Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Robert MacKay your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer expert tip on buying property at the lake

It’s an exciting time – the old house is sold, the new one is ready, and all that’s left is the move…..oh wait – not quite yet! There’s all that legal “stuff” to deal with now….signatures….titles to be given…and pages and pages of documents that need to be signed before the key is in your hand!!! And to top it all off – who really knows a good real estate lawyer?

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

Here Robert shares a tip on Buying Lakefront or Cottage Property:

1. Never buy property without setting foot on it first. Take the time to look it over closely and inspect it yourself.

2. Has the property been appraised recently?

(a) If so, when?

(b) How did the seller arrive at the asking price?

(c) Check MLS and FSBO web sites and print off some of your own comparables.

3. If there is a cottage?

(a) Is it insulated? Or, how many seasons is the cottage rated for?

(b) If there is no cottage, are their restrictive covenants? Does one have to built within a certain period, by a certain date? Do you have your choice of builder? Building architecture?

(c) Was a geological report done? Obtain a copy.

4. Surveyor’s Certificate available?

(a) Obtain a copy of the so that you can determine exactly where the property lines are.

(b) Does it show the buildings: cottage, garage, boat house, etc.? If not, plan on buying title insurance.

(c) Check with the municipality whether the building must be a certain distance from the property lines and check this against the survey to confirm the building complies with bylaws.

(d) Is there road access, as well as the terms of the road maintenance agreement, if applicable?

(e) Confirm right of access to the land if not accessible from a public road.

5. Access to electricity, water, sewage and other utilities?

6. Is the property serviced by an on-site Septic System?

(a) How old is the septic tank?

(b) What is the location, age, size and depth of the tank?

(c) If so, has the system passed inspection within the past 2 years?

(d) Can the Seller provide a copy of the report?

7. Is town sewer available?

(a) If the property is serviced by town sewer, is there a betterment still to be paid or connection costs?

(b) What is the yearly cost of town sewer?

8. Does the property require flood insurance? If so, can I get a copy of the current policy?

9. Are there any known defects in or around the property that I should know about?

(a) Obtain a Property Condition Disclosure Statement;

(b) Have the current homeowners completed any upgrades?

(c) Was the work permitted? Request copies from town departments.

10. Are there any easements associated with the property? Can you provide a current copy of the deed? Best to have your lawyer obtain a copy of the title prior to negotiations.

11. Find out about the conditions of the shoreline in the summer? Weed count? Type?

12. Is the water level is always the same or if it fluctuates throughout the year?

(a) Is the lake water level controlled?

(b) Is the water quality tested annually?

13. Are there restrictions in the use and/or development of the shoreline?

14. Water.

(a) Have the lake/river water been tested. You would not want to spend a quarter million dollars or more only to have your child develop a rash after they go for a swim.

(b) If there is a pressure water system that draws water from the lake

i) How old is it?

ii) Test it to ensure it is functioning; and,

iii) Look for leaks.

(c) If the lot is serviced by well water, have a water potability test conducted.

15. What recreational activities are allowed / not allowed on the lake?

16. Are the bylaws or restrictions with respect to fire?

17. Is there a boat dock?

(a) Does it have to be removed and stored in the winter or left year round?

(b) Maintenance required?

18. If the property is remote, make sure you know who is responsible for maintaining the road. Banks may require a copy of a Road Maintenance Agreement before they will lend on remote property.

19. Does the lake have an active Lake Association? If so, obtain contact information.

 

 

Robert MacKay is your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer  

 

 

Robert MacKay your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer expert shares a tip on Legal Fees

It’s an exciting time – the old house is sold, the new one is ready, and all that’s left is the move…..oh wait – not quite yet! There’s all that legal “stuff” to deal with now….signatures….titles to be given…and pages and pages of documents that need to be signed before the key is in your hand!!! And to top it all off – who really knows a good real estate lawyer?

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

Here Robert shares a tip on Legal Fees:

What does it cost?

Legal Fees

Most people wonder about lawyer’s fees. Maybe you saw it on TV or you have heard of lawyers charging $200, $400 maybe even $600 an hour. Maybe you have even dealt with a lawyer all before and can recall only a couple phone conversations lasting only a few minutes each and ten or so minutes during office visit to sign papers.

What isn't seen, is all the time it takes to check titles, request and receive mortgage instructions, prepare the mortgage documents, have them checked for accuracy, have them signed and witnessed, deal with the other party's lawyer, receive pay-outs (if applicable), complete interim and final reports to all parties, trust accounting reports to the law society, among many other possible tasks that often arise.

