Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Robert MacKay Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer expert tip on Buying Farmland

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 Farmland:

Strong commodity prices, low interest rates and a positive growth outlook for agriculture tend to increase the demand for farm land by farmers and investors alike, both within the province and from without.

Be aware that The Saskatchewan Farm Security Act (Act) places restrictions on farm land ownership in Saskatchewan.

To own land one must be:

1. A Canadian citizen;
2. A Permanent resident of Canada; or,
3. A 100% Canadian-owned entity (corporation), partenership, syndicate, joint venture, co-operative or association) whose shares are not traded on the stock exchange, i.e. ownership interests are privately held. 

Further, in addition to ownership the Act restricts leasing, having any other interest in farm land that would normally accrue to the owner of farm land. Violating or failing to comply with the Act can result in fines and divesture of ownership. However, there is an application process to apply for exemption. The Farm Land Security Board reviews these applications and will provide an exemption if it is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so.

 

For more detailed information go to http://www.farmland.gov.sk.ca/ or call the Farm Land Security Board at 306-787-5047.

Once you have committed to either buying or selling your property, simply tell your realtor and lender, as applicable, that Robert MacKay will be representing you and to forward the appropriate instructions to MacKay & McLean, attention "Robert MacKay". 

Robert MacKay is your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer   

 

Robert MacKay Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer expert tip on choosing a Regina real estate 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 hiring the right Regina Real Estate Lawyer  

 

Not taking real estate transactions seriously isn't a wise decision - time and money can be easily wasted if real estate matters are not entrusted to someone who has the skills, knowledge, and experience to handle them.Many complaints against lawyers are due to different real estate related issues, thus, practicing in this area of law requires more guts and dedication. This is the age of specialization and efficiency.


When searching for or choosing from Regina law firms, you want to get the best service at a competitive cost. Therefore, hire:

A specialist, someone who is a member in good standing with the Law Society and the Real Estate Association.

Someone who has assistants who are concentrating 100% on residential real estate – which will enhance their ability to answer your questions, address any possible issues and get the job done, particularly if special problems arise when processing the real estate transaction through to its ultimate conclusion (e.g., getting a key for the purchaser and closing funds for the vendor on closing day).

A firm that generates competitive quotes and prices, one who will prove that every dollar spent is worthwhile. Furthermore, a firm that makes paying easier and hassle-free.

Someone who makes themselves available as much as possible - ready to show up on lunch and after-hour appointments, and allows out-of-office and off-location signings.

A lawyer and a team that uses the Land Titles Online Submission System which reduces delays and errors.

A lawyer that will do more than just tell you where to sign your name: someone who is willing to explain a transaction’s process and progress, and professionally answer all of your questions.

Once you have committed to either buying or selling your property, simply tell your realtor and lender, as applicable, that Robert MacKay will be representing you and to forward the appropriate instructions to MacKay & McLean, attention "Robert MacKay".

 

Robert MacKay is your Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer  

 

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

 

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