On the Bōde platform, homebuyers are empowered to take complete control over the purchasing their own home. They can manage the entire process from finding a home to view, all the way to possession day. Bōde supports homebuyers with the tools, data, and information they need to be successful, however having a real estate lawyer to finalize the transaction is still a necessary part of the home purchasing process!
We talked to Bōde Prō, Morgan F. Tingle – real estate lawyer, to find out why homebuyers need a lawyer during the process, what the lawyer takes care of, and how the buyers can ensure a smooth transaction.
1. Are lawyers or agents responsible for making sure all the documents are in order for the transaction?
Real estate lawyers are experienced in the legal aspect of home transactions and authorized to finalized a real estate transaction. Ultimately, an agent is not the one to ever complete this aspect of a purchase. Bōde provides standard industry contracts for home sale and purchase so home buyers can feel confident in purchasing without an agent and then, as with any home purchase, a lawyer is required to finalize the paperwork.
2. When should a buyer reach out to a lawyer for closing?
Buyers should find a lawyer ASAP after signing the offer contract (conditional or otherwise). This allows the buyer to be able to give their mortgage lender the name of their lawyer right away. Often, a big hold up of deals is the time it takes for the bank to send the lawyer office the mortgage instructions. The sooner a buyer takes this first step, means the sooner this process can get started.
Mortgage instructions are specific to the transaction and include: interest rate, amount of mortgage, purchaser names, amount of time to pay the mortgage, frequency of payment and other information. The real estate lawyer needs this information in order to complete the transaction paperwork.
3. How long does closing typically take?
Mortgage instructions take the most time and are the biggest variable between transactions. This process can take between days to weeks. On average, it would be recommended to have a minimum time of 2 weeks between the contract going unconditional and the closing date on the buyers side – unless the sale is a cash deal with no mortgage involved.
4. What should a buyer do if they have legal questions before they have a firm deal? Is this common?
It’s very common for buyers to have additional questions before they actually work directly with their real estate lawyer to finalize the purchase. Most lawyers are happy to answer questions for home buyers, and typically would not charge for a consultation like this. Give them a call and they will likely walk you through the basics.
5. What are the most common issues that come up during closing?
One of the biggest things that can hold up a real estate transaction during the closing process is when the seller is not prepared with their RPR (real property report). This is a requirement to sell a home in Alberta. Unless contracts are modified to exclude RPR from the documents to be delivered by seller, a RPR needs to be part of that – and must be current & compliant. Current means that it accurately represents the current improvements to the property. Anything you can see from a birds eye view of the property that is permanent in nature. A/C , sheds, decks, fences, structures, hot tubs, etc all need to be shown on the RPR. Compliant means that it has been given a stamp of compliance from the city after being received from the surveyor.
Another issue that can impact a home transaction, though will usually occur before closing, is financing. Approximately 98% of homes are bought using a mortgage. Make sure as a purchaser to get pre-approved for a mortgage before making an offer on a home and that the lender has done all steps required to get approval by the time you waive financing condition. The mortgage will need to be in place to close the deal and you could be held legally responsible if you are not able to purchase though home due to lack of financing if you prematurely remove that condition.
6. What can buyers do to ensure a smooth closing process?
In order to ensure the closing process goes smoothly, buyers should first find a lawyer and submit that information to their lender as soon as possible upon signing a purchase agreement.
Secondly, they should also make sure that the seller has a current and compliant RPR so that this will not hold up their deal.
Thirdly, the buyer needs to ensure they are able to remove their purchase conditions by the specified dates.
Finally, the buyer should be prepared to pay any outstanding amounts determined by the statement of adjustments. A statement of adjustments is prepared once all of the terms of the contract are known. It includes the closing date, deposits, the amount that has been paid in taxes, HOA fees, condo fees, and any other applicable previous payments. The lawyer will prepare this statement for the clients to review. The buyer will know based on that how much the entire transaction will cost. The homebuyer pays difference between the cost and mortgage amount. This amount is paid to their lawyer. Personal cheques are typically held by banks so not usually accepted during a real estate transaction as money has to be turned quickly, so bank drafts are usually more acceptable – but this can vary by firm.
So... How Do I Find My Dream Home?
Step By Step
If you don’t have your financial picture in hand, the best first step is to go to a mortgage broker to understand what you can afford.
Then, it is time to start looking at which neighbourhoods match your price point and home attributes.
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