Further, people tend to not see the risk that lawyers ensure against in real estate transactions. Most real estate transactions involve loans of $100,000's of thousands of dollars and assets of $100,000's of thousands of dollars. Lawyers oversee most of the financial aspects of a transaction and ensure that the exchange of title(s) for money happens, as it is supposed to. Considerable risk to the lawyer is involved in doing so.

Therefore, in most real estate transactions, the actual legal fees charged are dependent upon the value of the property involved, whether or not there is a mortgage, whether there are multiple transactions and how quickly the lawyer is required to close the deal.

The Law Society of Saskatchewan has a tariff that serves as a guideline for legal fees in real estate transactions. For example, for the purchase of a $105,000 home with a mortgage, the recommended fee is $950.00. Disbursements are additional. Lawyers who specialize in residential real estate may charge less than the suggested tariff amount. Fees may also be more for complicated or higher risk transactions or where other services are provided.

Consider asking for an estimate in writing. This simple precaution resolves most misunderstandings that may arise over the final bill, as to what was or was not included in the original fees quoted.

ISC – Land Titles Fees

Information Services Corporation (ISC), i.e. Land Titles, charges fees for title searches, mortgage registration or discharge and for transfer of ownership. The fee to register land under $500,000 in value is 3% of the land value. A $100,000 property would, therefore, cost $300 to register. Most mortgages cost $150 to register. Title searches cost $10.00 each and usually three searches per title are required on the average purchase transaction.

Tax Adjustment

Property taxes are paid to the local municipality. Buyers may have to pay to reimburse sellers for taxes already paid, pay the taxes for the entire year or pay a prorated share. Depending on the value of the property and the time of year, this can be several thousand dollars. Your lawyer should be able to provide you an estimate of the cash required for taxes on closing.

CMHC Fees for Low down payment Mortgages

Anytime you put less than 25% down, you usually pay someone like CMHC, GE Capital or a finance company, a premium which can end up being as high as 3.5% of the amount borrowed. The more you put down the lower the premium. In addition to the premium there is a $165.00 application fee to pay.

Title Insurance or Surveyors Certificate

If your transaction involves a mortgage, most lenders make their loan to you conditional on their being a surveyor's certificate (a.k.a. real property report) or that their mortgage be title insured. Credit Unions in Saskatchewan are an exception to the rule and if the lender is Western based, i.e. from B.C. or Alberta, they require that the mortgage be title insured regardless of whether there is a surveyor's certificate or not. A Surveyors Certificate is a drawing that shows the position and size of any buildings in relation to the property lines of the plot of land. It confirms or refutes whether all buildings fall inside the property and whether any buildings encroach on the property. The cost for a new real property report is usually between $600.00 - 800.00 dollars. Title insurance is generally used when a Surveyors Certificate or Real Property Report is not available. However, title insurance does much more. Title insurance may protect you against defects in title, fraud, renovation work done without proper permits or approvals, outstanding work orders by the municipality, unforeseen condominium assessments and, in some cases, even some mistakes made by lawyers. Title insurance is usually obtained through your lawyer, who will provide the title insurer with the details surrounding your transaction. Title inurance premiums are around $135.00 - 250.00 dollars but premiums vary depending on whether one get both a lender and an owner policy, if the deal exceeds $500,000 or if it is a commercial transaction. Also, lawyers generally charge an admin fee of approximately $75.00 dollars to cover the extra time and paperwork involved.

Insurance

When you buy property or have a mortgage on a property, you are usually required to insure the buildings against damage from fire and other hazards. Make sure you have replacement cost fire insurance.

You NEED to have fire insurance in place or effective at least one day in advance of taking possession. If you are refinancing an existing mortgage you may be required to have the new lender listed as the second loss payable before the lender will advance funds.

Your insurance agent will have to fax your lawyer confirmation of fire insurance. Your lawyer should be able to provide a form to assist with this task.

Note, if you have children or dependents, then you may wish to consider mortgage insurance, disability insurance, and critical illness insurance. An insurance broker can advise on the different types of coverage and the costs associated with each.

 

Robert MacKay is your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer  

 

Robert MacKay your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer expert shares a tip on Needing a Lawyer

It’s an exciting time – the old house is sold, the new one is ready, and all that’s left is the move…..oh wait – not quite yet! There’s all that legal “stuff” to deal with now….signatures….titles to be given…and pages and pages of documents that need to be signed before the key is in your hand!!! And to top it all off – who really knows a good real estate lawyer?

