We act for lenders, sellers and buyers in residential and commercial real estate transactions. We provide advice and practical solutions in preparing and reviewing purchase contracts, reviewing condominium bylaws and related condominium documents, conveyancing, mortgages, bridge financing, new home construction and closing adjustments.
FREQUENTLY ASKED REAL ESTATE QUESTIONS
1. When should I retain a lawyer?
We recommend retaining a lawyer as early as possible in the real estate transaction. Retaining a lawyer before you sign the real estate contract will ensure that you have legal advice before you make a major commitment and we can make any necessary amendments to the contract to protect your interests. If you have already signed the contract, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can work proactively with the other party to ensure that the transaction proceeds smoothly and closes on time. At a minimum, you will need to meet with us 7 days in advance of closing.
2. What are your real estate legal fees?
Legal fees for a real estate transaction are comprised of the lawyer’s fee plus disbursements. Disbursements are the mandatory fees that the lawyer pays for you. Disbursements include fees to the Land Titles office for title transfer, title searches, fax and courier charges. We normally charge a set fee for the lawyer’s fee.
Our typical fees are as follows:
- Purchase with a mortgage $850, plus disbursements
- Sale $750, plus disbursements
These fees can vary depending on the complexity of the transaction. Please contact us for a quote.
3. Can the buyer and seller use the same lawyer?
This is sometimes possible. However, both parties must agree in advance and both must agree that if a dispute or conflict arises that they will both have to retain separate legal counsel. We will have to assess this possibility on a case by case basis.
4. Do I need to have a current real property report available to sell my property?
The obligation to obtain a current real property report depends entirely on the terms of your contract. This is a common contractual term but it is not required by law. Sellers should talk to their realtor or contact us prior to signing the contract to determine whether they want the contract to include the requirement to obtain a current real property report.
5. What is a restrictive covenant?
A restrictive covenant is an obligation on a property owner that is registered on title. Often, these are registered by developers to ensure consistency in a subdivision. Restrictive covenants can include restricted uses of the property, architectural review by a home owners’ association or positive obligations to pay assessments or fees to a home owners’ association. It is important to understand any restrictive covenants on your property before purchase.
6. What is an easement?
An easement is a legal right to access or cross a property. Commonly, easements are given to utility companies. Because the existence of an easement may affect future development possibilities and affects your rights as owner, it is important to understand any easements on a property prior to purchase.
7. What is an encumbrance?
An encumbrance is any restriction registered on a property’s title. Often, it can be a financial obligation. It may also include restrictive covenants or easements. Encumbrances follow title and a new owner will be responsible for those obligations.
8. What do I own when I buy a condominium?
When you buy a condominium unit, you own that unit, but you do not own any of the land that the building is built upon. In comparison, in a land transaction, you buy an interest in the actual land and anything built on it.
Typically, condominium owners do not own their windows or door. In some circumstances you may also buy a parking stall. Each condominium plan will have its own terms. These can vary significantly and affect your legal rights as an owner. We can review these plans with you to advise of the particulars of a specific condominium plan.
9. What kinds of conditions can be included in a purchase offer?
There are many conditions that can be placed in the offer. Some common ones include:
- Selling your existing home first
- Getting your lawyer to approve the terms of offer
- Providing a building inspection report that finds no unacceptable issues
- Obtaining bank approval of your financing
10. Should financing be a condition of my offer to the Seller?
Yes, if you need financing to purchase the property. When you are preapproved, this means that you personally are approved. However, it does not mean that the bank approves of this particular purchase. There is the possibility that the bank’s appraisal of the property is lower than your offer price and the bank will not proceed with the loan. Accordingly, we recommend that financing be a condition of any offer that requires financing.
City of Edmonton Maps – assessment and property information http://maps.edmonton.ca/map.aspx
City of Edmonton – property tax certificates http://taxcertificates.edmonton.ca/
Land Titles searches http://alta.registries.gov.ab.ca/spinii/logon.aspx