To purchase or sell real estate is often one of the most important decisions that you will make in your life. You should take the time to understand the process. This summary is intended only to help you by making the process clearer.

  The terms "offer" or "agreement of purchase and sale" are interchangeable. Once signed by all parties this is a legally binding contract. It is the contract that will govern your entire deal. Thus, it should include, clearly, all terms and conditions and should not be signed until fully understood. There are a number of standard clauses and some important optional clauses. It is usually important to make the offer conditional on financing until your lender can give its final approval. Some people also want an inspection by a qualified professional to save them from potentially costly surprises. I always recommend that you put everything in the contract that you have agreed upon as it will reduce the chance of conflict in the future. It is my policy to make every effort to be available to provide such advice to you and your agent.


  In addition to the purchase price there are some items for which you should budget when purchasing a house.

Estimated Legal Fees & Disbursements:

Amounts for searches vary depending in which Municipality the property is located (or if it is in unorganized territory). There may be increases in the cost of certificates at any time. Registry office searches may also vary in cost depending on whether you are searching a full lot or part lot. Please call the office for an estimate of legal fees and disbursements.

  Every buyer should be aware of the Land Transfer Tax. This tax is payable by the buyer (with the exception of first time home buyers up to $4000) on registration. The amount is calculated as follows:

0.5% on the first $55,000

1.0% on additional amounts from $55,000-$250,000

1.5% on additional amounts from $250,000-$400,000

2.0% on any amount over $400,000.00


  The typical offer will state the buyer is required to pay "the balance" due on closing, subject to the usual adjustments. You will have to budget for adjustments of taxes, oil, rent and any other applicable amounts to ensure that all prepaid bills or bills not yet paid are credited to the Purchaser or Vendor as appropriate. The lawyers will calculate this amount based on the information provided.

  Buyers should remember to contact your insurance company or agent (early on), as well as hydro, gas, cable, phone and any other services that you desire to ensure services are not interrupted. If you have any questions during the process don't hesitate to call. Buying a house should be a positive experience!


  Vendors (or sellers) should budget for a mortgage payout penalty and discharge fee to be charged by the bank (if any), realtor costs (as applicable) and legal fees. Legal disbursements will include a law society levy, registration costs to discharge any mortgages registered on title (unless included in the bank's fee), HST and other minor charges.

  Sellers should be prepared to provide to the office: the most recent tax bill, water and septic certificates (if on private services), survey (if one), information on any outstanding mortgages, oil supplier information and certificates, information on rental items in the house, information concerning tenants, and realtor contacts (all as applicable). It is important to understand that a seller also has paperwork to sign before moving!!


What does your real estate lawyer do for you?

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Why every homeowner needs title insurance!

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