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

Here Robert shares a tip on Needing a Lawyer:

Most real estate transactions involve $100,000's of thousands of dollars. Could you afford to lose that kind of money? Even if you could afford it, would you want to? I imagine not.

The banks require that a lawyer act on your behalf and theirs, mostly theirs. They usually will not do a transaction, e.g. they would likely refuse to advance mortgage proceeds on a purchase transaction without a lawyer ensuring that they are protected. Why? Lawyers reduce risk.

For example, imagine spending all the time and effort into finding the perfect property, then handing over two, three or four hundred thousand dollars, or more, and not actually owning the property that you thought you paid for.

Or, imagine getting the title to the property but shortly after getting notice that you are now responsible, i.e. liable, for the previous owner’s debt(s).

While every transaction is unique, generally, lawyers help ensure that:

  1. The seller or mortgagor does in fact own the property and has the right to sell it;
  2. The owner or buyer’s name is properly registered;
  3. Everything that needs to be registered with ISC (land titles) is registered;
  4. That whatever interests need to be discharged are discharged;
  5. That the financial aspects of the transaction are processed properly, for example, by registering the mortgage and procuring the mortgage proceeds, obtaining cash-to-mortgage amounts, paying the sellers, obtaining sale proceeds, discharging liens and paying out appropriate debts or interests;
  6. That everyone pays their proportional share of property taxes; and,
  7. That everything is in place for keys to be exchanged on the possession date.

The common perception is nothing ever goes wrong in real estate transactions. However, it is not true. Approximately 35% of all claims against lawyers arise from real estate transactions. So, what can you do? You can hire any lawyer you want to, so make your life easier, reduce your risk and hire someone whose primary area of practice is in real estate.

Be sure to find out “Why you should do business with them instead of one of their competitors?”

Don’t settle for generic statements like experienced”, “reliable”, “professional service” or “efficient”.

 

Robert MacKay is your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer

 

Trusted Regina directory Home Building & Real Estate Law show on NewsTalk 980 CJME

Trusted Regina.com  is THE Regina Directory and is thrilled to be hosting a Talk to the Experts show " The Trusted Show' Monthly on Newstalk 980  Find them all here in our tips library or on our Trusted Channel on You Tube which is a fabulous resource of Tips , Interviews, Demos and Tours.

Listen to all the shows ON DEMAND, you can share them with friends who may be interested in the shows subjects and this makes sure you never have to miss a Trusted Show - www.trustedregina.com   is the ONLY Local Regina Directory that works for you...and the only  place to offer this kind of service in Regina !  

This latest show we are featuring is the TRUSTED REGINA DIRECTORY Home Building & Real Estate Law  Show.

All of the questions on the show are submitted by our wonderful Trusted Regina Facebook Fans and one lucky fans question was chosen by Sean Dean the host,  to win the Prize package submitted by the Trusted Businesses worth $300!

This months Trusted Regina Partners for the Home Building & Real Estate show are: 

Robert MacKay your Homelawyer - Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer

Barb Pocha from Lindal Cedar Homes - Trusted Regina Home Builders  

 

Enjoy the show!!

 

Robert MacKay your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Expert answers your Facebook Fan Page Questions

It’s an exciting time – the old house is sold, the new one is ready, and all that’s left is the move…..oh wait – not quite yet! There’s all that legal “stuff” to deal with now….signatures….titles to be given…and pages and pages of documents that need to be signed before the key is in your hand!!! And to top it all off – who really knows a good real estate lawyer?

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

TrustedRegina.com Talk to the ExpertsHome Building and the Real Estate Law show- Questions for Robert MacKay:

 



Q:
Nichole Rintoul:
Can a buyer use the sellers lawyer? Or do you advise getting a lawyer of your own? (Sorry very new to considering buying a home).

A: NO. YES.

Code of Professional Conduct … 2.04(9) …

Notwithstanding any other provisions of The Code of Professional Conduct, a lawyer SHALL NOT act for both the builder or developer and the purchaser in a real estate transaction resulting from the construction of a new home, even if the parties consent.

ADDITIONALLY

Draw your own conclusion but …

You are about to commit to, not one but two, six figure contract - $3,4, 500,000, maybe more; purchase contract and mortgage.

$3,4,500k– you’re agreeing to be liable for the better part of a half million to a MILLION dollars in liability…

You can be sure, the developer had their lawyer do up their contract …

You can bet the bank had their lawyers draw up their documents …

Everyone else is looking out for their interests, and that’s how it should be, do you think you should look after yours?

