Buying, Selling or Refinancing Your Home or Residential Property? McQuarrie Can Help!
Our experienced private conveyancing lawyers efficiently provide all the services you need during the purchase, sale, or refinancing of residential property. Whether you are buying or selling a house, townhouse, or condominium, the dedicated solicitor conveyancers at McQuarrie will guide you throughout the process. As part of our comprehensive services, we assess your particular needs, explain any steps to completing your transaction, and draft and file all required documents.
If you’re ready to get started, you can contact our lawyers for a consultation right here on our website. You can also learn more about private conveyance and our services below.
How Solicitors for Conveyancing Advise Buyers and Sellers
With longstanding roots in New Westminster and Surrey, our solicitors for conveyancing have decades of experience assisting clients in Surrey, New Westminster, Vancouver, Langley, Coquitlam and other municipalities in British Columbia. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to work on both sides of the table for private conveyance matters, including the purchase, sale, and refinancing of homes.
Our real estate law team is well versed in:
- Drafting and reviewing purchase and sale agreements
- Reviewing mortgage documentation
- Advising on matters relating to title (including investigation and reporting on covenants, liens, judgments, easements, rights of way, permits, charges and other potential encumbrances or issues that affect buyers and sellers)
Our experience means, you get to enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your interests will be protected, and that you can have a complete understanding of your real estate transactions at all times.
Once you decide to proceed with the purchase or sale of property, our solicitor conveyancers take all the necessary steps to protect your interests during the conveyancing process. Specifically, we make sure that the proper documents are completed and filed with all the relevant financial institutions as well as the Land Title Office.
There can be a lot of paperwork involved in buying and selling a home. You can learn more about all of those steps in the next section. Depending on your circumstances, it can be a very complex process. At McQuarrie, our private conveyancing lawyers and paralegals have the expertise to efficiently guide you through your real estate transaction from start to finish.
Steps in the Conveyancing Process in British Columbia
Each real estate conveyance is unique and presents a distinct set of challenges. Generally speaking, the conveyancing process follows six broad steps.
1. Conveyancing often begins when a lawyer is given conveyancing instructions along with a signed contract of purchase and sale from a realtor and mortgage instructions from a lender.
2. Once the documents are received, a conveyancing lawyer will begin the due diligence process. This process includes reviewing the title to the property, investigating whether there are any mortgages, outstanding taxes, liens or other charges on the title as well as a series of other investigations to ensure that the transaction can complete as contemplated by the parties.
3. Once the due diligence process is complete, a conveyancing lawyer will begin the preparation of transaction documents, including the property conveyance deed. Two sets of documents are prepared: one for the seller and one for the buyer/borrower. There are various documents involved at this stage including mortgage documents, Form A transfers, statements of adjustment, Property Transfer Tax returns and GST certificates.
4. Following the signing of the documents by both the seller and the buyer, your lawyers will order funds from the lender, deposit the balance of funds from the buyer, and confirm that an excess deposit has been received.
5. Prior to the completion of transfer, the property conveyance deed and other documents are reviewed again and a pre-registration title search is performed. Once it has been confirmed that everything is in order, the transfer documents are filed and a post-registration search is performed. The proceeds are then paid to the seller and the keys to the property are exchanged. The conveyancing lawyer provides a final report to their client and associated parties stating that the property has been transferred.
6. Once the seller receives their proceeds, they pay any existing mortgages or other charges, provide proof of this action to the buyer’s lawyer, and have their lender sign a Form C – Discharge of Mortgage. The Discharge of Mortgage is then registered at the Land Title Office, enabling the buyer’s lawyer to order a State of Title Certificate. Once the State of Title Certificate is received, the conveyancing process is concluded.
Complex Real Estate Transactions
The relatively large size of our conveyancing department means we have the legal team necessary to easily handle large, complex real estate deals, including experienced property lawyers who can handle unique challenges. We respond quickly and efficiently to any unexpected issues that develop, and manage all of our complex files with a high level of attention.
If you are already in the process of a complex real estate transaction, we can offer you a dedicated team of conveyancing lawyers that have focused their practice on the handling of real estate matters.
Whatever your real estate needs, our residential conveyancing lawyers will provide you with the capable service that you are looking for.
Forms of Property Ownership
What are freehold and leasehold properties?
Freehold and leasehold properties are actually only two of the four common types of ownership. Generally speaking, there are four major types of home ownership that exist in British Columbia. To help our clients better understand what each of these forms of home ownership entails, we have developed a brief outline highlighting their differences.
Freehold ownership is, in many ways, the simplest type of home ownership. In freehold ownership, the owner of the residential property owns both the building and the ground that it is built upon. This manner of ownership provides owners with a great deal of freedom regarding building design, landscape work, and other aesthetic additions or renovations to the building or land in their possession.
The major restrictions that a freehold owner will encounter with respect to the use of their property will mostly originate from the zoning, bylaws, and permit limitations issued by the local city or municipality. It is also possible to be involved in a relationship that is both freehold and strata. Although more and more British Columbians are moving into condos and townhouses and exploring other forms of home ownership, freehold ownership remains the most common form of home ownership in Canada.
With the rapid increase in the amount of condos and townhouses available to real estate purchasers in the Lower Mainland, strata ownership is quickly becoming one of the most common forms of home ownership in British Columbia. A strata lot owner is granted sole ownership of a specific unit or lot within a larger building or development and is then represented by the representative council holding the freehold strata ownership over the condominium as a whole.
While the homeowner with strata title has full ownership of all the interior elements of their own unit, they also share ownership of common property that exists within the strata. Oftentimes this shared common property includes parking, amenity rooms, gym space, laneways, and the building’s entrances and exits. Strata ownership is regulated by rules agreed upon by a selected group of owners within the property that together form the strata council and, as such, is more restrictive than freehold ownership.
In British Columbia, leasehold ownership most commonly occurs on University Lands and First Nation reserve land. If you have leasehold interest in an area of land, then you have exclusive use of the property occupying that land for a designated period of time.
Generally speaking, the original leasehold ownership in BC is often set at 99 years. It is important to note that this time period is not reset with each new occupant of the leasehold property. For instance, if you sell your home with a leasehold interest of 99 years after living in it for ten years then the new occupant will have a leasehold interest set at 89 years. Leasehold interests can become particularly risky real estate investments as they approach the end of their lease, as the owner of the property (often a University or First Nations Group) can choose to resell the leasehold interest, redevelop the land entirely, or leave the area vacant.
Co-operative ownership is very similar to strata ownership in the sense that individuals living within a co-op often occupy a smaller suite within a larger building, and are responsible for paying for the maintenance of property through monthly fees.
Co-op members are also subject to the rules and regulations of a co-op board, which is very similar in make-up to a strata council. The major difference that exists between strata title and cooperative ownership is that, in co-operative ownership, individual’s own shares of the entire building or complex rather than the interior elements of the property that they live in.
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