What Every Alberta Home Buyer Needs To Know

home buyer real estate law We understand that buying a home is likely one of the most significant and costly purchases that individuals make in their entire lifetime. Therefore, always ensure that your transaction is handled by reputable professionals. Knowing the home buyer real estate law basics makes life easier for you. Real estate lawyers offer a variety of services that assist clients in buying their dream home. Legalese can be difficult to navigate and mistakes can be easy to make – especially if you are a first time home buyer. The real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office, take care of the legal issues related to the purchase of your home. However, there are still home buyer real estate law basics buyers should know to make the transaction as stress-free as possible. With offices in both Edmonton and Calgary we help people across Alberta.

What Do Real Estate Lawyers Do?

Real estate lawyers do everything in their power to ensure that the transaction closes on time. Accordingly, we coordinate with all parties involved in the transaction. This includes real estate agents, mortgage specialist and the sellers’ lawyer. Specifically, when acting for the buyer, real estate lawyers:

  • prepare closing documents including transfers of land, tenancies at will, mortgages, and directions to pay;
  • meet with you to sign closing documents;
  • review the trust letter sent by the seller’s lawyer;
  • negotiate amendments to trust conditions with the seller’s lawyer;
  • forward closing funds to the seller’s lawyer to secure release of keys;
  • submit transfer documents to land titles for registration;
  • ensure good title to the home; and
  • provide reports to you two to three months after the transaction closes.

Services That May Involve Additional Charges

Services that may require additional charges include:

  • condominium document review prior to condominium buyers waiving conditions;
  • resolving non-compliant Real Property Reports with the municipality;
  • bridging finance mortgages;
  • dealing with multiple mortgages and other properties; and
  • resolving landlord and tenant disputes.

Ensure That You Are Available for Signing

Typically, we will contact you to set up an appointment for signing closing documents approximately a week to three days before the closing date. If any buyers are planning on being out of town during this time, let your real estate lawyer know. We will have to coordinate with you to sign before a notary public. Unlike purchase contracts, land titles requires real signatures (not electronic) on all documents submitted for registration. Further, ensure the overnight couriering of the original hard copies of the closing documents to your real estate lawyer.

Insurance For My New Home

Home buyer real estate law basics include setting up insurance for your home before possession. If you have a mortgage, your mortgage lender requires proof of insurance prior to funding. Once we receive mortgage instructions from your lender, your lawyer provides you with the specific information of what kind of coverage is needed. Almost all lenders need full replacement coverage. Seller’s also require insurance to grant tenancy at will. Delays in possession, and interest payments often happen dues to the failure to purchase the required insurance.

Who Is Responsible For Paying Property Taxes?

Depending on what time of the year you are purchasing your house and how often the seller paid their taxes to the municipality, your ability to register for the City of Calgary’s Tax Installment Payment Plan (the “TIPP Program”) may be impacted. The City of Edmonton also has a similar program, as does Red Deer. Applying for the TIPP Program allows you to pay your property tax on a monthly basis instead of in one lump sum payment every June. Your real estate lawyer will advise you on how frequently the seller was paying taxes on the property and inform you of the options available to you. Occasionally, a tax adjustment means additional funds, in the hundreds or even thousands, are required to close. Accordingly, ask about this in advance to avoid a surprise.

Setting Up Utilities: Home Buyer Real Estate Law Basics

Prior to moving in, remember to contact utility companies and other service provides. Utilities and services, such as internet and telephone service, require buyers to set up accounts with the service providers. While there are many utility providers, below sets out contact information for common service providers including:

  • Enmax            (403) 310-2010
  • Shaw Cable    (403) 716-6000
  • Atco Energy   (403) 292-7500
  • Epcor               (800) 667-2345
  • Direct Energy (866) 374-6299
  • Telus                 (888) 811-2323

Requirements When Signing Closing Documents With My Lawyer

We will require that each buyer provide two pieces of identification – your driver’s licence and passport works best. If your driver’s licence expires soon, please do not renew it until after you meet with your lawyer as temporary Alberta driver’s licences cannot be accepted as valid identification.

Additionally, you should bring a bank draft in the amount of the cash shortfall. Your real estate lawyer will advise you, prior to signing your closing documents, of the difference between the purchase price less any mortgage or bridge financing. If using our office, the bank draft should be payable to “Kahane Law Office in Trust”. The draft also includes tax adjustments, condo fee adjustments, legal fees and other adjustments. Consequently, get this number from your lawyer. Notably, the cash shortfall should be provided to us at least two business days prior to completion day to allow our office to fund your mortgage and pay the purchase price on time.

Home Buyer Real Estate Law Basics For The Possession Day

For most cases, possession date is on completion day at noon. The property should be in substantially the same condition as it was when the contract was signed, unless the purchase contract was amended. Notably, under the contract, a used property is not expected to be in perfect condition but the home should remain in the same condition as when you entered into your contract.

In the event that when you move in, you encounter major damage to the property, such as flooding, or missing or broken appliances contrary to what was agreed to in the purchase contract, contact your real estate lawyer as soon as possible. Funds transfer to the seller’s lawyer on the closing day. Therefore, if you inform us of any issues even a day or more after closing, we will have no leverage to negotiate with the seller’s lawyer.

Home buyer real estate law is problematic for smaller problems. This includes things like a hole in the wall, a broken window or a broken appliance. The purchase contract most often used, does not protect for non-major damage. That said, we often negotiate settlements that work for both the buyer and the seller.

While not a part of the home buyer real estate law basics, after you move in, we recommend that you change locks as soon as possible.

Help With Your Real Estate Transaction

If you are thinking of buying a home, you should hire credible professionals to give you peace of mind that you will get good title. Knowing the home buyer real estate law basics help. However, the experienced real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office are happy to assist you with your real estate transaction. You can reach us toll-free at 1877-225-8817, or 403-225-8810 locally for Calgary clients and (780) 571-8463 for Edmonton Clients, or email us directly here.