Selling Real Estate
We would like to explain some of the things we, as your law firm, will be doing in completing your sale of land. The process is a complicated, and often confusing one, but you should understand how the land is transferred, what you are signing, and what happens to all of the money which disappears along the way. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale is the contract between you and the purchaser, and its contents will determine your obligations, although many of those obligations are standard.
What We Need From You
In order to begin, we will need your copies of your Deed/Transfer of Land, your mortgage(s), your tax bills for the current year, and a Survey, if you have one. The Agreement of Purchase and Sale will determine if more is required.
You may be bound to deliver a Survey whether you already have one or not. The Survey you have may not be sufficient. On the other hand, you may not have any obligation to deliver a Survey at all. The Survey, like many other items, will depend upon the terms of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. We will be advising you of any special items required.
We will be preparing a Deed/Transfer of Land and many related documents, to transfer ownership to the purchaser of the land. We will ask you to sign these documents, and will hand them over to the buyer's lawyer with the keys when he delivers the balance of the money due. This is the closing of the transaction.
Questions Of Title
The buyer's lawyer will investigate the title to the land, and will make demands, called requisitions, upon us, for documents which he, or she, requires in order to clear up any questions concerning the title, and to eﬀect a valid transfer of that title. We will attempt to answer those demands.
Statement Of Adjustments
The balance due on closing is arrived at by use of the Statement of Adjustments. You are credited with the sale price of the property while the buyer is credited with the deposit. The taxes are adjusted by dividing the yearly total by 365 and multiplying that daily amount by the number of days during the year that you will be the owner of the property. This calculation tells us how much of the yearly totaled you are responsible for, and adjustments (credits to either you or the buyer) to the balance sheet are made to add to the price of the home if you have paid more than your share, or to subtract from the price of the home if you have paid less. The same thing can be done for water bills. As the seller's lawyer, it is up to us to prepare this document and deliver it to the lawyer for the buyer.
If the home is oil heated, you should arrange to have the tank filled on the date of closing. You will be responsible for paying for the oil required to fill the tank, but this cost will be adjusted for by adding it on to the monies due from the buyer.
You should notify the Hydro and gas companies providing services to the home that you will not be responsible for charges beyond the date of closing, and ask that they have the meter read on the date of closing. Your local municipal water department should also be notified, and arrangements made to have the water meter read on the date of closing.
If there are any mortgages on the property, we will need the name and address of the mortgage lender, and the reference number used by the mortgage lender. I will be contacting the mortgage lender for a written statement of the amount required to discharge the mortgage. There are a great variety of mortgages, and a multitude of special terms in mortgages, but it is common for first mortgage holders to be entitled to a bonus if you wish to discharge the mortgage before its term is up (i.e. three months interest by way of bonus). Please remember that mortgages are paid in ARREARS and not in advance (like rent). Your first mortgage payment was due one month after the money was advanced. If you are completing your sale on the last day of the month, and your mortgage payment is due on that day, you will still be responsible for that payment, though I will advise you if we will make that payment out of the monies due on closing. The mortgage payment is always for the month preceding the date of the payment.
At the same time that you sign the Deed/Transfer, we will be asking you to sign various Affidavits. These are statements, under oath, and you should be very sure that they are accurate. These Affidavits will include confirmation of your marital status, your Canadian residency, the full sale price of the property, the fact that the Sheriﬀ holds no writs of execution against you, that you hold no adjoining land, that this is a resale of land so that GST is not payable, and a host of other matters.
When all of the documents are prepared and signed, all requisitions on title answered, and the balance due on closing calculated , we will arrange with the lawyer for the buyer to close the transaction. The closing involves my exchanging the Deed/Transfer and the other documents as well as the keys for the money. You are required to give up vacant possession of the property AT THE TIME OF CLOSING. Most of the keys to the building are usually left on the kitchen counter, and one key delivered to me to be turned over to the lawyer for the purchaser on closing. Please be sure to bring one key with you when you come to sign the final documents, so that we can arrange for it to be delivered to the purchaser's lawyer on closing.
We would suggest that you do not allow the buyers to move into the house before closing, or even to move goods into the residential portions of the house. Should something unforeseen go wrong, they may be legally regarded as tenants and you will have a hard time getting them out of the home.
Any items that are affixed to any part of the home, or are commonly regarded as permanent in nature, may NOT be removed. All too often we see someone trying to save a few hundred dollars by taking a fixture, like a light fixture, a bathroom mirror, a water softener, or removing broadloom, only to end up paying thousands of dollars in damages. It is just not worth it to do this. If you have some doubt about whether an item is a fixture and must go with the house, or personal property that can be removed by you, please telephone us to discuss the issue before acting on your own.
Fees And Disbursements
We will deduct our fee and disbursements (monies paid out by us on your behalf (and contractual obligations made by you such as real estate commission), from the monies received on closing. The balance of the money will be forwarded to you directly, or as per your direction to us.
This has been an oversimplified, and necessarily sketchy, picture of some of the basics of sale of land. The conduct of your transfer will depend upon the terms of your Agreement of Purchase and Sale and upon the state of the title to your land. We will do all that we can to ensure that the transfer is eﬀected smoothly and efficiently.