If you missed Part one Of this two part series on Top 10 Real Estate Contract Considerations click here.
The following are the rest of the property contract considerations you must know
6) Pick Your Real Estate Lawyer And Ask Questions
We always tell people that there are three main things to look at when picking a real estate lawyer in Alberta. First, make sure it is a lawyer who has a practice that focuses on real estate law. While any Alberta lawyer is allowed to practice real estate law in Alberta, there is a general rule (not just for lawyers) that any person in any profession that focuses on a specific thing and sees a lot of that type of thing, will have more knowledge and experience that a person who dabbles in that profession. Second, get an all inclusive fee quote. If a lawyer cannot tell you how much a regular transaction will costs before you agree to use them, ask yourself why. You deserve to know how much something will cost you. Last, see how long it takes them to call you back (or email) when you are looking for a quote. When you are trying to give someone work, they should be most motivated to get back to you. If it takes 2 -3 days, imagine how you will feel if you have concerns about getting your possession on time (assuming you need or want somewhere to live).
7) Include (Properly Word Terms For) Things That The Sellers Must Do Before Possession
If the seller of the property is promising to do anything to or with regard to the property prior to possession, make sure it is in writing. Remember, Alberta real estate purchase contracts are legally binding and negotiable. Do not be afraid to raise these property contract considerations with the sellers before signing. Make sure the terms of what needs to be done are very clear. Also make sure that the terms are specific in measurable and determinable requirements. For instance, “Seller will fix the roof” is very different that “the Seller will have a professional roofer replace the roof with a 30 year shingle and provided a warranty for the roof in writing in the name of the Buyer”. There should also be a hold back provision to hold back funds if the work is not done. In addition, there should be a term that states when and under what situation, funds will be released to whom. Talk to your lawyer about this one if you are concerned.
8) If Buying A Condo, Make Sure You Know What You Get Is Legally Included For Parking & Storage
Condominiums have four ways that parking stalls and storage lockers are owned by the condo unit owner. It is essential that Alberta real estate purchase contracts specifically state which. If it is not in the Alberta real estate purchase contracts then you may not get the parking stall or storage at all. You may also get an alternate stall or locker or even have to pay extra rent for one. Be especially careful with these as if there is more than one stall that comes with your unit, then there maybe a combination of these. Parking stalls and storage lockers can be:
This means that you will have the remaining balance of a 99 year (or other long term lease). This usually means that you get a specific stall or locker and there will probably not be any monthly payments for it.
This means that there is a separate legal title for the specific stall or locker. You own it no differently than you own your condo unit to live in. You will have to pay taxes on that separate legal title but they are usually pretty low. This type of ownership MUST be in Alberta real estate purchase contracts.
This means that the condo board assigns you a parking spot or storage locker. There is no guarantee that you will get the one that the previous owner had. Some spots are more valued than others and some boards have a rule that when someone leaves, that stall goes to the next person on the waiting list for it. You then get the last choice as the newest owner. This is especially important for condos where some stalls are inside, some are outside and some are covered. There are also sometimes different size stalls or lockers meaning that some vehicles will not fit into some stalls.
Some condos have extra stalls (or all of them) that are rented. If this is the case, you will have to pay a monthly rental fee for the stall. As with assigned, the seller may not be able to guarantee that you will get a specific stall or locker. In fact, they may not be able to guarantee that you get any rental spot if there is a wait list.
9) Include All The Chattels (Unattached Goods) In Alberta Real Estate Purchase Contracts
This is a common problem with Alberta real estate purchase contracts. Many key property contract considerations are based around making the contract very clear and obvious. A chattel is a thing that is not attached to the property in a way that would cause damage if it is removed. If it is fixed to the property it is referred to as a fixture. (learn more about fixtures and chattels here.) A chair is an obvious chattel. A built in wall safe is an obvious fixture. However, there are many things that people questions such as light fixtures, wall mounted TVs and drapes. It is always important to make sure that there is no ambiguity in the Alberta real estate purchase contract. If there is any question, have it written in so that it is specific. there is never harm in being specific with things that matter to you.
10) Make A List Of Specific Questions / Concerns For The Sellers And Ask Them In Writing / Email
Buyer beware aside, if a seller makes any specific representations to you that are intentionally false, you may have a claim against them. This can add some protection for you. In fact, these representations may specifically be added to the Alberta real estate purchase contracts. This way the seller cannot rely on any entire agreement argument. These are property contract considerations that can save you if anything related to your concerns goes to court.
Call With Any Questions Before Signing Alberta Real Estate Purchase Contracts
At Kahane Law Office in Calgary, we are happy to answer questions about property contract considerations. We can help with your purchase anywhere in Alberta. This is often at no additional charge for our clients using us to buy a home. If the contract (or questions) is an unusual one, such as with a builder contract, there may be an additional charge, but we will always tell you before we start work. We believe an informed choice should always be yours. Call today! Call 403-225-8810 or email today to contact us. If you are interested in our rates for buying or selling a home after your contract is signed, please see our flat rate fees for details.