Do you think it’s a good idea to have somebody watching your back?

Lawyers do that.

You probably don’t do this every day. Lawyers, particularly ones who specialize in real estate, we do.

Some developers and lawyers have a work-around, if you will, they don’t act for you but they will act for your lender.

Strategically, it is equivalent to crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.

Again, draw your own conclusions. The choice is yours but, remember, you’re spending the better part of a half million-million dollars—the most amount money you’re likely to spend in your life—one of the most important investments—home, shelter and sanctuary—are you sure that’s where you want to cut corners to save a few bucks?

PREVENTION

Q: Crystal Powell: I have friends that have been in their new build for just over a year and it seems impossible to get them back to fix the shingles that came off due to being installed in the fall without time to set properly ... What legal rights do they have to fix this issue?

A: Unfortunately, most people sign all the contracts, experience trouble and then go to a lawyer and then ask, “WHAT CAN I DO NOW?”

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

NO Guarantees in life. You can do your best to do everything right, and still have problems.

You can maximize the probability that everything will be successful.

Emphasize the team aspect of this business – you are about to commit to spending a huge amount of money – you should be getting advice from a number of different sources:

Lawyer

  • What terms or conditions or pre-conditions are important to me
  • Are these contractual terms really in my best interest?
  • What remedies are spelled out in the contract?
  • Rights to terminate?
  • Right to holdback moneys, e.g. until seasonal work is completed?

Realtor

  • Have I really thought out what I need or want in a property?
  • Does this development really give me the best bang for my buck?
  • Assurance are actually paying fair market value
  • Were the other 6 people who bought in this development or from this builder happy - realators talk to one another, they know!
  • People/builders develp repuations whether they want them or not...

Mortgage broker

  • How much can I spend before I am house rich and cash poor?
  • Which is better a 5 year or 10 year term, variable or fixed …
  • Monthly, Bi-weekly
  • Down payment options… 

Insurance Agent

  • What are the different types of policies?
  • What riders should a person pay extra for?
  • Which insurers have the best track record of actually paying out!
  • More important then cost!

Home Inspector

  • Familiar with Codes and standards

FEES:

Q: Trent Pare: Is it cheaper to sell a house privately for legal fees?

A: I know everyone worries about costs. On the one hand, rightly so, a penny saved is a penny earned.

I have never heard anyone brag that they had the "cheapest" lawyer in town. It conjures up images of Lionel Hutz from the Simpson's. I have heard more than a few brag their lawyers was the most expensive.

Draw on another colloquialism—penny-wise and a pound foolish-- when signing two contracts for SIX FIGURES, is that where you want to cut corners?

The GST and PST on just the commissions paid on these deals usually exceeds what your lawyer is charging in fees.

A number of different factors often go into pricing for a transaction:

  • Lawyers do not get paid a commission
  • More like insurance companies, the greater the potential liability, the greater the cost
  • Was a realtor involved or not? No realtor, more risk, e.g. non-standard contracts
  • Is a mortgage involved – then are really acting for two parties, buyer and lender – more work and more risk
  • Is closing a month from now or tomorrow – must we clear our desks or can we take out time
  • Are there construction advances?

Maybe. Maybe you want someone you can trust. Maybe you want to finding someone who always strive to be the best they can be; who looks out for your best interests; who is available;who puts staff, a team, at your disposal; who tries to you so that can make informed decisions; and, who does their level best to get things done in a timely manner might be worth paying a fair rate for. 

Fees rarely change but can. For instance, possession date changes … couple weeks, no problem but six months – now everything may need to be done twice – last minute changes to the lender—necessitating that documents have to be built twice and signed twice… There is a flood or fire and now your solicitor has to negotiate a resolution or embark on litigation.

Lenders – budget 1 – 1.5% … you are unlikely to pay that much – but doing so helps ensure contingencies are covered – tax adjustments, title insurance, condo fees/levies, water heater rental adjustments, real property reports, appraisals, etc. Is a good rule of thumb.

Call/email and get a written estimate. See the breakdown. Sometimes disbursements change, e.g. maybe the property you bought had mineral titles to deal with or turned out to be a double lot. Generally, fees do not change absent some extraordinary circumstances.

Q: Jennifer Hatton Mr. Mackay: We will inherit the home we live in - is it better to transfer the title now, or after the fact? My in laws want to what's easiest ( and economical). Thanks!

