ROLE OF THE LAWYER
IN THE HOME PURCHASE PROCESS
What is the lawyer’s role in a purchase transaction? Your lawyer is part of a team of professionals who specialize in helping you acquire your new home. The lawyer will work with your realtor, home inspector, insurance agent, and mortgage specialist in order to ensure that your transaction closes as smoothly as possible and in a timely fashion. Typically, you will meet with your lawyer 7 - 14 days before the final possession date. Your lawyer will review with you a variety of items related to your new home:
Real Estate Purchase Contract
- What Chattels are included in the purchase price (ie appliances, window coverings) ?
- Are there any warranties to be assigned?
- Confirmation that all conditions have been satisfied and removed - ie. an offer subject to financing and building inspection.
Certified Copy of Title
- Records of land ownership in Alberta are registered at the Alberta Land Titles Office. The lawyer arranges for the Title to be transferred from the seller to the buyer by the possession date.
- All financial and non-financial encumbrances reviewed - ie mortgages, restrictive covenants, utility rights of way, party wall agreements.
- The buyers new mortgage will be registered against the Copy of Title.
Real Property Report (Land Survey) and Compliance
- For the purchase of a house (as opposed to a condominium) sellers are generally responsible to provide buyers with a Real Property Report with evidence of municipal compliance. This means that the property must comply with all land use by-laws, all improvements (all items built on the property including garages, decks, fences, sheds) have the necessary permits and are within the property boundaries.
- You will execute final mortgage papers with your lawyer and your lawyer will confirm that you understand the main terms and conditions of your mortgage.
- You will also have to provide your lawyer with the Cash to Close (short fall). Generally, this is the Purchase Price less the deposit already paid and the mortgage proceeds. Your lawyer will work to forward the Cash to Close and the mortgage financing to the seller’s lawyer by the possession date.
- There will be an adjustment between the parties regarding taxes. Your lawyer will confirm that the seller has paid his/her fair share of taxes on the property.
- Your lawyer will need to confirm that you have arranged for insurance on your new residence.
- You will need to make arrangements to have all utilities (power, water, gas, cable, telephone, internet) in place by your possession date.
Possession and Keys
- Once the Title has been transferred to the buyer and the new mortgage has been registered, your lawyer will forward all funds to the seller’s lawyer and you will get the keys directly from your realtor.
* Please note the foregoing is not an exhaustive list and additional items may arise depending on the nature of your transaction.