Ask Us

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In which way should we take title to the property?

In Ontario there are many ways to own real estate, each with its own benefits and liabilities. When deciding how to take title, it is important to speak with your real estate lawyer to determine which is right for you.

  • Sole Ownership
  • Joint Tenancy
  • Tenancy in Common
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Do I need to hire a home inspector?

Unless you are planning to tear down the house in order to build a new one, we always recommend that you hire a home inspector.


This can be done either prior to making the offer or as a condition of it.


Contact us  to discuss which option is best for you.

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In terms of condominiums, what are interim occupancy fees?

When you purchase a pre-construction condominium from a developer, there is a period of time between when you take possession of the unit and when you take final ownership. This is known as the ‘occupancy period’ or ‘interim occupancy’. During this period the developer will request that you pay occupancy fees which are also known as ‘phantom rent’.

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Do I need home insurance?

When you purchase a property that is not a condominium, home insurance is required. You will have to provide your real estate lawyer with a copy of your home fire insurance binder.


In fact, your institutional mortgage lender will not advance the mortgage funds without proof of fire insurance.

When obtaining fire insurance coverage, speak with your insurance agent or broker about any other property insurance needs you may have.


If you purchased a condominium, you may also want to arrange for content insurance

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Should you sell your house before you buy a new one?

The answer to this question depends on the real estate market, your personal finances, and your comfort level taking risks. Both options have benefits and drawbacks.


Contact us to discuss which option may be best for you.

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What home information must be disclosed to a potential purchaser?

In Ontario it is not mandatory that sellers provide potential purchasers with a disclosure statement or a Property Seller Information Statement.

Patent vs. Latent Defects

Patent defects are those discoverable on a superficial inspection of the property by an ordinary purchaser.

A seller does not have an obligation to tell a potential purchaser about patent defects. An example of a patent defect might be a crack in the side of the home or a hole in the living room wall.


Latent defects are hidden but ought to be discoverable with a home inspection.


A seller is not liable for a latent, defect if they had no knowledge of it.


A seller does have an obligation to disclose latent defects such as if the property is dangerous or likely to be dangerous or unfit for habitation; for example, if there are mould issues.


A seller must also disclose any deficiencies to the purchaser after the agreement has been signed and prior to the closing date.


If the property has been stigmatized, (for example, if there has been a murder, suicide, or reports of paranormal activity on the property), the sellers have no obligation to advise potential purchasers.


As a purchaser, you have an obligation to ask as many questions as possible and complete due diligence on the property prior to signing the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If it is not in writing, it does not exist.

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I am not a Canadian resident. What happens when I sell my property?

If you are a non-resident of Canada at the time of closing, it is important that you contact our office as soon as possible.


You will have to apply for a non-residency clearance certificate through an accountant. This will usually result in 25% of the gross sale price being held (usually by the seller’s lawyer in trust) until the government non-residency clearance certificate has been obtained by the accountant who has filed the appropriate application. This process can take 60-90 days to process and must be submitted within 10 days of closing to avoid penalties.

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If I am not a resident of Canada, can I still purchase a residential property in Ontario?

Yes, non-residents can purchase properties in Ontario. The expenses (disbursements) and legal fees surrounding the purchase of a residential property are the same for non-residents as for residents.


However, if the non-resident does not work in Canada, meaning they don’t have a Canadian source of income, they will most likely have to pay a significant down payment. Non-residents should also be prepared to pay a land transfer tax; this is typically based on the total selling price.


Your real estate lawyer can make deductions of up to $2,000 for a property located in Ontario and up to $3,752 for the Toronto land transfer tax, if applicable, when the purchase is being closed. However, this is applicable only if the buyer is a first-time homebuyer and meets these criteria:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Needs to use the property as their principal property within the first 9 months of completing the purchase
  • Must never have owned residential property anywhere else in the world
  • Does not have a partner or spouse who has owned an interest in a residential property after the marriage
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What is the land transfer tax?

When purchasing land in Ontario, you have to pay a certain amount of money to the province. This amount is based on the total value of the land or property in question. First-time homebuyers may be eligible for a rebate either for part or the entire land transfer tax paid for the property.

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Is it possible to get the deposit back if I change my mind about the property in question?

It is possible. However, if the seller incurs mortgage holding costs, legal fees, or is unable to swiftly re-list and sell the property, there’s a good chance you’ll forfeit the deposit, either in part or in full.

There’s also a chance the other party may sue if there’s a big difference between your offer and the lower one made by the new buyer.

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Can I sue the buyer if they back out at the last minute?

While you can, keep in mind that court delays are time-consuming and inevitable and legal fees are costly. Instead, think about keeping their real estate deposit.

However, if you lost money holding the property or are seriously out of pocket, owing to a decline in the market between offers, it’s best to get in touch with a real estate lawyer.

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What should I do if I find a better property but have already signed an Agreement of Sale and Purchase?

The Agreement of Sale and Purchase is a legally binding contract and can be enforced by the court. This is why it isn’t a good idea to sign another agreement unless the seller of the first property is willing and agrees to release you, or you are willing and able to purchase both properties.

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Who signs the closing documents?

Ideally, every individual who holds the title of the property should sign the closing documents.

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Can the buyer and seller have the same lawyer?

While most parties generally have their own lawyer when signing an Agreement of Sale or Purchase in Ontario, it may happen that both parties want to hire the same lawyer. However, the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct generally forbid the same lawyer from representing both parties. Indeed, this is only possible in very limited and special circumstances.


On the other hand, it is possible for both parties to hire different lawyers from the same firm, provided that both are aware of and are willing to pay the dual retainer. If a conflict arises between the buyer and seller, both lawyers must withdraw.

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Why should I have a real estate lawyer review the contract before signing it?

Any real estate contract that has been prepared by a lawyer, broker, salesperson or real estate agent is a legal document that states the obligations and rights of the buyer and seller. It also establishes the terms of the transaction. This makes it crucial to hire a lawyer to review the contract and make sure everything is in order. They are your best bet to ensure that the clauses have been mentioned and used accurately and that they reflect the terms of the transaction that have been agreed to by both parties. This can go a long way towards protecting the client and ensuring that the transaction is completed smoothly.

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Are the property title and deed the same thing?

No. The property title is a document that states your rights related to the land in question. The deed is a legal document that transfers the land rights from the seller to the buyer, or the other way around.