Habib & Associates
Honesty • Integrity • Experience

Real Estate Law

Residential Home Purchases


PRE-Closing steps

Please fax or email our office with the completed and signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale, all Notices of Fulfillment and/or waivers, amendments and the MLS listing. If you have received a Seller's Property Information Statement from the seller, please forward that as well. Please notify us of any unique features of the property, such as a well, septic system, swimming pool, recent additions/renovations, etc. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have fulfilled all of your conditions in the Agreement. The above mentioned documents, as well as our office contact information, must also be provided to your mortgage representative so that Mortgage Instructions may be forwarded to us in a timely manner.

In residential real estate transactions, the buyer's lawyer also represents the interests of the mortgage lender. In some instances of a conflict of interest arising between you and your lender, the lawyer may not be able to continue representing either party.

Once all conditions are fulfilled, and the agreement is considered "firm", we will conduct a full search of the property title documents in the Land Registry Office. We will also contact the seller's lawyer, prepare closing documents for signature, and prepare your mortgage documentation for registration on behalf of your lender. We will also send the lender a request in writing for mortgage funds to be forwarded to us on the day of closing and we will order a title insurance policy for both you and your lender.

Before making a down payment on your dream condo, reflect on the life you’ve built − and on your future plans – to ensure that the home that has caught your eye is truly a good fit. If you’re used to life in a traditional freehold house, be aware that condominium life is different. Condos have special legal status, and are governed by rules that vary from development to development. A real estate lawyer can help you along the way.

The title search we will perform is pursuant to section 8 of the standard OREA Agreement of Purchase & Sale, which sets out a deadline for this search to be conducted by and within which time any disclosed title problems must be requisitioned to the seller's lawyer for him/her to remedy. We will only notify you of the results of this search if any such problems are revealed during the search. Standard agreement states that you are required to accept standard utility and municipal agreements that are typically registered against the title to the property, as well as any Restrictive Covenants that are imposed by the municipality. These covenants typically set out what activities you cannot do to the property, such as planting certain types of trees or altering the slope of the land. 

Home and fire insurance coverage should also be arranged with your insurance agent in advance of the closing date. Please provide us with your agent's contact information so that we may obtain a binder letter from them naming your mortgage company on the policy as an additional insured. This is required by your mortgage lender and they will not advance us mortgage funds without it. You must purchase guaranteed replacement cost coverage on the policy.

Please contact the utility companies servicing this property, such as hydro, gas, telephone, cable, alarm, etc. with your information to ensure that accounts are set up in your name(s) on closing.

To assist you, we include contact information for the following utility companies:

Enbridge Gas Online Form ▸ 

Hydro Ottawa Online Form ▸ 

Hydro One Online Form ▸ 

We will notify the City of Ottawa Tax Office (613-580-2444) and the Water/Sewer Office (613-580-2424) of your move before and after closing. After closing, you will receive an invoice from them for an account set up charge of about $50. Other utility companies may also charge you a fee or request a deposit. In cases where a hot water tank is leased and you have agreed to assume the lease, this will appear on your gas or hydro bill. In cases where there gas or hydro is provided by a third party, you may need to sign a rental agreement.

Property Taxes

In Ottawa, property taxes are billed twice a year, in March and June. The seller's lawyer will be preparing a Statement of Adjustments which will adjust the property taxes between the buyer and seller and, depending upon when your closing date is, may result in either a credit to the buyer or to the seller for property taxes that have been paid up to that point. The City of Ottawa permits you to pay your future property taxes in monthly instalments over a 10 month period. They will notify you of this option after the closing date.

If you are required to pay your property taxes with your mortgage, you lender will determine the amount of your tax payment each month and they will collect and retain this amount in a separate tax account. Most lenders charge an administration fee for this service. In many cases, the lender will deduct an amount from your mortgage advance to cover an up-coming property tax bill so that they will have collected sufficient funds from you in advance to pay the interim or final tax bill coming due. You may be reimbursing a seller on closing for a property tax payment they have pre-paid and paying the monthly tax installment to you bank to cover the taxes that will fall due the following year.

There are few traditions more Canadian than weekends at the cottage. To ensure that your time at the cottage is filled with relaxation instead of drama, consult a lawyer before you buy to protect yourself from unexpected problems.

Closing Steps

After we complete the necessary closing and mortgage documentation, receive the Statement of Adjustments from the Seller's lawyer, obtain the insurance binder, arrange your title insurance, and verify the amount of the mortgage advance coming from your lender, we will ask you to come to our office to sign closing documents. At that time, you will be advised of the amount, payable by certified cheque or bank draft, you will need to bring in order to close the transaction and which will include the balance of your dowpayment, any adjustment for property taxes, condo fees, etc. as well as our fees and expenses. This should come together within a few days before closing. You will also be asked to present two pieces of valid ID, such as a passport, driver's licence, and void cheque. Logistical inquiries should be directed to Joanne Tindall at joanne@markhabiblawyers.com prior to closing.

Once you have signed the closing documentation and mortgage funds have been received, we will then exchange all documentation and closing funds for the keys and vendor’s documents. We will attempt to close your transaction as soon as possible on the closing day, but this could all take place as late as 4:30 p.m. that day. We will contact you as soon as the keys are available. Keys are usually available between 2:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., however the process is often contingent on when we receive funds from your mortgage lender as we then have to deposit the funds to our account, certify cheques for the seller's lawyer and send them to him/her by courier.

Once you take possession of your new home, please contact us regarding any deficiencies or damages to the premises which you did not agree to assume. If necessary, please provide photographs and repair estimates so that we might forward them to the vendor’s lawyer.

Within 3-4 weeks after closing, you will receive a report package from us enclosing the details of the transaction, copies of all title and mortgage documents and our statement of account and trust ledger statement detailing the financial aspects of the transaction. In order to protect the environment and reduce postage and copy charges, the final report we provide will be in PDF format, unless you specify otherwise to us in advance.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns with respect to your purchase transaction.

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