While some banks and mortgage companies require that their clients retain a Lawyer to finalize their mortgage refinancing transaction, it is now very common that some lending institutions would rather finalize it themselves or use a mortgage processing company. Nevertheless, most lenders will still give you an option of retaining your own Lawyer to finalize the transaction.
Benefits of using a Lawyer
Your Lawyer will help you to review and understand complex mortgage documents, such as the mortgage disclosure statement and standard mortgage terms, and will also explain to you your rights and obligations under the mortgage.
They will make sure that your old mortgage is discharged from the title to your property. As a Lawyer, I regularly see mortgages registered on title that were paid off many years ago, but have never been discharged by the bank. Your Lawyer will also go through the mortgage discharge statement with you to ensure that the payout amount to discharge your old mortgage is correct.
Finally, your Lawyer will make sure that the terms for the mortgage being registered on title are the same terms you have negotiated with your lender. It is not uncommon for some people to later discover that the amount of the mortgage registered on title is a lot higher than the actual amount of the mortgage they received from the lender. This can negatively affect their chance of getting a second mortgage or adding a secured line of credit from a different lender.
Section 76 of the Ontario Condominium Act (the “Act”) provides for what is called a “Status Certificate”. Every condo purchase should be contingent upon review of the Status Certificate and a condominium corporation must provide a status certificate for a condominium unit upon request. The Status Certificate is used to learn all about the condominium corporation and provide the buyer with much of the documentation required for review. The Act sets out what must be contained in all Status Certificates, some of which includes:
- Disclosure of all outstanding judgments against the corporation and the status of any legal proceedings to which the condominium corporation is a party;
- A statement of any upcoming major repairs;
- A statement of the common expenses for the unit and any default on the payment of those expenses;
- A copy of the current budget of the corporation; and
- A statement about the most recent reserve fund study and the amount in the reserve fund. (The reserve fund is used for performing major repairs of the common elements of the condo corporation.)
Attached to the Status Certificate are the rules and regulations of the condominium used for governing common elements such as hallways, lobbies and balconies. A real estate Lawyer can review these rules and explain them so that you understand what your rights and obligations are as condo owners.
Remember that according to the Act, the condo corporation may charge a prescribed fee for providing you with the Status Certificate
I want to transfer my house to my son. Do we have to pay Land Transfer Tax on such a transfer?
As long as there is no consideration passing between you and your son, and the transfer is a gift to your son, there is no Land Transfer Tax payable.
What is Land Transfer Tax?
Land Transfer Tax is a tax levied by the Ontario government on every transfer of property, subject to some exemptions. The Land Transfer Tax is paid by a person acquiring the property at the time of a transfer. The amount of the Land Transfer Tax is based on consideration passing between a person disposing of property and a person acquiring it. Therefore virtually all purchases of real estate are subject to Land Transfer Tax.
Exemptions to Land Transfer Tax
The Land Transfer Tax is not payable when real estate property being transferred is a gift and there is no consideration passing between the parties. Assumption of an existing mortgage by person acquiring the property or giving a personal loan by person disposing of property to the person acquiring it is a form of consideration and therefore such a transfer would be subject to the Land Transfer Tax.
Transfer of property between married spouses pursuant to a separation agreement is also exempt from the Land Transfer Tax, regardless of the type and amount of consideration passing between the parties. There are some other exemptions under the Land Transfer Tax Act such as transfers involving trusts, transfers to a charity or transfers to a government organization.
First Time Home Buyer’s Rebate
First time home buyers may qualify for a Land Transfer Tax rebate of $2,000 if they have never owned a real estate property anywhere in the world. Further, a spouse of a first time home buyer cannot own any real estate at the time of purchase and must have disposed of previously owned property prior to becoming a spouse of a first time home buyer.
We placed an offer on a house, which was accepted by the sellers. The agreement is conditional upon a satisfactory home inspection. The house was built only a few years ago and we are considering waiving our right to a home inspection. If we do, what rights do we have if we discover some deficiencies in the house after the closing date? Should I wave my right to a home inspection?
The law in Ontario is pretty clear: “let the buyer beware”. Unless there is a fraud, misrepresentation or mistake made by the seller, the buyer takes the existing property as he finds it. Therefore, most of the time the buyer can’t make a claim against the seller for any deficiencies discovered after closing. The general rule is that there is no obligation to disclose any defects that the seller is aware of. The only exceptions to this rule are serious hidden defects. Hidden defects are those that are not discoverable by a reasonable inspection. Further, such defects have to be serious enough to either affect the integrity of the house or render the house unfit for human habitation. Hidden defects are also those defects that the seller is trying to conceal.
Representations and Warranties
The sellers of residential real estate in Ontario are not obliged to provide any representations or warranties to the buyer.
The standard Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a resale home used by real estate agents does not contain any warranties in regards to the physical condition of real estate property, except for a very limited warranty related to ureaformeldahyde insulation. The buyer might try to negotiate warranties into the agreement of purchase and sale, however this is very rare.
A proper home inspection performed by an experienced home inspector is the best way to protect you from any unpleasant surprises. While a home inspector might not be able to identify all defects, especially hidden ones, it is the only way to learn what you are buying and to make an informed decision about one of the most important purchases of your lifetime.