What You Must Know When Selling A Home

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Legal Home Sale Basics – What Sellers Need to Know In Alberta

We understand that selling your property is a major life event. Whether you are selling your first home or have sold properties in the past, selling your home can be a complicated process. Each transaction requires a high level of lawyer involvement in order to safeguard your investment. Our conveyancing lawyers are experienced at guiding you through the entire process. There are legal home sale basics that lawyers need you to know. In order to ensure that your transaction is seamless, read on to find out what sellers need to know when selling their home. Questions? The real estate lawyers at Kahane Law Office, in Calgary, Alberta are here to help.

When Do I Sign The Closing Documents?

This is the number one of all legal home sale basics that we get asked about. Two weeks prior to the closing date of your transaction, we will contact you to make an appointment to sign the closing documents. We will draft them all even though the buyer’s lawyer needs to submit them to Land Titles. If you plan on being out of the country during this time, you should let your real estate lawyer know as soon as possible. This is because we will have to coordinate for you to sign the closing documents in front of a notary public and have them courier the originals back to our office.

Do I Need A Real Property Report (“RPR”)?

This is one of the most essential legal home sale basics that people are not aware of. Unless you are selling a conventional condominium unit, you require a Real Property Report. If you do not have one, inform your real estate lawyer immediately to avoid delays in closing. Remember, bareland condominiums require real property reports. When you first think of listing your home, review your RPR with your real estate agent or real estate lawyer. You need to make sure you do not need to update it. There are several things that necessitate the updating of an RPR. If you built new structures on the property including decks, fences or installed an air conditioning unit, you will likely require an updated RPR.

When Do I Vacate My Property?

Your property should be vacant as of noon on the closing day of your transaction. Failing to vacate your property in time can result in financial compensation for the buyer. Sellers should ensure that any chattels (items that are not fixed to the house) included in the purchase price, such as refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, and garage door openers, remain on the property. Conversely, items not included in the contract must be removed by the possession. Further, sellers should also fulfill any obligations in the purchase contract including conducting repairs and cleaning the property.

When Do I Cancel My Property Taxes?

Your real estate lawyer will calculate and adjust taxes for you. Because sellers are responsible for taxes up to and including the closing date, sellers who are subscribed to Tax Installment Payment Plans (TIPP) should ensure payment goes through for, and including, the possession date. Conversely, ensure cancelling the TIPP payments are cancelled in time so that no payment is deducted from your account after the possession date. It takes times for the City to cancel these payments. If you are too late, ensure that you communicate this to your real estate layer. If you pay your taxes annually, there is nothing to cancel. Your lawyer will adjust for the balance of the year.

When Do I Cancel Utilities?

Sellers ought to contact their utility companies and service providers to terminate utilities prior to the closing date. Sellers should also forward final billing invoices to their new address. Notably, your real estate lawyer will not be able to secure any payment overages for utilities should you fail to terminate your accounts before closing.

Do I Cancel Homeowner’s Insurance When I Find A Buyer?

No. Under the purchase contract, sellers are liable for any losses until the transaction closes. Thus, it is imperative that you refrain from cancelling homeowner’s insurance until the proceeds of the sale are in your bank account. While real estate lawyers endeavour to ensure that transactions close in time, occasionally, delays may occur on the part of the purchaser which may postpone payment for a few days. In that case, you will be compensated by the buyer through late interest fees.

When Do I Receive The Sale Proceeds For My Home?

You should anticipate that the funds will be deposited in your bank account or ready for pick up at your law firm’s office in the form of a cheque the day that your real estate lawyer receives funds, releasable from the buyer’s lawyer. There may be delays in receiving and releasing funds based on a wide range of situations. While funds are most often releasable on the possession day, there is no way to guarantee this. Such delays are not always avoidable. For example, the courier delivering funds to or from the bank, sellers’ lawyer or buyer’s lawyer, could have a car accident, delaying the funds.

What Real Estate Lawyers Do When Acting For A Seller

Our real estate team works tirelessly to ensure that your transaction closes on time. When acting for a seller we attempt to anticipate all issues prior to possession. This avoids problems on the possession day. While many of these things form part of legal home sale basics, we always aim to do much more than that. In particular, when acting for sellers, our real estate lawyers:

  • review the purchase contract;
  • conduct property tax searches, title searches and other searches;
  • obtain mortgage payouts and information on other caveats, liens and other registrations on title;
  • prepare the Statement of Adjustments which outlines the cash needed to close the transaction;
  • prepare closing documents such as the transfers of land and a tax declaration;
  • review real property reports and estoppel certificates;
  • send out trust letters to the buyer’s lawyer;
  • negotiate trust conditions;
  • register the discharge of any mortgages;
  • pay out any mortgages on title and real estate agent commissions;
  • deposit sale proceeds in the seller’s bank account or have a cheque for pickup; and
  • provide reports to the seller. (these can take 3-6 weeks after the transaction closes depending on land titles registration times.)

Other Real Estate Law Services During A Sale

There go past the legal home sale basics and do not form part of many transactions. As not every transaction is the same, some transactions involve extra fees. Additional services you may require include:

  • applying for a relaxation or an encroachment agreement for non-compliant RPRs;
  • reviewing condominium documents before waiving conditions;
  • bridging finance mortgages; and
  • resolving disputes between sellers and tenants residing on the property.

Legal Help With More That The Legal Home Sale Basics

We want you to have so much more than the legal home sale basics covered in your transaction. Should you have more questions about the home buying process, we are happy to speak with you and discuss your concerns. To make things easier, we have flat rate fees for real estate transactions. The experienced conveyancing team at Kahane Law Office in Calgary look forward to answering your questions regarding your transaction. Call today! 403-225-8810 or email us directly here.