July 3, 2013

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Executions

No, not the scary kind. Today’s topic: writs of execution in the sheriff’s office, and what this may mean on the sale of your home.

If you owe child support or spousal support, or lost a lawsuit and didn’t pay the judgement, or owed money to the bank that you skipped out on, or many other reasons why someone might be looking to collect some money from you, that creditor can register what is called a writ of execution in the sheriff’s office of the county or region where you live. In fact, the creditor can register the writ in every region in Ontario, in order to catch you if you move.

But, you will say, I have never done anything that could lead to a writ. So why do I need to care about this?

The problem with writs is that the system for checking for them is broad. If I look up John Edward Smith, I will get every John Smith and every Edward Smith. In order to make sure that none of the writs against either of those people attaches to your house, I have to be sure that you are not any of those people. If the writ is under $50,000.00, you can sign an affidavit that you are not the same person. If it is over $50,000.00, I will need to make a statement that I have confirmed that you are not the same person – and so in addition to an affidavit, I will also need a letter from the creditor confirming that, based on your birthdate and other information, you are not the same person as the one they are collecting funds from.

Writs are a very important tool to keep people who owe money from being able to skip town with the proceeds of a house. If you have a common name, however, you would be well advised to have your lawyer check your name early, and you should hold on to any evidence you acquire confirming that you are not the same person as the person named in the writ.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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June 26, 2013

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Happy long weekend!

The Canada Day long weekend is rapidly approaching here in the great white north. I’m looking forward to a nice break, filled with the first birthday party for my friend’s son, at least one barbeque and definitely some fireworks on Monday night. What I’m not looking forward to is the increased amount of fraud attempts that will be directed at my law firm.

The Avoid a Claim Blog regularly reports on frauds targeted at lawyers. Because we have trust accounts, we are frequent targets of people trying to turn bad money into good. The most regular fraud targeted at real estate lawyers is that of a matter that must be dealt with in a hurry, right before a long weekend; this gives the fraudster an extra day to try to get away with the good money.

At the best of times, it’s not much fun to have a rush deal come in to your office. Before long weekends especially, don’t expect anyone to be willing to take it on.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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June 19, 2013

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Who owns the lake bed?

Here’s an interesting conundrum as we approach the first weekend of the summer: what happens if the water’s edge changes?

There has been a very serious issue with Ontario’s lakes shrinking year over year. I was at a friend’s cottage last month and she was pointing out the rock they used to jump off into the lake as kids; it is now at least 10 metres away from the edge of the lake. When this is on a public beach, it just means more beach area. When it is in front of your cottage, however, it is a stickier issue.

The main question is: does your deed give you ownership to the high water mark or to the water’s edge? If you own to the water’s edge, and there is no shore road allowance, then you likely get the new (accreted) land. Otherwise, you may be out of luck – and with a dock on dry land.

If you are thinking of buying a cottage, there are many more considerations than the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You should see a lawyer who has experience with cottage properties – ideally before you even put in your offer.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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June 17, 2013

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Mortgage Monday Rate Update – June 2013

For those that are shopping for a new house, or looking to do a refinance (or even just a simple mortgage renewal), rates and numbers are an important part of the mortgage equation. When rates change even the slightest of percentage points, it could cost or save you thousands of dollars. Every once in a while, here on the Mortgage Monday posts, I’ll update you on what’s going on in the world of mortgage rates.

  • The Bank of Canada interest rate continues to be stuck at 1.00%.  The next meeting is in the middle of July, but indications are it will continue to stay where it is for a while yet.
  • The Bank of Canada prime lending rate is also holding steady at 3.00%. It has also been holding steady since Fall 2010 – if the bank rate goes up, the prime lending rate will follow.  We probably won’t see this start to move up well into 2013 or even 2014.
  • The qualifying rate (the rate you would need to qualify at for a variable mortgage) for a 5-year mortgage is still 5.14%. That being said, there are still not too many folks getting into a variable mortgage these days with fixed rates continuing to be so low.
  • The current best variable rate (can change on a daily basis) is in the prime-0.40% (2.60%) ballpark, though many lenders are still currently offering ‘prime’ as their variable rate.
  • The current best 5-year fixed mortgage rate (this can change daily) has started to creep upwards recent weeks and is now in the 2.99%-3.09% range, depending on qualifications and options.  Again, always contact your mortgage broker for current best rates for your situation (and as we’ve talked about previously, The Best Mortgage Rate is Not Always the Best Option).
  • While the “hot term” in Canada these days may be moving away from the 10-year and back toward the more common 5-year term, the full-featured, 10-year fixed mortgage continues to be popular with rates as low as 3.69% (check out my posts from last year on the 10-Year Mortgage Below 4% and Should You Consider a 10-Year Mortgage?).  Based on the history of lending rates, locking in for 10 years at well-below 4%, or 5 years for around 3% is nothing short of fantastic.

While I’m happy to provide an update on what’s going on as rates, if you’re interested on getting personalized mortgage advice, speak to your favorite mortgage broker who can help you decide the best rates and options for you.

Tim

Tim is a mortgage agent in Barrie who specializes in helping first-time home buyers. He works with a variety of lenders and can help customize a mortgage with the best rates & options that fit the needs of each customer.

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June 12, 2013

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SPIS

A Seller Property Information Sheet is a form designed to give buyers additional information about the house. It asks sellers to list any known defects, pending work orders or tax increases, oversight by any regulatory body such as conservation authorities, etc. The idea is that, if you disclose everything up front, you reduce your liability. Here’s the problem: it doesn’t reduce liability, primarily because they are often filled out wrong.

If you don’t say anything about the sprinkler system, believing it to be fine, the buyers have the responsibility of making sure that they do an inspection before closing. If it fails after closing, you are better protected as long as you didn’t hide any defects.

If, however, you say on the SPIS that there are no issues with the sprinkler system, and it turns out that there are, you have now been untruthful. This will cause a much bigger problem down the line, even if you honestly believed that there were no problems.

My view on the SPIS form is that I love them when I’m acting for buyers and hate them when I’m acting for sellers. If you are selling, you are probably better off not signing the form.

Cesia

Cesia is a real estate lawyer at Wall-Armstrong and Green, a boutique law firm in Barrie focusing on real estate and estates. When she's not online, she can usually be found in her garden.

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