Beffa Law appreciates that the purchase or sale of a home is often the largest financial transaction an individual will ever make. With years of experience and expertise in real estate conveyancing, our Oakville real estate lawyers will address all your questions along the way with insight and consideration.
Why Work With Us?
When you choose to work with us, we will be your number one resource. Our real estate lawyers will help relieve the stress of buying or selling a home by handling every step in this process from start-to-finish including reviewing contracts and agreements along with preparing all documentation related to mortgage financing options so that there are no surprises on the closing day!
At Beffa Law, we understand the significance of every real estate transaction. We approach every deal with experience, innovation and practicality to meet the fast-moving real estate markets. Whether you’re buying, selling or refinancing your home, Beffa Law will simplify and streamline the process for you and work for you all around Oakville.
Our Oakville real estate lawyers will keep you up-to-date and well-informed on the status of your file and any important developments during your real estate transaction. We understand the local real estate market, and know what to look for—so that you don’t have to.
We understand that you may have many things going on during the purchase or sale of your home, and we offer “after hours” appointments on the phone, in person or via Zoom video meeting.
Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT ARE THE STEPS OF A REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION?
A real estate transaction usually takes at least a few weeks to a few months to be finalized. It is a long, complicated, and expensive process that involves many steps where multiple individuals work together to ultimately transfer the home from the seller to the buyer. Here are some of the steps that you will face during a real estate transaction:
- Obtain a pre-approval on a mortgage. A pre-approval will help determine the cost of the home that you will be able to afford and identify the size of the loan your lender will offer you to finance your home.
- Hire a Real Estate Agent who will help you find the right home.
- Make an offer on the home and place a deposit.
- Retain a real estate lawyer who will conduct a title search for the property to ensure there are no deficiencies, liens, or other issues with the property. The seller and buyer need to have separate lawyers.
- You may conduct an inspection of the home with the help of a home inspector to identify any physical problems of the home.
- Conduct a final walkthrough of the property to ensure that all conditions have been met and that no new issues have developed since you first saw the property.
- Obtain your mortgage to finance the property.
- Have the lawyer review and prepare the closing documents.
- Deposit mortgage funds into your lawyer’s account. On the closing date, the seller’s lawyer will receive these funds from the purchase’s lawyer who will in turn provide the keys for the new home.
- Move into and enjoy your new home!
DO I NEED A LAWYER TO BUY AND SELL REAL ESTATE?
In Ontario, it is mandatory to hire a lawyer for a real estate deal as only lawyers have the authority to register land title deeds. Without a lawyer, the property’s title from the seller will not be transferred to the buyer. An experienced real estate lawyer will also help you spot any issues that may affect your property and rectify them for you.
The law requires the buyer and seller to have separate lawyers to help with their side of the real estate transaction.
WHAT CONDITIONS SHOULD I PUT IN MY OFFER OF PURCHASE?
Purchasing your home can be an exciting moment. You may want to close the deal quickly and move into your new home as soon as possible. However, it is important to take your time to carefully review the conditions in your agreement of purchase and sale prior to signing to ensure that you are satisfied with your purchase. Here are some conditions that you should include in your offer of purchase and sale to ensure you do not face any challenges in case the deal goes south.
- Financing term. If you require a mortgage to purchase the home, you should always make the deal conditional on you being approved for financing and even obtaining your mortgage.
- Home Inspection. This condition will allow you to conduct a thorough home inspection with a home inspector and identify any defects in the home. It will allow you to walk away from the deal in case you find some serious issues.
- Fixtures/Appliances. To ensure that the home will be sold with any of the appliances or fixtures, it is essential to list them in the agreement. Otherwise, the sellers will the right to remove them and take them to their new property.
- Sale of Current Home. You may make the purchase of your new home conditional on the sale of your existing home. This will allow you to break the contract in the event you fail to sell your home.
