Legal and Closing Costs for Home Buyers

11.06.2013

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Some of the costs you’ll encounter when you’re buying a home are the Legal Costs and Closing Costs.

Legal Costs for Home Buyers

Buying a home is a very big purchase, and thanks to the legal contracts and the City’s involvement, you’ll encounter legal fees to complete the deal.

Legal fees include the land title search (a document that ensures you are buying the right property from the current owner) as well as registration fees to change this title to your name (so you own the property upon completion of the sale). These fees hover around $1000.

We highly suggest you use a Lawyer or Notary to help you perform these actions, as well as for advice and other services. Lawyers generally charge between $600 and $900, but you’re free to shop around for different quotes depending on the services offered.

The cost to use a Lawyer or Notary is well worth it. They will make the process smooth and can explain the legal jargon so you have a full understanding of the entire process. Also, if something unexpected happens with the deal, they can jump in and provide guidance. Your Lawyer or Notary will also ensure that you’re receiving all benefits you’re entitled too (i.e. First Time Home Buyer’s credit, etc.).

Other costs that vary with buying a home may include a Municipal Tax Certificate (~$40), insurance binder relating to your mortgage (~$50), Form F for Strata Properties detailing the history of the unit’s maintenance fees (~$50). Your mortgage lender may require a survey certificate, title insurance or other documents which you would have to pay for as well. Your Lawyer or Notary will explain why you need these forms.

Closing Costs for Home Buyers

Closing costs include the adjustments pertaining to the Seller’s pre-paid costs that the Buyer needs to reimburse them for on the date of completion (on a pro-rated basis). These costs include strata/maintenance fees, taxes, water and sewer fees, security fees and for tenanted properties: rent & deposits.

Since strata/maintenance fees are paid monthly, and typically on the first day of the month, the Buyer will reimburse the Seller for the days that the Buyer lives in the property (i.e. if the Buyer moves in on the 20th day, they will pay the Seller 11/31 days worth of Strata fees).

Occasionally, the Buyer ends up paying for costs after they move in that should be attributed to the Seller, so these costs will be considered as well.

All of these adjustments are set out in a document called the “Statement of Adjustments”. This document identifies what home costs need to be adjusted between the Buyer and Seller, as well as how the Buyer will be paying for them (either from the initial deposit as stated on the Contract of Purchase, the mortgage funds, or from the money the Seller may possibly owe the Buyer). The amount of money to be paid by the Buyer to complete the transaction will be identified at the bottom of the statement.

Real Estate Closing Process:

  1. Contact a Lawyer or Notary for representation soon after an Accepted Offer. We can recommend a reputable professional.
  2. You’ll meet with the Lawyer or Notary to give them all the necessary details.
  3. Your Lawyer or Notary will conduct a title search and will obtain tax information on the property in order to prepare the Statement of Adjustments.
  4. Your Lawyer or Notary will prepare closing documents like title transfer, mortgage, tax forms, etc. You Lawyer or Notary will connect with the Seller’s legal representation.
  5. A few days before the Completion Date, you will meet with you Lawyer to sign all the documents and deliver any balance of funds needed to complete the purchase.
  6. On the day of Completion, your Lawyer or Notary will register the transfer of property and mortgage and will pass on the funds to the Seller’s legal representation.
  7. You are now a homeowner!
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