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Real Estate Legal Services (Including Refinancing) Eastern Ontario2021-02-25T00:05:58+00:00

Real Estate Legal Services (Including Refinancing) Eastern Ontario

Buying a new home or business is an extremely exciting time, even for experienced buyers; but for first-time buyers it can be an overwhelmingly heady process.  There are so many properties to see, and your real estate agent is taking diligent care of the offers and documents for sale.  You want to make sure you buy the right place, and that is the focus of all your attention.  But now that the Purchase Agreement is signed, what happens next?  You need to hire a qualified, experienced real estate lawyer to make the purchase happen, to “close” the transaction.  Using a real estate lawyer may not spring to mind at the beginning, but you are going to need to have one.  Under the new regime for real property ownership in Ontario, lawyers are the “gate-keepers” of the digital registration process.  Both the buyer and the seller need a lawyer, and with only a few exceptions it cannot be the same lawyer.

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

If you are looking to buy or sell property in Ontario, you will inevitably need the services of a real estate lawyer.  Real estate agents can help you through the process of finding the right property for you, and they can help in the drafting of the Purchase Agreement; but only a real estate lawyer can close your deal for you.  But there is much more a real estate lawyer can do for you, such as: Title Insurance Title insurance is important as it covers any issues that can occur before and after you've bought a property. A lawyer can arrange property title insurance for you. Foreclosure Proceedings In the event of a foreclosure, you need to have legal representation.  They can offer legal advice and provide you with the best options for your defence when you go to court.  Also, if you buy a foreclosed property, there are a number of complex legal steps that must have been properly taken by the seller for the foreclosure to be legal.  Your lawyer is there to explain everything and protect you. Legal Transactions There are complicated rules and regulations to be carefully followed during real estate transactions.  Having an experienced real estate lawyer to help you with contracts, inspections and appraisals is of great benefit.  They take care of all legal documents and explain the whole legal process of your property purchase. Legal Representation There are circumstances where you may need a qualified real estate lawyer to represent you in court. These may include:
  • Trespassing
  • Injuries
  • Encroachment
  • Zoning
  • Property taxes
  • Covenants
Any paperwork that needs to be drafted for legal proceedings and settlement negotiations can be performed by your lawyer. Closing Arrangements When you get ownership of your property a legal transfer takes place.  Your lawyer will prepare a Statement of Adjustments and make all financial transactions.  They will also have possession of the keys for your new place.

Legal Reasons Why You Should Use an Ontario Real Estate Lawyer 

When you are looking to buy property, you need a professional that knows real estate law and can protect you from any issues that may occur during the process.  Lawyers are licenced to provide legal advice and represent you when you are dealing with legal contracts.  This is not the role of a real estate agent. It’s easy to be confused by the difference between a legal question and a real estate question.  Realtors can give information and supply answers about the properties you visit.  They always know what they can and cannot say or do and are very careful not to provide you with any legal advice. There are many situations where you need legal protection in the event a deal goes sour or you want to change the terms.  You need to make sure you are covered from any loss and not in breach of your contract.  Use a qualified real estate lawyer to protect and guide you.  

What Information Do I Need to Provide my Real Estate Lawyer? 

 When you hire a real estate lawyer, they need to have all the information around the purchase of your home including:
  • Name of lending institution Your lawyer will give your lender information on the property and ensure their mortgage is valid according to the mortgage contract.
  • Agreement of purchase and sale You should send a copy of your purchasing contract to your lawyer as soon as you get it. They can review it with you and find anything not in your best interest.
  • Property inspection report Any building inspection reports you have as a condition of the sale should be copied and sent to your lawyer.
  • Your legal photo identification and date of birth Two pieces of photo identification and date of birth is needed for all purchasers. Your lawyer can be trusted with all your personal information.
  • Purchase property’s address The address for the property as registered on the deed.
  • Property title All names of people who will be on the title. This may be sole owner, joint ownership (which has the right of survival) or tenants in common (which has no right of survival).
  • Property insurance Your lender will require insurance on the property as a condition of funding. This will need to be in place on the closing date.
  • Closing funds Before closing you need to provide the lawyer with all funds needed to complete the sale. Your lawyer will give you an exact dollar amount for the amount including adjustments and fees.
 

Mortgage Financing Contract and Should I Use a Lawyer? 

