On the Bōde platform, homeowners are empowered to take complete control over the sale of their own home. They can manage the entire process from creating a listing, all the way to possession day. Bōde supports homeowners 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 selling process!
We talked to Bōde Prō, Morgan F. Tingle – real estate lawyer, to find out why homeowners need a lawyer during the sale process, what the lawyer takes care of, and how the sellers 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 home sale. Bōde provides standard industry contracts for the home sale and purchase so home sellers can feel confident in listing their own home without an agent and then, as with any home sale, a lawyer is required to finalize the paperwork.
2. When should a seller reach out to a lawyer for closing?
For sellers, it is not necessary to find a lawyer ahead of when they are needed to finalize the transaction. Unlike with the buy side, sellers are not required to submit documents ahead of time so hiring a lawyer only once they a needed will not slow down the transaction. Once they have a firm contract with a defined closing date, then they should reach out to find a lawyer that will help with conveyancing the transaction.
The lawyer will prepare the necessary documents and will order a payout statement for the mortgage of seller (if applicable). To facilitate this the seller will provide the mortgage number to their lawyer. Their lawyer will pay out the bank from proceeds of the sale and gets the mortgage discharged. Any remaining amount from the sale will be paid out to the seller.
3. How long does closing typically take?
Assuming everything is in order, the closing on the sell side should be able to be completed within a matter of days to less than a week.
The buy side could take longer to close if they are waiting on their bank to send mortgage instruction to their lawyer. 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 seller do if they have legal questions before they have a firm deal? Is this common?
It’s very common for sellers to have additional questions before they actually work directly with their real estate lawyer to finalize the home sale. Most lawyers are happy to answer questions for home sellers, 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 not being prepared with an 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 the 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.
A previous RPR can be used by the seller if it is still current. If a seller is using a previous RPR, they will need to sign a statutory declaration to accompany it stating that nothing has changed. It is best for sellers to find or get this documentation prepared as soon as possible so that it does not hold up the closing process.
6. What can sellers do to ensure a smooth closing process?
In order to ensure the closing process goes smoothly, sellers should first make sure that they have a current and compliant RPR ready to be submitted during the closing process.
Secondly, they need to complete any required terms from the purchase contract prior to closing. Terms may include things such as repairs to the property. Not completing these items could result in legal action being taken from the buy side.
Finally, the seller should contact their lawyer once they have a firm contract in to begin the conveyancing process. At this time they should give their lawyer their existing mortgage information (if applicable) so that the process of discharging their existing mortgage can be completed.
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