Real Estate

Buying or selling a house?

Are you feeling the excitement of your first home? Are you considering downsizing? Whatever the reason, real estate transactions may seem daunting when dealing with the paperwork, land titles and your financial institution. Let me help you navigate the deal with solid, practical advice and assistance with the necessary paperwork and financial transfers.

Do I really need to hire a lawyer when buying or selling a house?

Yes. If you’re buying a house, you need a lawyer to search the title and property taxes and receive the signed documents from the seller’s lawyer and register them in the land titles registry. If you’re getting a mortgage, your lawyer will have you sign the necessary mortgage documents and register those too. Your lawyer will also assist in the transfer of funds from you and your mortgage company to the seller, through the seller’s lawyer.

If you’re selling a house, you need a lawyer to search the title and property taxes. The lawyer will draft the necessary documents to transfer the property, oversee your signing of them, and send them to the buyer’s lawyer. If you have a mortgage on the property, the lawyer will pay out the mortgage company from the proceeds of the sale and make sure the mortgage is discharged from the title. The lawyer will also assist in the transfer of the purchase funds to the real estate agent, if applicable, and you.

When buying or selling a house, when should I hire a lawyer?

It is good to find a lawyer when you start the process of buying or selling a house.

If you’re using a real estate agent, your real estate agent will want to know who your lawyer is when you’re ready to sign a purchase and sale agreement.

If you’re not using a real estate agent, you should contact a lawyer when you’re ready to sell or buy a house and you need a purchase and sale agreement, or the other side has given you a purchase and sale agreement to sign. If you’re not using a real estate agent, you should have your lawyer review the purchase and sale agreement before you sign it.

Can one lawyer represent both seller and buyer?

It depends on the facts of the situation. In Saskatchewan, it is usually possible for a lawyer to act for both a seller and a buyer, although it isn’t recommended.

How is the money transferred from the buyer to the seller?

The buyers’ lawyer will calculate the amount the buyers need to provide, based on the purchase price, mortgage proceeds and costs of the transaction. Preferably four or five days before the possession date the buyers will provide a bank draft or certified cheque to their lawyer for the calculated amount. The lawyer will deposit this amount in their trust account.

If the mortgage funds are coming from a credit union the credit union will usually advance the funds to the buyers’ lawyer on or before the possession date, if they are coming from a bank they will usually advance the mortgage funds after the title has been transferred and the mortgage registered.

The buyers’ lawyer will send a trust cheque to the sellers’ lawyer and then register the transfer documents when they are received from the sellers’ lawyer. After the transfer is registered the buyers’ lawyer requests the mortgage funds from the bank by bank draft or registered cheque, deposits them in the lawyer’s trust account and sends a trust cheque to the sellers’ lawyer. The sellers’ lawyer pays out any mortgage on the property, pays the real estate agents, deducts their expenses and disbursements and provides the seller with the remainder.

How long does the selling/buying process take?

This will depend on the facts of the situation. Once the sellers’ lawyer has received the required funds to transfer, and the buyers’ lawyer has received signed transfer documents, then the documents are filed with the land registry at ISC. It takes around two to four business days for ISC to register the documents.

The buyers can take possession of the property on the possession date as long as the sellers’ lawyer has received the necessary funds. The sellers will receive proceeds from the sale after the title has transferred successfully, mortgage proceeds have been received by the buyers’ lawyer and delivered to the sellers’ lawyer, the sellers’ mortgage has been paid out and all fees and disbursements have been paid.

Other Real Estate Resources:

Buying and Selling a Home – PLEA Saskatchewan
A guide to the law for buyers and sellers of residential real estate in Saskatchewan. It outlines common legal issues that arise in a typical real estate transaction. Buyers and sellers of real estate sign contracts and make other important personal, financial and legal decisions along the way.

First time home buyers (Saskatchewan) – The Home Expert Team
A few tips to help you in your search for a new home, and the process involved.

Saskatoon Mortgage Calculator –
Mortgage calculator contains Saskatoon current mortgage rates, so you can determine your monthly payments. Our calculator also includes mortgage default insurance (CMHC insurance), land transfer tax and property taxes.

The Home Buying Process – First Foundation
For many Canadians the home buying process can be complicated and frustrating. These are the basic steps in the process…

Notice: The information provided on this website is general in nature. It does not constitute legal advice to you and no solicitor client relationship will be established. The information pertains to the law and process in Saskatchewan, Canada and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. You should seek legal advice regarding your circumstances from a lawyer in your jurisdiction.