Wardell Gillis provides services in all aspect of real estate law including purchases, sales, lease agreements, refinancing or mortgaging, subdivision of property, condominium development, easements, liens, interest registrations and more. Below is general information about common real estate transactions. Please contact our office for more information or to see how we can help with your real estate needs.
Buying a Home
If you are buying a home and have a Realtor we may not see the purchase agreement until all conditions are removed, such as approval of financing. There are times, however, that you may wish to have a lawyer review documentation prior to finalizing the contract. This may include a review of condominium documents, lease agreements or anything else you might be questioning before you finalize the purchase. If you do not have a Realtor, we can help you prepare an Offer to Purchase or a Purchase and Sale Agreement. We will take care of the legal and financial documentation to purchase the property, have the title transferred to your name, register the mortgage, and requisition and deliver the funds from the bank to the solicitor for the seller. We will make sure your purchase transaction is as stress free as possible so you can focus on the move and on enjoying your new home.
Prior to your attendance at our office, we will review all documentation, including the purchase agreement and mortgage instructions. We will search and review the title and any registered interests. Some common interests are utility easements and the vendor’s current mortgage, which will be discharged after it is paid out with the sale proceeds. We do a judgment search to ensure there are no underlying issues with creditors of the vendor. A property tax search is done to ensure taxes are up to date and to help us calculate the appropriate tax adjustment based on the annual taxes and the date of possession. We will also prepare the mortgage and related documentation required by the lender. In most cases, the lender will require a Surveyor’s Certificate or Real Property Report. It is important that you discuss with the seller whether there is a Survey available; if so it may be included with the sale and should be noted in the contract. If a Survey is not available or if it is too old and does not satisfy the bank’s requirements, you can purchase Title Insurance in lieu of the Survey. To find out more about title insurance visit www.fct.ca. The cost for lender coverage is typically $149-$179. If you prefer to obtain a new Survey of the property it is likely you will be responsible for that cost and it will have to be ordered well in advance of the possession date as it may take up to a month to obtain. You will have to arrange for home insurance and we will require the broker information to obtain confirmation for the bank. The insurer will likely need information from the purchase agreement as well as your mortgage lender.
Closing a purchase transaction can sometimes be more costly than you first anticipate. REQUEST AN ESTIMATE so you know the legal fees to prepare for. The legal account includes lawyer fees and all disbursements (direct costs) for registration of the land transfer, registration of the mortgage, tax search/certificates, title searches, title insurance if required, etc. Prior to your visit we will also prepare a Statement of Adjustments which will outline all costs required to close your transaction. The Statement typically accounts for the tax adjustment (the purchaser is often responsible for the taxes from the date of possession). This means the cash amount you will require may include a tax reimbursement if the sellers have paid the taxes in full. Alternatively, you may be credited if no portion of taxes have been paid. We ensure you understand the arrangement and we will have forms for you to set up pre-authorized tax payments, should you choose. If you are purchasing a condo unit, an adjustment will be included for your portion of the condo fees for the month. Our statement will include all adjustments under the agreement and the legal fees and disbursements. You will be required to bring in a bank draft or certified cheque for the cash portion, if any, that is required on top of the mortgage financing to close the transaction. GST is typically exempt for used residential housing. For all other transactions it is important to review and clarify the terms of the sale and whether GST is included or not. Often with new housing, the builder will include GST and have you sign a rebate form and any GST refund would then go back to the builder. For farmland and commercial transactions, each circumstance will have to be reviewed carefully in regards to taxes. You may want to discuss the circumstances and options with your accountant. We can also consult an accountant on behalf should you choose.
Selling a Home
As with a purchase transaction, we can handle your sale transaction whether or not you have a Realtor. If you do not have a Realtor it is a good idea to have us prepare or review the Offer to Purchaser or Purchase and Sale Agreement. We will review the agreement, search and review the title and registered interests to determine the interests that need to be paid out and discharged. We will do a Judgment search to ensure no underlying creditors have a claim against the property. We will complete a property tax search to determine the tax status and make the appropriate tax adjustment. The purchaser will be responsible for taxes commencing the date of possession. If taxes have been paid for the year, the seller will get credit for the purchaser’s portion through the solicitors. Alternatively, if taxes are not paid the Purchaser will get credit for the seller’s share. If taxes are in arrears, we will be required to pay those arrears with the sale proceeds. If you have Surveyor’s Certificate or Real Property Report please bring that into the office so we can deliver it to the Purchaser; this also should be outlined in the agreement.
Sale proceeds are not always available to you on the date of possession. Through the purchase and sale transaction, the purchaser must register the title and mortgage, request the mortgage proceeds, and deliver them to us all within days of the possession date. The associated timing has many variables which are secured under the standard Law Society Trust Conditions and are dependent upon the purchaser’s firm. Variables include when the purchaser’s lawyer is in a position to register the mortgage, the financing company, the registration time of ISC (Information Services Corporation, Saskatchewan land titles office), etc. If you are using sale proceeds for a purchase that closes the same day or within days, it is a good idea to arrange interim or bridge financing with your financial institution.
You can expect deductions from the sale proceeds. Typically this includes a mortgage payout, realtor’s commissions (if applicable), legal costs and payment of any taxes or tax arrears. REQUST AN ESTIMATE for legal fees here.
If you are a builder, there are a number of things a purchaser will require in order to obtain mortgage financing. Please talk to us about standard requirements, forms and options you may need to consider, including ensuring the home is enrolled under a new home warranty program.
If you are mortgaging a property for the first time, refinancing, or consolidating debt through a new mortgage, we have the experience to work with the banks to close your transaction smoothly and efficiently. The requirements of a mortgage depend on the individual instructions from the financial institution. Be sure to provide our contact information to your lender. Upon receipt of the mortgage instructions, we will complete the necessary searches, request payout statements for any current mortgage or debts to be paid out, and prepare the mortgage and related documents for signing. Even if you have had a mortgage before, you will likely require a Surveyor’s Certificate or Real Property Report. If one is not available, title insurance will need to be obtained at an estimated cost of $149-$179. For more information about title insurance you may visit www.fct.ca. We will need to do a tax search to ensure taxes are paid up to date and we may need to order a Certificate for the lender. You will need to arrange fire insurance to cover the mortgage, and we will require a confirmation letter or binder letter from the broker.
We can provide you with an estimate for fees and costs related to your transaction. Get your REFINANCE LEGAL FEE ESTIMATE here.
If you are thinking of subdividing property you may already be working with a Surveyor to obtain a Transform Approval Certificate or you may be just beginning to determine your options. Contact us to discuss your needs and we can assist you with the process of subdividing your property.
A condominium development is a big venture. We have dealt with registration and sales of condominium development for decades and have the knowledge and experience to deal with the registration process and the statutory requirements under The Condominium Property Act and The Land Titles Act. Wardell Gillis can provide you with all legal and land titles services related to the condominium project from the set up and registration of the condominium through to the sale of the individual units. Please contact our office for more information.