Tag Archives: title search

Restricted

July 4, 2012

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Last summer, when we started up this blog, I wrote a post about title searching. I was thinking about this yesterday after I saw a client buying a property in the area that had a restrictive covenant on it.

A restrictive covenant is a requirement that you either do or not do something with your land. Generally, they are negative: you can’t build a fence, or you can’t have a clothesline attached to your house. More rarely, they are positive: you must keep landscaping maintained, or you must maintain a road. In this case, there is a restrictive covenant over a large portion of the municipality because of a rail line that runs through it; these clients are nowhere near the railroad, but the restriction is still there.

Most of the time, restrictions that we find on title are innocent or will not affect you in any way. We still search, however, because we want to make sure your property is not the one with the restriction you can’t live with.

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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When did you last look at your deed?

February 29, 2012

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Not long ago, many people in the Squamish area of British Columbia discovered that they do not in fact own the properties they have called home for years, and in some cases decades. This was essentially because of surveying errors by the provincial government related to First Nations treaties dating back over 100 years. The province has pledged to purchase the properties at market value for those who are affected, and those who wish to stay will be allowed to have the properties transferred to them because of an agreement reached with the Squamish Nation. The transfer process will likely be long and complex.

While this particular situation would almost certainly not have been discoverable through searches by the lawyers involved, considering the error was an improper survey pin placed in 1917, it still highlights the need to have proper searches done before you complete your purchase. As I blogged about here, there are a number of searches that real estate lawyers do as part of ensuring that you have clean and proper title to your home. And when you get your report, you can check out your deed to see exactly what you purchased.

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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Searching….

August 17, 2011

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Last week, I blogged about what real estate lawyers do. I mentioned four main components of what I do for my clients: searching title; communicating with lenders and the other lawyer; preparing documents; and registering/discharging mortgages and transfers. Today I’m going to focus on one of those points: title searches.

When you purchase a new home, you want to know that you own the house and the land, and that no one has any right to be on the land. You also want to know whether you will need access over anyone else’s property in order to properly access yours, and if so, whether you have a legal right to do that. In Ontario, we determine what exactly is on title to your house, and what comes with your house, through title searches at the Land Registry Office. You can physically go to the LRO to look at your property; all of these searches are public documents, provided you pay the appropriate fees. However, most real estate lawyers in Ontario do title searches through Teranet, which allows us access to all of the same documents that are available at the LRO through a web portal.

When I do title searches, I want to see a few things. First, are there any mortgages that the current owners have? If so, I get an undertaking (basically a promise) from the seller’s lawyer that the mortgage will be taken off title after closing. Second, are there any easements over the property? If the hydro company or a rail line has an easement (a right to be on your property for a specific reason), you want to know that before you buy so that you can decide whether it is too much of a burden. Similarly, I want to know whether there is a subdivision agreement still on title, or whether the builder has a right to enter onto the property for any length of time. One of the most important things that I search for is to see if there are restrictive covenants on title. These are often placed on title at the time the house is built, and can prevent you from building a fence, or having a shed, or cutting trees, among other things. Again, the question is always whether the restrictions are restrictive enough that you no longer wish to purchase the house. Title searches are very important to ensure that you know exactly what you are getting into.

 

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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What exactly does a real estate lawyer do?

August 10, 2011

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You speak with some realtors and find one you like. You interview some mortgage brokers and find one you like. You look at many homes, find one you love, make an offer, do your inspection, drop the paperwork off at the lawyer’s – and then wait for the lawyer to call the week before you close to come in and sign everything.

For most people, what a real estate lawyer actually does can be pretty mysterious. If your deal is going smoothly, we will barely need to be in touch with you until you come in to sign. Even if there are bumps, we can usually work them out with a few calls to your realtor, mortgage broker or the other lawyer.

What we do can be broken down into a few main parts.

1. Certification of title if you’re buying, or responding to title issues if you’re selling. This is one of the most important things I do as a buyer’s lawyer, because you want to know what you’re buying with the bricks and mortar. For example, there may be restrictions on whether you can have a clothesline or build a fence, or your neighbour may have an access easement over your lot. You will always want to know what’s there before you buy.

2: Communication with your lender (if you’re buying) and the other lawyer.

3: Preparation of documents. This will be the majority of what you see – there will be a stack of documents that you will need to sign (and you will eventually get a copy of everything).

4: Registration of the mortgage and transfer if you’re buying, and of the discharge of your old mortgage if you’re selling. Registration is the moment when the house becomes yours, or stops being yours. If you are selling, your old mortgage will have to be taken off title within a reasonable time after closing.

I will be expanding on most of these points over the next several weeks.

Basically, what I do for my clients is help them to buy what they think they’re buying, without anything they don’t want to take on, or to sell their homes with as little fuss as possible so that they can move into their new life.

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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