- A deposit can be made conditional upon other events you decide fit your situation. If those events do not occur, you will be able to return your deposit. Otherwise, you may lose the deposit and may even be ordered to pay additional costs.
DO I NEED A HOME INSPECTION?
Although a home inspection is not required, and may sometimes be waived, it is recommended that you hire a home inspector before you purchase your home. A home inspection will help you identify any deficiencies in the home as sometimes sellers conceal the extent of damage that may exist in the home.
A home inspection is inexpensive and will save you money in the long run. You may also be able to negotiate the price of the home down to cover the costs of the damages or repairs.
WHAT IS LAND TRANSFER TAX?
Land transfer tax is a mandatory fee that is paid when you purchase a home in Ontario. The tax is determined based on the price you pay for the property. As of 2017, the tax is calculated like so:
- Amount up to $55,000 at 0.5%;
- Amount from $55,000 to $250,000 at 1.0%;
- Amount from $250,000 to $400,000 at 1.5%;
- Amount over $400,000 at 2.0%;
- Any amount over $2,000,000 at 2.5%.
DO I QUALIFY FOR A LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE?
If you are a first-time home buyer in Ontario, you can qualify for a Land Transfer Tax Rebate. You should be aware that the maximum rebate amount is $4000 even if the total land transfer tax is more than this amount. The rebate is also applied to the property once, even if two individuals who are first-time home buyers are purchasing the home together.
WHAT IS TITLE INSURANCE?
When purchasing a home you may sometimes need to, or choose to obtain title insurance. The term title indicates your legal ownership of the property and title insurance protects this status in the case there is a defect with the title. Although rare, the deed to the property may be fraudulent or incorrect which would raise concerns about your ownership of the property.
Title insurance, however, should not be confused with home insurance which provides coverage for your physical home and its contents.
WHAT ARE THE HIDDEN COSTS OF BUYING A HOME?
Although some costs of purchasing a home are obvious, there are additional hidden costs that you should be aware of prior to making your purchase so you are not blindsided. Here are some examples of extra costs of buying a home:
- Initial deposit
- Home inspector fee
- Appraisal costs
- Mortgage insurance
- Property survey
- Title insurance
- Land transfer tax
- Title registration fee
- Real estate agent’s commission
- Lawyer’s fees
- Moving expenses
DOES MY SPOUSE NEED TO CONSENT TO THE SALE OF MY PROPERTY?
In Ontario, if you are selling a property in which both you and your married spouse reside, you will be required to obtain your spouse’s consent to be able to sell the home. This requirement stands regardless of whether or not your spouse’s name is on the title to the property. A real estate lawyer will not be able to close the transaction without first obtaining consent. This requirement does not apply to common-law partners.
I CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT PURCHASING A HOUSE. CAN I CANCEL MY REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION?
In Ontario, an agreement of purchase and sale is a contract that will legally bind both parties to the contract. It is enforceable in law and parties cannot usually break the contract without facing consequences. If either the buyer or the seller fails to close the transaction, they may be liable to pay compensation and extra fees to the other party.
Although some buyers and sellers are willing to renegotiate the deal or forgive the deposits, this is an uncommon practice. In fact, the opposite generally occurs, and one party chooses to sue the other for their losses. For example, if a buyer backs out of the deal, not only will the seller be able to retain the deposits, but the seller may also sue them for the difference if they sold the home for a lower price.
On the other hand, if a seller cancels the deal, the seller may be liable to the buyer for any damages resulting from the failed transaction. Such costs can be paying the buyer’s appraisal fees and commission, and the seller may even be liable to pay the price difference if the buyer buys another home for a higher price. The court may also force the sale of the property through a remedy called specific performance.
Overall, if you are unsure about your ability to follow through with the real estate transaction, it is best not to sign the agreement of purchase and sale as backing out of the transaction may be extremely expensive.
Additional Real Estate Services
- Review of Agreement of Purchase and Sale
- Assignment of property
- Survivorship applications