What is the legal process of buying a residential property?

IMG_0755_6_7AutoMuch of the process of buying a home happens before we get involved. We always encourage realtors and mortgage brokers to introduce their clients to us prior to removing any purchaser conditions in a purchase agreement. We like to review the purchase agreement with a client, and review title with our client prior to them removing any conditions. Assuming all is well, the client removes conditions and then we get to work. We create all the legal documents required to complete the transaction, circulate these to the seller’s lawyer, meet with the client to review and execute the documents, close the transaction and then complete a post-closing/reporting process.

Once conditions are removed, the realtor must send over the final version of the purchase agreement. If the client is obtaining a mortgage, the lender must send us mortgage instructions. Once we have those two key documents, we can commence work on the file. We must complete third party searches relevant to the property, including searching the municipality for property taxes, utilities and other potential applicable charges; obtaining strata information where applicable; obtaining insurance details; or obtaining title insurance if required. The general expectation is that a purchaser should leave at least 2 weeks between subject removal and closing to give the law firm enough time to complete the work required to get the purchase documents ready. This time frame can be reduced of course, and often is, but doing so results in a great deal more stress and anxiety for clients.

The BC land title system allows for transactions to complete electronically, and lawyers will use what are called “undertakings” to exchange money and documents. Most, if not all, of the transaction is often done by exchange of documents by email or fax. All funds are exchanged on the completion date pursuant to undertakings between lawyers.

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