If you have any additional questions (or would like us to add a question to our FAQ!), please feel free to contact us at 416.521.9834.
First Time Home Buyers
In Ontario, it is necessary to retain a lawyer on every sale/purchase transaction. Typically, both the buyer and the seller will need their own lawyer.
You should retain a lawyer as early as possible in the process. You should also provide your lawyer’s contact information to your realtor and to your mortgage broker or bank representative.
At AGPC LAW we work with you, your realtor, mortgage broker/bank representative, and the seller’s lawyer to make sure your transaction closes smoothly.
On a routine real estate transaction, you will pay legal fees, disbursements, title insurance premium and land transfer tax.
Legal fees vary from firm to firm. At Anurag Gupta Professional Corporation, we generally charge $500 to $750 in legal fees and “disbursements” will likely range from $500 to $700. All applicable taxes are extra. “Disbursements” will include items such as registration fees to register your mortgage and your Deed on title to your property, title search costs, couriers, bank drafts and other ancillary charges.
Title insurance is now a routine purchase for all residential home buyers and the premium varies depending on the purchase price and other factors. You may call us at 416.521.9834 and ask us to provide you with an estimate of lawyer for a quote or estimate on the premium for your specific property.
You will also pay Land Transfer Tax on the property and you may be eligible for a rebate as a first-time home buyer (see below).
There will also be a statement of adjustments taking into account any credits such as taxes and if you are buying a condominium possibly maintenance fees. Generally these adjustments are in favor of the seller.
You will need to pay and arrange fire insurance/property insurance for a house, and we highly recommend that you obtain contents insurance for a condo purchase. You must provide our contact information to the insurance provider – they will need to send us the “policy binder” – your mortgage company will require this information to advance funds.
Each time ownership of a property is transferred, the province (and the City of Toronto for Toronto properties) charges a “Land Transfer Tax” based on the purchase price of the property.
Enter your purchase price and the city where the property is located into this calculator and indicate you are a first time home buyer for a calculation of the LTT:
You are eligible for a refund if you meet all the following criteria:
You must be at least 18 years of age;
You must occupy the home as your principal residence within 9 months of the date of transfer;
You cannot have ever owned a home, or an interest in a home, anywhere in the world;
Your spouse cannot have owned a home, or an interest in a home, anywhere in the world while being your spouse; and
in the case of a newly constructed home, where the agreement of purchase and sale was entered into before December 14, 2007, you must be entitled to a Tarion New Home Warranty.
The majority of Agreements of Purchase and Sale are conditional on a number of items that need to be fulfilled – typically, the Agreement will be conditional on a buyer obtaining satisfactory financing, home inspection and review of the status certificate for condos.
Once all these conditions have been “waived” or “satisfied” and you have a firm Agreement in place, your realtor should send us the final Agreement, and we will receive “mortgage instructions” from your financial institution.
A status certificate relates to the condominium’s corporations financial and legal health and whether or not a particular unit is in default in any way e.g. unpaid common expenses/maintenance fees.
We will review the status certificate as well as the condo declaration and by-laws for any unusual matters and advise you regarding any restrictions relating to your unit or the common areas that might affect you.
Note that a status certificate will not provide any information relating to any physical issues within the condo.
We will search title to the property on your behalf and advise of you of any issues relating to title and any encumbrances (such as mortgages and caveats). We will work with the seller’s lawyer to resolve any issues relating to title to the property including routine matters such as ensuring the seller’s mortgage is discharged from your property. We confirm with the seller’s lawyer that the property taxes are paid and that the amount for property taxes on the Statement of Adjustments is properly adjusted. We will review the mortgage instructions provided by the lender and prepare the mortgage and any additional documents required.
The seller’s lawyer will prepare the “Statement of Adjustments” – this documents sets out all the items that need to be subtracted or added to the purchase price and will detail the exact adjusted purchase amount that needs to be provided to the seller on closing day. For example, the deposit will be credited back to the buyer. There may also be adjustments for property taxes, common expenses and utility bills.
You will have to attend at our office a few business days before closing to sign documents, and to review the financing information. You will also need to bring in a bank draft to that covers all the closing costs as well as the down payment that you arranged with your financial institution. We will provide you with a “trust ledger” that sets out the amount that you need to bring in.
Your financial institution will advance us the mortgage funds in trust. By this point, you should have also provided us with a bank draft for the balance of the closing funds. We will forward the adjusted purchase amount to the seller’s lawyer, and will then register the Deed and Mortgage on title to your property electronically in the Land Registry Office.
At this point, you are a new home owner! (And, if those are the arrangements made, you will now have to go to the lawyer’s office to pick up the keys to your new property.)
Although we will have notified the City, utilities and condo corporation of the closing, it is your responsibility to contact the appropriate departments before/after closing to ensure that everything is transferred properly into your name.
Note that you are responsible for all property taxes, utility bills and common expenses payments from the date of closing forwards.
Mitigating personal legal liability and potential tax savings are generally two reasons to incorporate. There are other reasons but most incorporate for the purposes of shielding personal liability. For example, you would not want to distribute chemical products under a sole proprietorship but would want to do so under a corporation. Income splitting can be achieved with incorporation by way of declaring dividends to shareholders.
Lawyers incorporate and at AGPC Law, we provide tax planning incorporations. While you may be able to incorporate online, be careful because you may not achieve effective income splitting opportunities. Physicians, Dentists, Lawyers, Accountants, Chiropractors and other professionals may be subject to their respective colleges. You want to be careful that the requirements are met.
Directors generally manage the day to day affairs of the corporation and business. They may delegate their duties to managers, officers and other employees but remain responsible for the affairs of the corporation. Directors owe a fiduciary duty to the corporation’s shareholders. Directors can be held liable for mismanaging the corporation. They can also be personally responsible to creditors, Canada Revenue Agency or other third parties. A director should not take his or her duties lightly.
At AGPCLAW we will inform you of your duties and obligations as a director. We will consult on who should take on the role as director(s).
Generally, a shareholder’s liability is limited to the amount the shareholder has invested into the corporation. If the corporation becomes bankrupt, forced to liquidate its assets or sued, and the corporation’s assets are depleted, this would affect the shareholder. Shareholder(s) may be required to inject additional capital into the corporation. Many family owned businesses are tightly controlled.
A corporation is a separate legal entity recognized by law to have rights and responsibilities as persons. This means that the corporation is liable for its actions. Unless a director is negligent or has conducted some egregious act, the individual may not be liable to third parties.
Corporations offer other tax advantages- income splitting and capital gains exemptions, which can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tax savings on a sale of a business. We work with your accountant to determine who should be a shareholder and how you can maximize cash at the family table.