Real Estate

Whether buying a home or cottage, or negotiating the purchase or sale of a commercial property, our real estate practice is cost efficient and focuses on protecting clients’ interests leading up to, and beyond, the closing date of the transaction, no matter the complexity or the issues involved.

For most of us, our homes are the most significant and valuable assets we own. As such, when entering into the sale or purchase of property, it is wise to seek the guidance of an experienced real estate lawyer who will have your best interests in mind. It is best to involve a trusted lawyer as early in the process as possible. You are best protected and best informed if your lawyer assists in the drafting of your agreement, rather than simply reviewing an offer after it has already been accepted. Don’t hesitate to contact us sooner rather than later.

Real Estate Legal Services include:

Selling Your Home

  • Review of Agreement of Purchase & Sale
  • Amendment of Agreement of Purchase & Sale, if required
  • Preparation of legal documentation
  • Discharge of mortgage

Buying Your Home

  • Review of Agreement of Purchase & Sale
  • Amendment of Agreement of Purchase & Sale, if required
  • Preparation of legal documentation
  • Preparation of Mortgage documents
  • Arranging Title Insurance
  • Review of Condominium Status Certificate

Refinancing Your Home

  • Review of lender's instructions
  • Preparation of legal documentation
  • Discharge of existing mortgage
  • Arranging Title Insurance Policy

And any other related matter concerning Real Estate Law in Ontario.

Q & A

What is the Purchase and Sale Agreement?

The purchase and sale agreement is central to the transfer of a property. You could use a bare-bones standardized form, but this almost always leaves a lot to be desired and too much room for ambiguity. You will most certainly want to have a trusted, experienced real estate lawyer review the agreement, and amend it so that it best represents your interests as the buyer or seller. Your agreement should be as clear and specific as possible with regard to terms and conditions, pricing, timelines, and any special arrangements you may have agreed to or find important.

But it doesn’t end with one simple document. The purchase and sale of real estate is, at its core, a complex negotiation. Through the process, from informal agreement to formal written contract, there will be a great deal of push and pull, and it can take time, energy, discussion and likely some compromise to satisfy all parties before the transaction is complete and the property is transferred. Having the guidance of a real estate lawyer throughout the process can alleviate stress and ensure that your interests are protected.

What is involved in a Real Estate Transaction?

While every transaction is different and issues undoubtedly vary depending on the property, the parties and the terms of the transaction, generally a real estate transaction includes preparing and reviewing closing documents which consist of signing documents, some of which include:

  • Acknowledgment and Direction Transfer / Title Deed
  • Acknowledgment and Direction Charge / Mortgage
  • Purchasers closing documents
  • Sellers closing documents
  • Title Insurance Policy
  • Applicable Declarations
  • Warranty / Bill of Sale / HST
  • Tax Certificates
  • HST Rebates
  • Acknowledgement of Reports
  • Mortgages, Registration and Discharge
  • Various Directions

And many more, as is required.

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is a form of insurance that serves to protect the property owner against unforeseen, potentially expensive problems related to the property’s title. “Title” in this instance simply refers to the true ownership of property. Property ownership can carry with it enough stress, but the fear of some unforeseen title expense can really make it a terrifying prospect. Title insurance can help assuage those fears as you become a property owner.

Title insurance is not actually a legal requirement in Ontario, so the decision is one you should discuss with a lawyer you trust. The benefits of coverage, especially when weighed against the cost of title insurance, usually make it an appealing option. In some cases, you may be required by a bank or lender to purchase title insurance if you are using a mortgage to finance the sale.

What Does Title Insurance Cover?

Title insurance can be purchased for both residential and commercial properties, but for residential properties, there are two types of title insurance: Owner’s Policies and Lender’s Policies. An owner’s policy (as the name implies) covers the home owner for as long as you own the property, and is priced based on the value of the property itself. A Lender’s Policy will protect the lender for the duration of your mortgage, and is priced based on the value of the mortgage.

Title Insurance covers a fairly extensive list of risks, including:

  • Existing liens against the property
  • Fraud
  • Surveying errors
  • Errors in public record
  • Property tax arrears
  • Other title-related issues that can prevent sale, rental, or mortgage of the property

What is Not Covered by Title Insurance?

It is important to note that title insurance will not cover every possible problem that you may encounter. It is not a home warranty, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Issues such as damages, disrepair, and theft won’t be covered. It also will not cover any additions or renovations you happen to add to the home. You may also encounter:

  • Native land claims
  • Environmental issues
  • Problems discovered in a new survey of the property
  • Zoning violations

Even though title insurance isn’t a catch-all solution, most real estate lawyers consider it more than worth the cost of purchase, as the coverage is still very broad and can prevent very expensive issues that may arise in the ownership of property.

What to expect on closing day?

In Ontario real estate closing transactions are traditionally done by exchanging closing documents, funds and key(s) between the buyer's lawyer and the seller's lawyer. This is the final stage in the transaction.

Contact us to discuss your case and obtain personalized legal advice relevant to you.

The general information on this page is not applicable to any specific case and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice and may not be relied on as such. Readers are expressly advised to consult with a qualified lawyer for advice regarding their specific circumstances and entitlements under Ontario law.