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Understanding The Key Items Of Your Title Insurance Policy

Title insurance protects an individual against any discoveries about a property in the future. These issues can be related to the title or not. It provides insurance coverage for problems due to legal defects. In case an individual stumbles upon problems, one can file for title insurance claims. However, it is essential to understand how this type of policy works before purchasing one. Check out your options and choose one that is fit for your needs. When Can One File For Title Insurance Claims? The insurance policy will include a detailed list of the covered risks. It allows one to prevent the occurrence of financial loss due to problems with the property. See this article for some claim examples for more information. Fraudulent transactionsMunicipal zoning-by-laws and building permit violationsRegistered liens against the title of the propertyErrors found in the surveys and public recordsUnknown defects that prevent one from having ownership Hiring a real estate lawyer can help you understand how title insurance can protect you. Your lawyer can also explain to you the extent and limitations, as well as the inclusions, so you can come up [...]

Understanding The Key Items Of Your Title Insurance Policy 2019-11-21T06:39:17+00:00

Four Reasons To Consider a Power Of Attorney in a Real Estate transaction

Most of the time, real estate transactions happen between individual buyers and sellers and documentation must be signed in person in front of a real estate lawyer. However, some circumstances, an individual is not availabe in person to sign the required closing documentation. They may be able to transfer their legal rights to transact to someone else. To be able to do this, one should execute a power of attorney (POA) to a representative.  Thus, the representative will have the legal authority to act on one’s behalf. Reasons To Consider Assigning POA Dealing with real estate matters is a huge responsibility. It involves a complex process that requires attention. However, not everyone can watch over or perform each task. If you think you can relate to any of the following reasons, you might want to consider POA. POA provides convenience. There are times when the seller or buyer of a property cannot attend to the transactions personally as they are out of town or the country due to work or an extended vacation. . If you are busy with your job, business, or something else, granting a [...]

Four Reasons To Consider a Power Of Attorney in a Real Estate transaction 2019-11-21T06:20:32+00:00

Types of Mortgages In The Province of Alberta

Buying a new home is a dream for Edmonton residents, and finding the right home is only the first step. You’ll also have to determine what kind of mortgage you want to get to purchase your home, and understanding the types of mortgages available is an important any home buyer needs to take. A mortgage is nothing more than a loan given to a borrower in order to purchase a home. If the borrower fails to repay the debt, the lender has the right to take possession of the property. The mortgage loan will secure the repayment of the loan by registering a mortgage on the property title.  The type of mortgage registered will depend on your mortgage lender.  You will likely not have an option as to the type of mortgage that they choose to register but it is important to understand the one that they do. Let’s look at the types of mortgages that are now offered by mortgage lenders in Edmonton.  Collateral Charge Mortgage This type of mortgage is designed to contain the maximum amount of debt that can be secured. In these [...]

Types of Mortgages In The Province of Alberta 2019-11-15T19:01:03+00:00

The Five Stages Of The Home Buying Process

Owning your own home is a great milestone. But actually getting into that home is a process that involves several steps, and understanding each of them is important. Mortgage Pre-approval
 Getting preapproval for a home loan doesn’t mean that you’re obligated to take out the loan or to purchase a home, but it does give you a good idea the amount of loan you can secure and property that you can afford. This, in turn, makes it easier to set a realistic budget for owning a home and allows you to make offers with more confidence. Shop For Your Home 
 This is the fun part. Spend some time using online real estate listings or talking to a broker to find the homes that fit into your needs, wants, and budget. It’s important to spend time making sure that you find the right property for your needs – after all, this is a big purchase. Putting In Your Offer 
 Once you find the home, you’ll want to put in an offer. Your Realtor will review property titles and can help you determine what a fair [...]

The Five Stages Of The Home Buying Process 2019-11-15T19:00:46+00:00

The Basics Of Land Titles In Alberta

What Is The Land Titles System For? 
 Land titles and the Land Titles Office are just what they sound like – they are the system which all land manages ownership. The system used in Alberta is based on the Torrens System, which gives the Government custody of all original titles. The government actually guarantees the accuracy of the titles through their various laws, protecting those who may suffer a loss due to a mistake on the title itself. The system manages titles as well as surveys, which in turn provides a detailed breakdown and map of each property including its boundaries and all structures on it. Finding titles within the land titles system is possible using an online system or at the main office which is located in downtown Edmonton, but most owners rely on their Edmonton real estate lawyer to handle the process of locating, reviewing, and filing these documents on their behalf. Land Ownership In Alberta 
 The ownership of land in Alberta is based on the laws of England, modified over the years until it has reached the point it is today. [...]

