Before you even think of getting a real estate lawyer, you will usually have signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (the “Offer”) through your real estate agent to purchase a “re-sale” house or condominium (the “Property”). The Offer will often have certain standard conditions (home inspection, financing, etc.) that must be satisfied or waived within 5 to 10 days after acceptance. If these conditions are satisfied or waived, the Offer becomes a “firm” deal. The lawyer’s job is to ensure that the transfer of the property from the seller to the buyer is properly completed on the closing date. This process is usually referred to as a “Closing”. [A “new build” purchase will also involve an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and if it is a condominium new build, there will be a disclosure statement and a ten-day rescission period during which time you should ask a lawyer to advise you so that you can negotiate better terms or back out of the deal should the terms not be acceptable.]
Instruct your real estate agent to send us a copy of the Offer, including all waivers, and the survey if available.
Follow-up on your conditions (i.e., home inspection, financing, etc.). If you are buying a condominium, follow-up on obtaining a Status Certificate and provide it to us for review and response before the expiry of the related condition.
Give your lender our contact information and sign all necessary mortgage documents. Let us know when you have signed up with your lender. Send us a copy of the commitment or the details of how much you are expecting and when we can expect to receive your lender’s mortgage instructions.
Follow-up on obtaining the survey of your Property, if available, and provide it to us as soon as possible.
As a rule of thumb, you can estimate your closing costs (land transfer tax, legals and related disbursements) to approximate 1.5% of your purchase price for a resale home/condominium and 2-3% of your purchase price for a new home/condominium. In Toronto, there is an additional land transfer tax - see Toronto Land Transfer Tax Calculator.
Send us your basic information: (a) the spelling of your name(s) as you wish it/them to appear on title (supported by at least two pieces of acceptable identification – usually a driver’s licence plus one of the following: passport, birth certificate, citizenship card or major credit card), and (b) marital status and your spouse’s name, if applicable.
If more than one person is taking title, there are two main ways of holding the property: Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common. When a couple is involved, title is usually taken as “Joint Tenants” which means that upon the death of one spouse the property passes more or less automatically to the surviving spouse. The other way of owning property is as “Tenants in Common”. You can specify the percentage ownership and, upon the death of one “tenant in common or co-tenant,” the property passes according to that co-tenant’s will (or pursuant to the laws of intestacy).
After the deal is firm, we will do a search of the Property and send the seller’s lawyer a “requisition letter.” In this letter, we will demand compliance with the terms and conditions of the Offer. We will also obtain title insurance coverage for you and the lender. (See “Title Insurance and What It Means to You”).
A “new build” condominium purchase will involve an “Occupancy Closing” prior to the “Final Transfer Date” during which you will pay “Occupancy Rent” via post-dated cheques. You should call the management office to book the elevator for your move-in date if the condominium unit is in a high-rise building. There may also be security deposits required for that elevator booking as well as for access cards and garage remotes. Keys will be available at the site office on the Occupancy Closing date.
About two to three weeks before the closing date, you should:
- call your insurance broker to arrange Home & Fire Insurance on your new Property to be effective on the closing date. (For condominiums, you should still arrange for your own Contents/Liability Insurance because this is not included in the Condominium’s Insurance Policy.) Advise your broker of the name and address of your lender. They will note the lender as “First Loss Payee” or “First Mortgagee” on your policy. Instruct your broker to fax or e-mail us the “Insurance Binder” confirming your coverage prior to the closing date; and
- call the utility companies that service your new Property (hydro, gas, water – see links to contact same) to advise them to read the meters on your closing date and provide them with your billing/contact information.
Prior to closing, we will call you to arrange a sign-up meeting. We will provide you with a draft funds summary advising of the monies you need to bring to complete the Closing. This sign-up meeting is usually held a day or two before the Closing. At this meeting, you will review and sign the closing documents. (Don’t forget to bring in the monies needed to complete the Closing) Funds need to be via a “certified cheque” or a “bank draft” payable to “Barry Reese in trust.” You must bring two acceptable pieces of identification with you to the sign-up meeting which should be the same ID you provided earlier by e-mail as we need to verify the originals. One of your ID should be a Canadian passport, Permanent Resident card or other proof of Canadian citizenship or residency (so that you can avoid having to pay the extra 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax).
Both resale and “new build” condominium purchases involve payment of monthly Common Expenses. Usually, you have the option of providing 12 post-dated monthly cheques or signing a Pre-Authorized Payment Plan (together with a void cheque).
First-time Home or Condominium Buyers are eligible for a refund of Ontario Land Transfer Tax up to $4,000. First-time Home or Condominium buyers are eligible for a refund on Toronto Land Transfer Tax of up to $4,475.00. We will advise you on how to qualify and apply for each as applicable. In order to qualify, you must be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident.
A New Home Purchase will involve a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) which you must arrange with the builder for the week before Closing. Be sure to carefully review the Tarion Warranty Corporation website (www.tarion.com) for all the rules and forms involved in enforcing your rights under the warranty. We will require a copy of the Tarion Warranty (Certificate of Completion and Possession) for our file. Keys will be available at the site office on the Closing.
If your Offer allows, you should have your agent arrange one final inspection of your new Property a day or two before Closing. If you notice any damage or removal of appliances/chattels that were supposed to be part of the purchase price, advise us immediately.
On Closing, we will exchange documents and funds with the seller’s lawyer and register the Transfer/Deed and Mortgage/Charge, if any. If all goes smoothly, the keys will be available at our office (usually between 2 and 5 pm) on the closing date.
Now that you own your new Property, you are responsible to pay the property taxes (as adjusted on Closing – see your Statement of Adjustments). Sometimes this means that the taxes have already been paid for the remainder of the year. Each case is different, so we will advise you accordingly at our sign-up meeting.
Don’t hesitate to ask us anything about your Closing at any time.