A: I would need to know more about your circumstances to be certain but likely, now. If you wait the property owner’s demise, the property will have to pass through probate before you take title—causing the estate to incur probate fees. Probate fees are based on the value of the property to be probated and since the property is likely worth six figures, the cost of waiting might be significant. None of this, I note, might address concerns for protecting the current owner’s interests.

Best thing to do is have a full and frank discussion with a lawyer, everyone get independent legal advice. Sure, it might cost more to do it this way but it improves your odds of having a happy outcome for everyone…and you might save it on the probate fees.

Q: Melissa Ackerman Robert: What if you have an inspection done on a home you are potentially buying prior to signing anything and it comes back fine and then after the fact find issues the inspector didn't notice like wiring or foundation problems? Are you able to go after the previous home owner or Inspector?

A: In short, maybe. Professionals may be sued for negligence and some have successfully sued inspectors for failing to meet professional standards. Every situation will depend on its facts and I encourage you to seek specific legal advice about any given situation. Provide your lawyer with the contract of purchase and sale, the listing, the inspection report and then discuss where the standard fell below par.
But I caution people to not expect a lottery win. First thing to do is figure out the cost of repairs. If it only costs a couple thousand—no sense spending a few thousand to gain a few thousand.
You might say, it’s all about the principle. However, at $3,4,500 and hour, a lawyer will only be too happy to hear all about your principles.

Q: Lindsey Hoemsen: Is it law for sellers to fill out a property disclosure form? What reassurance do buyers have about potential issues with a home?

A: Law? No. General rule is caveat emptor, buyer beware. In many cases a seller may not know the answer and they are only responsible for what they know, sometimes maybe what they ought to have known. But a Disclosure is not a warranty. For example, that this seller never had water in their basement is not a guarantee that you wont get water at any time in the future.

Q: Yolande Howrie: How long should it take to get final paperwork from a lawyer with the purchase of a new property?

A: It depends but usually within a couple days of possession. However, I can conceive of instances where it takes weeks, maybe months. Most of the people leave my office with just about everything but the new title.

Q: Tara Boudreau: Can you legally build a fence right on the middle of the property line if your neighbour does not want it? Or does it need to be shifted over to sit fully on our property then?

A: I would encourage you to negotiate an reasonable solution—for the sake of being a good neighbour.

There is legislation, The Line Fences Act, under which you might be able to compel your neighbour to contribute. I must say, I have never known anyone to sue and make the argument before the courts. Also, the court tends to try and find the fairest solution. Just because you want a gold plated fence does mean you are entitled to full compensation.
Plus, if you have to use the force of the law against your neighbours, they may not phone the police if they see someone breaking into your house.

Q: Nathan Clearihue: It seems that homes are being inspected to quickly and things are being overlooked and missed. What can we do as a homeowner do to protect ourselves with issues that were over looked then and have since become large $$$ costing repairs?
A: [SIMILAR TO #2, 3, 4, 5 above]

Q: Justin Schroh: Are home owners required to disclose house disasters such as a flood, insect/rodent infestation, fire, ect?

A: You fail to disclose at your own peril. Whereas, if you disclose something, what can the buyer complain about?

Q: Lori Glier: My grandmother is 98 years old still in her own home , and in her will She has given me 75% of ownership. Right at this point she is to old to look after her house let alone herself do I have any rights in the home any suggestions and do I have any rights to the home since she is to old and put me in charge?

A: Need more information. However, I do note, the Will only empowers someone, the trustee, executor, executrix, after the death of the testator or, in this case, testatrix. In other words, if she is still alive you have no authority to do anything, unless, you have a power of attorney or are appointed as a guardian.

Q: Jessica Pachkowski McLaren: After being discharged from bankruptcy when is the best time for apply for a mortgage? After the 7 years when it's cleared from your file or is it possible to apply sooner?

A: Is more financial advice and is something better canvased with a mortgage broker or credit counsellor. However, I suggest try getting your credit back on track. Get a Bay card or a gas card—carry a small balance and make sure all statements are paid on time. If you can’t get a bank card get a secured credit car – buy a bond, it’s security on the card, the bank holds it. Most are amenable to this. Lastly, monitor your credit rating through Equifax and TransUnion—the two credit bureaus utilized the most in Canada.

Q: Cindy Ann Pardy Robert: Whom is responsible for paying the insurance on the house between the time your offer is accepted and the closing date?

A: Is a term of the contract. Usually the seller pays up to and until possession. I encourage clients buying property to put insurance in place as of the day before possession. You have no control over when the seller cancels their insurance and the last thing you want is a right to sue someone—better to be able to rely on your own coverage. 

 

 

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