Buying a home is complex and you usually need to secure financing from a lender or bank.  It’s a legal transaction that includes your financial institution.  While getting a new mortgage involves you meeting with a bank and qualifying for a mortgage, your real estate lawyer will be in contact with them and make all the money transfers happen at time of closing.  If you have any questions or concerns about your mortgage agreement, your lawyer can read it and help you understand the fine print as well as point out any clauses that may not be of benefit to you. They handle preparing and registering the mortgage documents. These can be confusing for a buyer to understand so your lawyer can explain all the details.  Having a lawyer to take care of all legal requirements including the mortgage arrangements is vital to a smooth transfer of property.

Reasons to Hire a Lawyer When Refinancing your Mortgage Financing Contract 

When refinancing your mortgage there are several things to consider.  While you may just be looking to lower your interest or change the length of your term, you want to hire an experienced lawyer to help you with this financial transaction.  They can help you in several ways.

Help You Avoid Scams

There are some lenders out there that prey on people that need to refinance.  They use different schemes to lock you into loans with hidden fees and unfavourable terms.  Having a lawyer check out these contracts will ensure they don’t include unnecessary fees and costs and that the terms are reasonable.

Make The Process Simple

There are many moving parts in refinancing, and it can be overwhelming.  Your lawyer can guide you through the process and explain all the details.  They make it easy to understand so you are confident in your new mortgage.  This is their language, and they can explain it to you in layman’s terms.

Protect Your Interests

You need someone who is in your corner.  Hiring a professional real estate lawyer will make sure you are protected in this financial transaction.  Mortgage refinancing can be complicated, but your lawyer is there to advise and represent you.

Top 5 Reasons to Refinance your Ontario Commercial Property 

 If you own a commercial property in Ontario, you should consider refinancing it.  This is the process of paying off existing loans and taking out a new one.  Here are 5 reasons why it could help you and your business.
  1. Consolidating Loans
You may have several properties with loans at different financial institutions with different terms.  By combining them into one loan at one bank, this will simplify your payments and your paperwork. You are more likely to get better terms and reduced rates because they are getting all your business.
  1. Reducing Borrowing Costs
By refinancing you can usually get a better interest rate.  This means more money in your pocket every month and over the entire term of the loan.  Seek out other banks that have better rates.  You can choose to take your business there or use this knowledge to negotiate lower interest rates at your current bank.
  1. Reducing Length of Loan
If you can shorten the length of your loan, you will save money on interest.  This may result in higher payment but over the duration of the loan you will pay less.
  1. Recovering Equity
Another benefit of refinancing is pulling out equity from your property.  This is a terrific way to get access to money that you may need for working capital or expansion.
  1. Stabilize Your Rate
Some loans have floating interest rates that change with the fluctuation in the economy.  You can refinance with a new fixed rate loan and stabilize your payments.

Electronic Signing of Documents, Potential Repudiation & Solutions - Eastern Ontario 

Ontario, along with Quebec, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island have similar laws allowing electronic signatures in real estate deals.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, more businesses are looking for ways to continue business and with a workforce working remotely and implementing e-signatures is the safest way to continue. There is a Guideline on Defining Authentication Requirements that can be applied to threats such as impersonation and repudiation.  It’s a way to find the minimum assurance level to properly execute a transaction.

Digital Contractual Real-Estate Transactions 

E-signatures are legally binding in the same manner as hand signed documents.  In Ontario, real estate transactions may use electronic signatures.

E-Video Signature 

E-video signature is a great tool and gives Veritasa Law a competitive advantage.  The process uses enhanced security to capture identity and consent, increasing consumer protection and mitigating the risk of fraudulent behaviour.  It supports remote electronic signature in a way that meets all the requirements of the governing legislation of Ontario.

Are E-Signatures Valid on Wills and Powers of Attorney - Ontario? 

Ontario follows a national standard electronic signature (SES), enabling law firms to sign contracts, quotes, invoices, proposals, and most other documents electronically.  There are exceptions where a document needs to be signed by hand and these include wills and powers of attorney.  With our current COVID-19 crisis, these documents can now be e-signed so long as one of the two witnesses is a lawyer. This is an exciting time in your life and a new beginning.  Using a qualified real estate lawyer for your home or business purchase will help ease the process.  Veritasa Law in Ontario is here to help you in your next purchase. They diligently work with clients to inform and represent them during all legal activities.  They supply personalized service and have over 93 years of experience on their team.  They are the real estate lawyers you need to help you on your next home purchase or refinancing.  Call us today for more information.    

