Real Estate

We can help you buy or sell real estate, whether it is residential, commercial, or undeveloped land.

Although it is not uncommon for clients to wait until after they have signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale to look for a lawyer, we suggest that you see us before you sign anything. An Agreement of Purchase and Sale is not just a formality - it is the contract which will govern your obligations to and entitlements from the other person.

The standard clauses in an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, which many people skip over or only glance at, contain important provisions which you should understand before you agree to have them apply to you by signing the form. You will likely be bound by these clauses whether you have read them or not.

We can also help you to ensure that you have included the right conditions and guarantees or warrantees in your Offer (or in your Counter-Offer) prior to Acceptance so that there is no confusion about exactly what you have been promised, or what you have agreed to pay or to do. Confusion at this stage can lead to expensive litigation later.

Once you have made an offer, and it has been accepted, (or once you have accepted an offer which was made to you) we will do several things, all of which are designed to make sure that you are getting exactly what your agreement provides you should be getting.

If you are buying property we will do the following searches:

Title search - we will search land registry or land titles records to make sure that the person who has agreed to sell you the land actually owns it. This search will also reveal any mortgages or other debts which have been secured against the property, so that you will not unknowingly be accepting responsibility for repaying someone else's debt.

Sheriff's Search - we will check records at the Sheriff's office to determine whether any judgments from the courts (from lawsuits against former owners of the land) are attached to the land - these judgments go with the land- if you buy the land while the judgment is attached to it you also buy the debt.

Municipal Compliance Searches - we will check with the appropriate municipality to verify that no back taxes are owing when you buy the property (otherwise you will have bought that debt too), and that the buildings and structures on the property comply with the applicable by-laws or are not required to be in compliance, to be sure that the zoning of the property will permit your intended use of the land, and to ensure that there are no outstanding work orders (which you would also be buying).


If you are selling property

Although we will not have to do the same searches as we would if you were buying property, we do have to be prepared to answer any questions the purchaser's lawyer might put to us, and those questions will likely be based on the results of their searches.

Prepare draft Deed - when we act for the vendor we prepare the draft Deed/Transfer of land for approval by the purchaser's lawyer.

Discharge Existing Mortgages - unless the purchaser is assuming existing mortgages, we will be required to obtain and register a valid discharge of any existing mortgages or liens. Institutional lenders like banks and trust companies will not provide the required documentation until they are paid, so these documents are normally prepared and registered after the deal has closed. Private lenders will be required to provide documentation for registration immediately upon closing.


Developing land presents additional challenges

Whether you are creating a whole new subdivision or just want to build on vacant land there will be additional legal requirements such as:

- Construction Mortgage Advances
- Construction Liens (placing, perfecting or removing)
- Holdbacks - Survey and Plan of Subdivision requirements
- Applications for minor variances
- Restrictive Covenants
- Easements and Rights of Way
- Selling to builders and individuals who intend to build

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Page updated 30 September 2015