent) before you sign the Real Estate Purchase Contract (i.e. to determine if the condominium project is financially sound and not subject to large condominium fee increases in the future);
Inspect the entire condominium project (and not just the unit you are purchasing) to determine if any major repairs are required (eg. repaving of parking lot, replacement of shingles, etc.). If major work is required your future condominium fees may have to be increased to pay for the work;
Review the condominium bylaws (available from seller or real estate agent) before signing the Real Estate Purchase Contract (eg. are pets allowed?).
Before listing your home for sale, check with your mortgage company to determine amount of mortgage prepayment penalty if any;
If selling and buying another home at same time determine if your bank will provide 'interim financing' commonly called 'bridge financing' and determine the cost of the interim financing;
If the Purchaser will be assuming your mortgage, check with your lawyer to determine if you will be held accountable for payments by the mortgage company if the purchaser does not make the mortgage payments; Also, contact your mortgage company to confirm that your mortgage is assumable;
Always ensure the Real Estate Purchase Contact specifically includes what items are included, excluded from the sale (eg. appliances, ceiling fans, light fixtures, central vac and attachments). If in doubt put it in writing in the Real Estate Purchase Contract;
Always have appropriate documents (eg. For house: Real Property report/Compliance Certificate, property tax notice and receipt, assignable warranties, etc.; for condominium; condominium financial statement, current condominium budget, by-laws) available for review by prospective purchasers. These documents can be positive selling features and can prevent delays in getting a Real Estate Purchase Contract signed and the sale completed.
Note: do not give the original Real Property Report to the purchaser, your lawyer will need it.
If you have any questions or comments relating to the purchase or sale of real estate please call before you sign any documents. It is difficult, and in most cases impossible or very costly, to correct mistakes or problems after documents have been signed. Your telephone enquiries will be answered without charge or obligation.
Call 780-460-0052 ext. 102 or toll-free 1-888-459-3508 to speak with Lee today.