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an electronic signature?2021-01-13T08:16:51+00:00

In Ontario the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 refers to “electronic signature”,  as an electronic information that a person creates or adopts in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to or associated with the document.

When should you hire a Lawyer?2021-03-22T19:47:22+00:00

Veritasa Law has your best interests in mind.  If you plan to submit an offer, or are selling your home, it is important to have a lawyer review any real estate agreement before it is signed.  Having a lawyer allows you to make informed choices that may include adding conditions or clauses that can protect you in your real estate deal.  

Can you get out of the deal if you have already signed an unconditional Agreement of Purchase and Sale?2021-03-22T19:49:04+00:00

The Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a legally binding document and is enforceable by the courts.  The only way out of an agreement of purchase and sale is to employ a condition that is crafted into the agreement to protect you.  But if the agreement is unconditional then the only way out of it is if the other party chooses to let you out of the contract.  

What does Title mean?2021-03-22T19:51:22+00:00

In the legal world title means the legal ownership of property.  When transferring property, the new owner of the property is obtaining title to the property.  Title is registered in the governments land registration system.  

What is Title Insurance?2021-03-22T19:52:05+00:00

Title Insurance is a form of insurance policy that helps protect commercial or residential property owners and their lenders against defects or deficiencies in relation to the property’s title/ownership.  

Do you need title insurance?2021-03-22T19:52:50+00:00

 The short answer is “yes.”  However, when deciding if you think you need title insurance it is important to discuss it with a lawyer.  We can help you gain a clear understanding of what title insurance covers and why it is important to have.  

What does title insurance cover?2021-03-22T19:54:02+00:00

After paying the one-time fee known as a “premium” a title insurance policy can cover protection from such losses such as: 

  • Unknown and undiscoverable title defects (title issues that could prevent you from having clear ownership of the property).  The big benefit here is being covered even for undiscoverable defects that no amount of searching could reveal before they come to fruition.  ONLY title insurance provides this level of protection and that is the primary reason that it is indispensable. 
  • Existing liens against the property titles (Having outstanding debt from the previous owner from things such as mortgages, utilities, property taxes, or condominium charges secured against the property.) 
  • Encroachment issues (A structure on your new property needs to be removed because it is on your neighbor’s property) 
  • Title fraud (someone assumes the identity of an individual homeowner and then uses that false identity to pose as the homeowner.) 
What is refinancing?2021-03-22T19:55:12+00:00

Refinancing is the replacing of an existing debt obligation with another debt obligation under a different specified term.  

Why would you refinance?2021-03-22T19:56:14+00:00

People choose to refinance their property for many different reasons, usually based around obtaining a lower interest rate, shortening the term of their mortgage, changing between an adjustable-rate mortgage or a fixed rate mortgage, and trying to raise funds to deal with a financial crisis or consolidating debt.  

What is the issue with refinancing?2021-03-22T20:17:22+00:00

Mortgage refinancing is a large financial decision that should not be taken lightly.  When thinking about refinancing, it is important to speak with a lawyer to make sure this is the right choice for you.  Some of the largest issues people can face when thinking about refinancing are incurring penalties greater than savings being made, and switching rate types to something less favourable 

What does real estate law cover?2021-01-19T20:47:25+00:00

Real estate law encompasses the purchase and sale of real property, meaning land and any structures on it. It also covers legal issues related to anything attached to the property or structures, such as appliances and fixtures.

Lawyers who specialize in real estate ensure that proper procedures are followed during the acquisition or sale of property. They also may be concerned with how a property is zoned for usage. Real estate law covers deeds, property taxes, estate planning, zoning and titles.

What does a real estate lawyer do?2021-01-19T20:47:25+00:00

Handles transactions

A competent real estate lawyer is knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to the rules and regulations of any real estate transactions. They help their clients understand contracts, leases, appraisals, inspections, legal documents and other legal processes involved in acquiring a property.

They also answer clients’ questions regarding the transactions and will help iron out issues.

Licensed real estate lawyers can also draft and revise documents, and will review the purchase agreement to ensure that you’re not being misled.

Your lawyer may also review your offer on a property to also make sure that the document protects your rights. If it doesn’t, your lawyer can adjust and revise it to better suit your needs.

Arranges for title insurance

Getting insurance is a must when acquiring property, and your real estate lawyer can arrange your property’s title insurance for you. It is important to note that title insurance and home insurance are not the same thing.

Getting a title insurance is beneficial, as it covers issues that occurred before and after you’ve purchased your property.