The Basics Of Land Titles In Alberta 2019-11-15T18:59:23+00:00

City of Edmonton Property Tax Guide When Purchasing A New Home From A Builder

When buying a new home from a Builder, it’s important to consider and discuss how municipal property taxes are assessed and charged with your real estate lawyer in Edmonton. How it works will depend on the terms of your purchase contract.  There are several things to consider. Types of Property Taxes 
 First, you’ll want to understand the basics of the two primary types of property tax on new homes and how tax is assessed. Original Tax Assessment – In this scenario, the city will assess your property at the beginning of the calendar year and determine its value. In cases where the home is under construction at the time of the assessment, the overall assessment value is based on the lot only and will be lower than the final value of the home in most cases. This is the assessment that is used to calculate the initial annual tax bill. Supplementary Tax Assessment – Once the home is fully constructed or almost fully constructed, the city will do another assessment and determine the actual value for the home. They will then levy any applicable additional [...]

City of Edmonton Property Tax Guide When Purchasing A New Home From A Builder 2019-11-15T18:59:02+00:00

Common Real Estate Terms

Terms that come up in your real estate home purchase or sale closing. Condition Date/Day – The date by which the conditions for the buyer and seller must be met for the deal to proceed. In real estate, conditions may include obtaining financing and a property inspection approval. If these conditions are not waived or met by the respective condition date, then the contract effectively ends, and there is no transaction. Closing Date – When the ownership of land is transferred to the new owner. The Transfer of Land is registered at the Land Titles Office. By this date, the payment of the purchase price needs to be fulfilled. At the closing date, the real estate transaction is considered complete. This is also, typically, the same date as the possession date. The Closing Date is not the day the conditions are removed which is called the Condition Date. Completion Date – same as the Closing Date.   Possession Date/Day – When the physical possession of the property (through the transfer is keys) is transferred from the seller to the buyer. Keys are usually received between 12pm [...]

Common Real Estate Terms 2019-09-15T19:23:35+00:00

Problems After Possession

Can you sue the seller if you discover problems with your house after moving in? This article addresses problems at the time of possession and problems discovered after possession. Problems arising after Possession You’ve bought your first home and surprise your first spring there is flooding in the basement causing thousands of dollars of water damage. After speaking with the neighbours, you learn that there had been instances of flooding in the basement with the previous owner as well. You are upset! The house seemed to be in great condition without any apparent damage or structural issues when you first viewed it. You had a home inspection conducted by a professional, who stated that there are no notable plumbing or electrical defects or evidence of previous water damage. Neither the seller nor the realtor disclosed that there were any issues. Now what? Can you sue the seller?It depends. (Typical lawyer answer, right?) Suing the Seller for Breach of ContractAccording to the current standard residential purchase contract in Alberta, the seller provides a warranty to the buyer that they must disclose any known Material Latent Defects to [...]

Problems After Possession 2019-09-15T19:11:43+00:00

What are property tax adjustments?

How are property taxes adjusted when you buy a home? When buying or selling a property, a portion of the annual property tax will be factored into the amount that you are paying or receiving, called the property tax adjustment. Property tax adjustments are for the purpose of ensuring that the buyer and seller are only paying for the property taxes for the time that they own the property. Real estate purchase contracts include clauses that note that property taxes will be adjusted to credit the buyer or seller, to ensure that the parties are aware. Property taxes are calculated according to the Adjustment Date, which may or may not be the same as the possession date. The Adjustment Date is when the buyer begins to assume responsibility for the property taxes. The City does not adjust taxes between the seller and buyer.  This is done by the lawyers on the closing of the real estate transaction. When calculating the adjustment, the first thing to understand is that taxes are assessed for the period of Jan 1 to Dec 31 of each year. This means that, [...]

What are property tax adjustments? 2019-07-09T17:59:18+00:00

What is a Hold back in a Real Estate transaction?

What is a Holdback? An agreed upon dollar amount that is not released to the seller on the closing of a real estate transaction until a certain item is completed/provided.  For example, the seller may agree to complete the landscaping, and agrees to hold back $5,000.00 until the landscaping is complete.  The terms of the agreement to hold back these funds are usually agreed to in writing by the buyer and the seller, or agreed on between their respective real estate lawyers. When is a holdback negotiated? Sometimes a holdback is addressed at the time of negotiating the purchase and sale contract.  Other times, issues arise after the completion of the purchase contract and a holdback needs to be dealt with by either a written addendum to the purchase and sale contract, or between the lawyers. Outstanding items and holdbacks are often not anticipated during the negotiation stage and not addressed in the offer to purchase. This leaves the realtor or lawyer to negotiate a holdback once the purchase contract has already been signed.  At this point, there is generally no obligation on the part of [...]

What is a Hold back in a Real Estate transaction? 2019-10-17T02:00:06+00:00

What is “Dower Consent”?

