Real Estate FAQ

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1What information should I provide to my lawyer to close my purchase transaction?

Your lawyer will require the following information:

Signed copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale; Name of the Mortgage Lender (if you are placing a mortgage on the property); Date of Birth - The lawyer requires the dates of birth of all purchasers; Address for Service, Title Instructions, Property Insurance; Closing Funds; Photo Identification.

2How should I prepare for my purchase and sale closing?

Prior to closing, your lawyer will advise tax, water, hydro and gas of the change of ownership at the closing date. Clients are advised to contact each company to set up their account and payment schedule.

Clients are responsible for contacting telephone, cable, satellite, surveillance and internet companies to set-up their services.

3What is a Status Certificate?
If you are purchasing a resale condominium, it is likely that your purchase will be conditional upon our review of the Status Certificate. A Status Certificate is a report on the status of the condominium corporation. It provides helpful information such as whether the seller is up-to-date with their current monthly maintenance fee payments, whether the monthly fees are expected to increase, if the condominium corporation's reserve fund is adequate, or if there are any special assessments, liens, judgments against the condominium corporation or if it is involved in any legal proceedings and if any major repairs are required.
4Is fire insurance mandatory?

Residential purchases cannot be completed without proof of fire insurance, if you are obtaining a mortgage. It is mandatory that your fire insurance agent provide your lawyer with a fire insurance binder (letter confirming insurance) prior to closing. This binder should include the details of any mortgagees and must contain the guaranteed replacement cost coverage.

For condominium purchasers, the condominium corporation arranges insurance for the entire condominium complex. It is still recommended that individual unit owners obtain contents liability insurance. Fire insurance coverage should always be placed before closing, becoming effective on the day of closing.

5What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance is an insurance policy issued by an insurance company which insures or indemnifies the homebuyer and mortgage lender against loss or damage sustained as a result of covered title risks and defects. It indemnifies a person up to the face amount of the policy in the event that a loss arises from one or more specified causes. It also insures against various problems which would have been disclosed by an up-to-date survey of the property and against the property’s failure to comply with municipal or other applicable regulatory authority requirements.

In simple words, Title Insurance is an insurance policy covering the condition of title or ownership of real property at the time the policy is issued. It provides ownership protection for a purchaser against losses or damages suffered as a result of title problems.

6Are lawyers required to obtain title insurance?
No, lawyers are not required to obtain title insurance: however, The Law Society of Upper Canada requires that all lawyers when acting for purchasers inform their clients about title insurance and its advantages, conditions and limitations.
7Do you recommend that purchasers obtain title insurance?

Yes, we recommend that purchasers obtain Title Insurance as no lawyer can completely assure a purchaser that there are no undisclosed claims, or that what appears to be the signature of the prior owner or consenting spouse is a true signature or that there has been no fraud or forgery involved with the subject property. Title insurance can satisfy these gaps in the traditional lawyer’s opinion on title. The coverage for fraud and forgery covers both the period prior to closing and after. With title insurance, the lawyer is not required to complete the many searches that are normally required for a lawyer's opinion on title. As a result the fee for the title insurance is offset by avoiding completing these searches, which each have an associated fee, and closings are not delayed by having to wait for responses to these search enquiries.

Title Insurance does not replace the role of lawyer but it simply provides an added level of protection for the buyer.

8What is a survey?

The main purpose of a survey is to provide property owners with an accurate description of the dimensions of their property by setting property markers on the corners, and reporting on any additions or improvements that were made to the property over time (such as adding a fence or new building). Under the laws of Ontario, only a licensed Ontario Land Surveyor may provide this information. A survey is often required by property owners who wish to make changes to their property (add a building, building a fence, installing a pool etc.).

9How much is Land Transfer Tax?
If you are purchasing a property in Toronto, your purchase will be subject to both the Toronto (Municipal) Land Transfer Tax and the Ontario Land Transfer Tax. Purchases outside of Toronto will only be subject to the Ontario Land Transfer Tax.
10What is Provincial Land Transfer Tax and Municipal Land Transfer Tax?
When you buy a house, condo or land in Ontario, you are subject to land transfer tax which is due upon closing. If you purchase land or an interest in land in Ontario you are required to pay the Provincial Land Transfer Tax (PLTT). If you have purchased this land or an interest in land located in Toronto, you are required to pay the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) in addition to the PLTT.
11How much land transfer tax refund could I receive as a first time purchaser of property in Ontario?

