Frequently Asked Questions About Real Estate Transactions

Our clients, particularly those who are buying their first home, often have a number of questions for us.

  1. When should I hire a Lawyer?
    As soon as possible, preferably before you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. We can examine the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and may be able to suggest clauses or conditions to protect you. If you have already entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, we can ensure that you are aware of your rights and obligations, and that all conditions specified in the Contract are carried out before the sale is final.
  2. What is Land Transfer Tax?
    When you buy land, you pay a certain amount of tax to the Province of Ontario, based on the value of the land. If you are a first-time homebuyer you may be able to get a refund of part or all of the land transfer tax.
  3. What is a home inspection?
    A home inspection should be carried out before finalizing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, usually at the buyer's expense. It involves a close examination of the house itself, considering issues such as the soundness of the house, its age, and any problems with electricity, heating and plumbing. Findings may include structural instability, water damage, infestations, the need for extensive repairs, and faulty or very old insulation or heating equipment. A qualified home inspector may be able to point out problems that should be dealt with before you take possession of the house, or better still, should be considered before finalizing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
  4. How much will I have to pay for my new home, other than the purchase price?
    Our job is to make sure that you understand all of the various additional fees you will have to pay before taking possession of the house. This includes legal fees, the costs of home inspections, insurance, taxes and various other unexpected costs. While some are fixed costs, many of them depend on the price, location and condition of your property. We make sure that you understand all costs so that nothing comes as a surprise.
  5. What happens if I find a better property after I have already signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale?
    The Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a legally binding document, and can be enforced by the Court. You should not sign a second Agreement unless the Vendor of the first property agrees to release you, or you are able and willing to buy both properties.
  6. Do I legally need a Real Estate agent in order to buy or sell property?
    No. You can buy or sell your house on your own without a Real Estate agent. However, a good Real Estate agent can help you find the most suitable property for you, or if you are selling can usually provide greater exposure to potential buyers, can answer many of your questions and can protect you from many common pitfalls.
  7. Do I need both title insurance and a land survey? Why not just get one?
    Title insurance protects you against fraud and other defects relating to your title and the ownership of your property. A land survey shows the boundaries and dimensions of the property and may disclose any potential problems. In certain circumstances, you may need both.
  8. What is a land survey?
    A land survey is a document prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor. It includes:
  • The full measurement of the parcel of land, including boundaries
  • All buildings on the property
  • Improvements such as fences, pools and some landscaping
  • Encroachments, such as a building on an adjacent lot that is partially located on your property
  • Easements where your neighbours or utility companies may have the right to go onto your property

    If you do not have a land survey, you may not know exactly what you own. Your idea of where your land begins and ends may not match what the title documents state. This could be problematic if, for example, you build a garage and then discover that part of it is on your neighbour's property.

Contact Creighton Law LLP

If your question is not among our frequently asked questions about Real Estate, call our Oshawa office at 1-800-216-4970 or contact us through our online form and speak to one of our Real Estate Professionals to learn more.