What is Dower? Dower rights are meant to protect the property interests of a spouse who is not legally registered on title. Originally, dower rights were created to ensure that widows could continue to use the family home after their husband’s death, even if they were not the registered property owners.  When does the Dower Act apply? In Alberta, if you are married and own property (that is registered in your name alone), you are required to obtain your spouse’s consent if you choose to mortgage, sell or lease the property for longer than 3 years. Dower rights protect the interests of a spouse of a property owner, ensuring that the property is not sold or burdened without their consent. Why do you need to sign a Dower Consent? To avoid legal sanctions that come from neglecting dower rights, signing a dower consent during a sale transaction or signing a dower release, are potential solutions. Signing a dower consent is also necessary in some circumstances, to obtain a mortgage, because the mortgagers try to avoid circumstances where the absence of consent bars them from enforcing their [...]

What is “Dower Consent”? 2019-06-20T01:22:36+00:00

Joint Tenants vs. Tenants-in-Common

Different types of co-owned property, such as real estate, can be held as either joint tenancy or tenancy in common. Whether the ownership structure is of joint tenancy or tenancy in common signifies whether the parties are essentially treated as the same party, or as distinct co-owners. Conceptually, in a joint tenancy, the parties are united in their possession, interests, title, time and intention. In comparison, for a tenancy in common, the only unity required between the parties is the unity of possession. The Unities Broken-down The unity of possession means that all co-owners have an identical right to possess and use the property. Through both joint tenancy and tenancy in common, neither party can disallow the other from using or possessing the property. The unity of interest means that all co-owners have the same rights and obligations in respect to the property. This is present for joint tenancies, but for a tenancy in common, the parties may own unequal shares of the property. The unity of time refers to the fact that the joint tenancy started and ended at the same time for both parties. [...]

Joint Tenants vs. Tenants-in-Common 2019-10-17T02:07:13+00:00

My #1 (and #2) piece of advice if you are considering buying a home

As Real Estate Lawyer, my # 1 piece of advice if you are considering buying or selling a home: Choose experienced professionals that you are comfortable working with - this includes your realtor, mortgage representative and real estate lawyer.  They will help guide you through the process. Most stress and issues in the home ownership process comes from not having the right people working with you from the beginning. And my #2 piece of advice: If you have a question or are concerned about anything, ASK.  Lawyers offer a professional service.  We are here to serve you.  Our job is to make sure you that understand and are comfortable with your transaction. Our lawyer looks forward to answering your questions. Real Estate Law is all we do and we love talking about it! Watch this video to hear top real estate professionals offer their tips about the home buying process. https://youtu.be/PC22KLLIOLg

My #1 (and #2) piece of advice if you are considering buying a home 2019-10-17T02:08:32+00:00

What questions should you ask your Real Estate Lawyer?

Your lawyer will anticipate most of your questions and provide you with most of the information you need when you first start working with them. There are at least 3 questions you should ask: Fee - You should ask your lawyer: What their legal fee is, How the fee will be calculated, When and what type of payment is accepted. GIARDINO LAW charges FLAT FEES - this means we provide you the total cost at the beginning of your transaction. No hidden or surprise legal fees. Communication - You should ask your lawyer who to contact if you have any questions and what the best way is to contact them. Some prefer phone calls, some prefer emails, some will even text messages or have a client portal – your lawyer should tell you what they prefer. You may not always deal with directly with the lawyer. Your point of contact may be their legal assistant. Your lawyer should be able to answer your questions – don’t be afraid to ask. Your lawyer may not be able to respond to you immediately – a lawyer usually deals [...]

What questions should you ask your Real Estate Lawyer? 2019-10-17T02:25:24+00:00

What can you expect in working with a Real Estate lawyer?

Your lawyer represents you and will advocate for your interests above the interests of others, and even above their own.If there is an issue with your closing transaction, you can be assured that your lawyer will provide you with an evaluation of the issue, including any risks, so that you can make an informed decision that is best for you.Your lawyer is usually competent in all aspects of the home ownership process, so you can usually turn to them to answer any questions you might have. With Giardino Law, you can expect us to... Be responsive and communicate with you effectivelyGive you clear information about:Fees: we will explain to you how you will be charged and when and how payment is expected.Services: Your lawyer will explain the service that they offer, what is included and not included.The steps involved in the process. Be accessible. Your lawyer is open to answer any questions that you have throughout the process. Be competent. If you choose a lawyer experienced in real estate conveyancing, they will be knowledgeable about all aspects of your transaction and they will be able to [...]

What can you expect in working with a Real Estate lawyer? 2019-10-17T02:14:51+00:00

Why do I need a Real Estate Lawyer to handle the closing of my home sale or purchase?