Protects clients’ interests

Your real estate lawyer will also perform their responsibility of safeguarding your best interest. You can lean on them to ensure authenticity of the legal documents involved, and to make sure that you’re not falling into any unseen legal traps.

You can ask your lawyer to take a second or third look on your contract. They can review and explain legalese and explain it to you in a way that you could understand more clearly.

This way, you are 100 per cent sure that you know what you’re signing up for. Your lawyer can also negotiate your transaction’s terms and conditions for your sake, which may involve working with other lawyers, developers and brokers.

Overall, with a competent real estate lawyer, you can be sure that your rights are protected, and that your property transaction is legally sound.

Handles foreclosure proceedings

Court procedures regarding the process of property foreclosures vary from province and/or territory. It’s best to hire a real estate lawyer to help you handle this.

Your lawyer will help you navigate this tricky situation, and will give you legal advice regarding your different options. They may help you modify your loan, and may come up with several defences that your party can raise in court.

There may be some situations when you may not need the services of a lawyer to handle your foreclosure, but it’s better to know what to expect when facing foreclosure.

Provides legal representation

Some unpleasant legal situations may be inevitable, but even the most qualified realtor will not be able to give you the right legal advice.

Lawyers offer legal advice on property disputes you might get involved in, as well as on other legal issues such as encroachment, trespassing and injuries.

Also, a real estate lawyer can provide legal advice on property management, zoning violations, restrictions and covenants on real estate, property taxes and value estimates.

Apart from this, lawyers will represent you in real estate litigation. They will draft documents and legal pleadings, participate in hearings and a trial with the judge, and will file appeals on your behalf, when necessary.

They will also negotiate with the opposing counsel to work out settlement agreements.

Assists with closing

The closing date is the final step in your property transaction. This is when the ownership of the property is officially transferred to the buyer.

It is dubbed as the “most important event” in a sale transaction.

On closing day, your real estate lawyer can facilitate your financial transactions. You’ll also take the time to finalize the transaction, where they’ll create a Statement of Adjustments.

This document shows the details of the transaction, including the deposit, adjustments and other fees, as well as the final amount that is due on closing day.

If you’re purchasing a resale property, the keys will be delivered to your lawyer’s office on the day of closing. They’ll not be released until the closing has been completed.

In addition, your real estate lawyer can help you familiarize and prepared for some of the hidden costs when buying a home in Canada, so there’s no surprise when it comes to expenses on the closing day itself.

Are electronic signatures valid?2021-01-19T20:47:25+00:00

In Ontario since the passing of the Electronic Commerce Act, 2000 electronic signatures have been legally binding so long as they are done properly.  Speaking to a lawyer is an important step in evaluating if your electronic document signing solution is done properly.    When discussing with your lawyer, ask about repudiation of agreements, and if the document signing solution you are considering can validate intent, identity and consent with each signature.

Is a digital signature different than an electronic signature?2021-05-11T13:50:12+00:00

Often “Digital Signature” is used as a way of saying “Electronic Signature”.

With respect to signing your contracts, the proper term in legal circles is “Electronic Signature”.

 

How much does it cost to hire a real estate lawyer?2021-01-19T20:47:25+00:00

That totally depends upon who you hire and the services their price includes.  It also depends upon the seniority of the counsel.  As a general rule, more experienced counsel cost more, sometimes much more than young or new counsel.

With Veritasa law, we begin your journey with a no-cost, no-obligation, initial consultation.   Before committing to working with us, we will provide you up-front and transparent pricing we stand behind.   There will be no surprises on your final bill. Contact us today for with any questions you have.

Why is nonrepudiation important?2021-05-11T13:59:10+00:00

When the authority or legitimacy of your legal transaction is in question, it may allow stakeholders to repudiate its validity.   In case of a legal transaction this could mean bringing into question if the authorized signature is valid and thereby bringing the entire legal transaction into question.   This could lead to unwanted scrutiny, and unwelcome added costs to defend your legal transaction.

It’s important to be able to employ the convenience of electronic signatures with the confidence of knowing that they will be held valid and legally binding if challenged.

 

What is a seamlessly verifiable transaction?2021-05-11T13:55:48+00:00

A seamlessly verifiable transaction means that the person is visible on video throughout the transaction.  There will be no break in the recording and you see the person as they are signing. All of this ensures that we can verify that the person in the video is signing.

Our audit trail proves the person’s identity, their precise location (required by law), their signature, their identification, consent, and intent. Everything is authenticated.

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