Buying a Home

Our legal team has a well-deserved reputation of excellence in providing smart, sensible, and cost-effective legal solutions for our clients for 30 years.

Agreement of purchase and sale

The agreement of purchase and sale with respect to real estate is a contract. It must be made in writing in order to comply with the Statute of Frauds. It brings with it all the obligations, responsibilities, and procedures of contract law. The elements of a binding contract are offer, acceptance, exchange of consideration, and the meeting of the minds.

Our lawyers will always keep in mind that most of the problems that can arise in the course of real estate transactions are dealt with in the agreement, which spells out all of the rights and obligations of the parties to the transaction.

Title Searches & Due Dilligence

Once we have a copy of our agreement of purchase and sale, we get started doing our due diligence searches of title to make sure that you will obtain valid title to the property.  The cost of these searches are determined by the Ontario government and any municipality, as applicable and varies from transaction to transaction.  We do these searches so that you wont be caught off guard by any surprises with your purchase.

Title insurance

Home purchasers have two choices for assuring title:

1) a lawyer’s opinion on title or 2) title insurance.

What is title insurance? Title Insurance protects your ownership interest of your property from losses incurred as a result of unknown title defects or other covered matters that exist at the time of your purchase but are unknown to you at that time. Title insurance allows purchasers and lenders to “insure over” selected problems, rather than insisting on a repair of the problem. It may reduce the legal bill of the purchaser or mortgagor, since certain searches may be waived by the title insurer.

While title insurance is technically optional, few proceed without it, because without title insurance, a number of additional costly searches must be done and these cost almost as much as the title insurance. In addition, title insurance provides coverages not available without title insurance. Without title insurance, you would still be covered by our and omissions insurance, but only for matters which arise due to negligence. Many risks not caused by negligence are covered by title insurance, such as the existence of work orders, lack of building permits, zoning infractions and title fraud risks.

In most instances, if you are financing your purchase with a mortgage, title insurance will be a mandatory requirement.

Multiple buyers and co-ownership: Joint Tenancy Versus Tenancy in Common

Where two or more individuals together buy or inherit a home or other real property, depending on the nature of the individuals’ relationship, various issues may arise.

Assuming two buyers both of whom want to be registered as owners, before closing they will have to decide whether to register ownership as “joint tenants” or as “tenants in common.”

“Joint tenancy” will be used where the buyers desire that if one of them should die, the survivor is to become the sole owner by right of survivorship. Joint tenancy is commonly used by spouses for their matrimonial home as a simple form of estate planning.

“Tenancy in common” is typical in other situations, for example, where unmarried buyers will share use of the home and its facilities, where business partners are buying for investment purposes, and where a cottage property is inherited by children of a deceased owner. Tenants in common each own a percentage of the registered title. For example, three tenants in common may respectively buy interests of 40%, 40%, and 20%. If an owner dies, his or her percentage ownership interest becomes an asset of that owner’s estate.

Land Transfer Tax

When you buy land or an interest in land in Ontario, you pay Ontario’s land transfer tax. Land includes any buildings, buildings to be constructed, and fixtures. The amount of land transfer tax varies and depends upon the purchase price of the home and what municipality it is situated in.

Land transfer tax applies to all conveyance of land in Ontario.

Home Inspection

It is a very good idea to arrange for a home inspection, especially when the home is quite old. If you are interested, your agent can insert a special condition into the offer to allow you to obtain an inspection and be satisfied with the result before the deal goes further.

In Real Estate, the basic principle is “caveat emptor”, which means “let the buyer beware”. Unless the vendor has actually tried to cover something up, he or she does not have any legal duty to point out problems to you.

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With over 30 years of experience, our firm is leading the way with knowledgeable lawyers in Real Estate Law, Wills & Estates and Business Law.With ever changing laws you need someone dependable on your side who knows how to navigate the legal system and obtain the results you desire.