A Real Estate Lawyer handles the closing of your home sale or purchase. The seller's and buyer's real estate lawyers lawyers will work with the real estate agent and mortgage lender to handle the transfer of the property ownership from the seller to the buyer, and the payment of the purchase price to the seller according to the terms of your purchase and sale contract.  This usually includes making sure that: The property title is transferred to you free of any financial encumbrances, Municipal property taxes are current, Condominium fees and home association fees are current. The lawyer will prepare all of the documentation required to complete the closing process, meet with you in person to sign the paperwork, and explain the process to you as well as answer your questions. Your lawyer will explain their role to you including what services they provide and don’t provide.  It is important to understand what services your lawyer will provide to you.  You may expect your lawyer to, for example, do a complete search of municipal permits related to your property but this may not be included in [...]

Why do I need a Real Estate Lawyer to handle the closing of my home sale or purchase? 2019-10-17T02:23:52+00:00

Sale of a Property by a Non-Resident

IMPORTANT:  This is not tax advice. Talk to an accountant. Do not delay addressing this issue with an accountant as it will delay receipt of the proceeds of your sale.  This information is provided by me for information only so you can understand why there may be a hold back from the sale proceeds.   Canadians who purchase Taxable Canadian Property (TCP) from non-residents of Canada could be liable for taxes of up to 50% of the purchase price if the Purchaser and the Seller fail to comply with the reporting and withholding requirements governed by section 116 of the Income Tax Act (Act). This applies where the Seller of a property is Non-Resident of Canada.  Eg the seller lives in the USA and is selling their vacation home in Canmore.  The Seller is to pay the tax but the Purchaser is liable to the CRA if the Seller does not pay them. TCP defined TCP includes: Real property that is situated in Canada. The Canadian government has the right to tax a non-resident's sale of TCP. The tax is calculated on either capital gain or [...]

Sale of a Property by a Non-Resident 2019-03-29T19:04:28+00:00

Closing Process for Buying a New Condo from a Builder

The process for taking possession and title for a new condominium differs from most home purchases.  The major difference is that the purchase funds cannot be released to the builder until the property title is transferred to the buyer's name.  This means that the closing cannot occur using the Western Conveyancing Protocol which is a time saving way to close real estate transactions that allows the seller to be paid before the title is registered in the buyer's name.  Title Insurance also cannot be used to expedite the closing. So what this means for you is that the timeline to close from the lawyer side of things is longer. As soon as you receive notice of your possession date, you must notify your lawyer and your mortgage lender.   You then must arrange a meeting with your lawyer as soon as possible to sign the paperwork that transfers the condo to you.  Your lawyer can then send the title to be registered at the Land Titles Office.  The timeline for registration can be 2 to 4 weeks depending on the volume of documents the Land Titles [...]

Closing Process for Buying a New Condo from a Builder 2019-10-17T01:56:57+00:00

Mortgages 101

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada provides a lot of useful information for new home buyers and mortgages.  You can visit their site here. Some of the topics they cover are: Down payment Find out how much money you need to put down to be able to get a mortgage. Home Buyers' Plan See how you could use RRSPs for the down payment. Mortgage payments: understanding interest versus principal Learn how your mortgage payments are applied to the loan. Choosing a mortgage type Learn about the differences between open and closed mortgages Choosing an amortization period See how this affects how much interest you pay. Choosing a mortgage term Look at your options before making your choice. Understanding fixed and variable interest rates Read about the differences and how the decision will affect your payments. Frequency of payments See how accelerated payment options can save you thousands of dollars. Mortgage default insurance Get the details and examples of how this works. Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) Learn about an option for borrowing on your home's equity. Before you start shopping around for a mortgage Make sure your [...]

Mortgages 101 2019-06-27T17:00:16+00:00

2 critical things to know if your mortgage is insured

What is Mortgage Loan Insurance? Mortgage loan insurance is an insurance policy that protects your mortgage lender in case you default on your mortgage. Mortgage loan insurance is usually required where your downpayment is less than 20% of your purchase price.  Mortgage loan insurance is offered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ("CMHC") and Genworth Financial Canada ("GE").  There are different types of insurance available and you must be approved for an insured mortgage (your lender arranges it). If you default on your mortgage, the mortgage loan insurance will kick in and pay the amount that you owe on your mortgage to your mortgage lender. How much is it and who pays for it? You pay the mortgage lender's insurance premium and this amount is usually added to the principal amount of your mortgage.  The insurance premium is based on a percentage of your home's purchase price. Mortgage Loan Insurance is not Mortgage Life or Critical Illness Insurance which is insurance that may pay out your mortgage when you die. 2 Critical Things to know if your Mortgage is Insured If you default on your mortgage, [...]

2 critical things to know if your mortgage is insured 2019-10-17T02:26:48+00:00