Beginning January 1, 2017, the maximum amount of the refund is $4,000. The increased limit of $4,000 applies only to conveyances or dispositions that occur on or after January 1, 2017, regardless of the date the agreement of purchase and sale was signed.

Beginning January 1, 2017, no land transfer tax would be payable by qualifying first time purchasers on the first $368,000 of the value of the consideration for eligible homes. First time purchasers of homes greater than $368,000 would receive a maximum refund of $4,000.

12How much land transfer tax refund could I receive as a first time purchaser of property in Toronto?

A rebate to a maximum of $3,725.00, will apply to first-time purchasers of both new and existing residential properties. This means that first-time purchasers of residential properties with a consideration value of $400,000.00 or less will receive a maximum rebate of $3,725.00.

A first-time purchaser of a residential property with a consideration value of $600,000.00 would pay a land transfer tax of $7,725.00, and receive a rebate of $3,725.00.

A first-time purchaser of a residential property with a consideration value of $300,000.00 would receive a rebate of $2,725.00.

13How do I calculate Land Transfer Tax?
Ontario Land Transfer Tax is payable at the time of registration of your transfer and is based on the consideration paid for your property.
14What is RRSP home buyers Plan?
The Home Buyers' Plan (HBP) is a program that allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 in a calendar year from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or for a related person with a disability.
15What is Tarion New Home Warranty coverage?
Every new home in Ontario is protected by a mandatory warranty that is provided by the builder and guaranteed by Tarion Warranty Corporation. This warranty coverage is outlined in the Ontario New Home Warranties Act. The coverage under the Act includes deposit protection, protection against defects in work and materials, protection against unauthorized substitutions and protection against delayed closings or delayed occupancies without proper notice. For condominiums, warranty coverage also includes common/shared areas of the building. For more information, please visit Tarion website at
16What time will I receive my keys on the day of closing?

We make our best efforts to complete your transaction as quickly as possible, our ability to complete your transaction is dependent upon when we receive closing funds from the mortgagee and when we receive closing documents from the other solicitor.

We cannot guarantee a time your keys will be ready for pick up as most real estate transactions close in the afternoon hours. However, we estimate the keys to be at our office between 2.00 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the day of closing. If the keys are available at an earlier time, we will contact you and let you know that the transaction has closed. Under no circumstances will the keys be released before the deal has closed (i.e title to the property has been transferred and mortgage, if any, have been registered in your name).

17What information should I provide to my lawyer to close my sale transaction?

The lawyer will require the following information from you to close your sale transaction:

Signed copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale; copy of your Transfer Deed to the property; copy of a recent mortgage statement that shows the mortgage number, contact information of the mortgagee for all mortgages registered on title; Survey of the property, if available; most recent property tax bill and how much taxes have been paid by you till the date of closing; the amount of common expenses that have been paid by you; if the property being sold is a condominium, we will require the name and address of the Condominium Corporation and your new address.

18How should I prepare for my sale closing?

Prior to closing, your lawyer will advise the tax department of ownership change.

As a seller of property, you should contact the utilities - water, hydro and gas to advise them of your closing date and for final meters to be read, to close accounts and cancel any pre-authorized payments plans. Please provide your utility companies with a forwarding address to send the final bill, if any.

Clients are responsible for contacting telephone, cable, satellite, surveillance and internet companies to set-up/cancel their services.

19Should I make my final property tax payment?
Prior to your closing, we will require you to provide us with your most recent Property Tax Bills. It is advisable to keep your tax payments as current as possible. Your property taxes shall be set out as an adjustment in your Statement of Adjustments which we will review with you prior to your closing.
20When will I get the sale proceeds?
Your closing funds will be ready for pick up from our office upon the closing of your transaction or the following business day. We will contact you as soon as possible to advise you that your funds are available.
21Is it advisable to sell and buy on the same day?

When our clients are both buying and selling their homes, we encourage them to schedule the closing dates on different days in order to save themselves from stress.

People must remember that their sale transaction must close first so that they can use the funds from their sale closing towards their purchase. If any problems arise on the closing day of your sale it could negatively impact the closing of your purchase transaction as well. For example, your buyer may have problems with their lender on the day of closing and may have difficulty coming up with their closing funds. This could initiate a chain reaction or domino effect, because you will now have problems coming up with the necessary funds to close on your purchase. If the person selling to you is also purchasing, they will be in the same situation as you.

If your purchase and sale are not on the same day, you will have enough time to make the necessary arrangements to deal with unexpected issues that may arise. If at all possible, do your best to avoid scheduling your sale and your purchase on the same day.

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