Toronto residential real estate lawyers
The Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP take the lead during this fast-paced and often complex process with our strategic guidance and advice, ensuring all the legal technicalities are handled smoothly for a successful, problem-free closing.
While our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers have worked with a wide range of buyers and sellers, they specialize in closing deals for high-net-worth clients. We know that our custom approach of focusing on getting the deal done in a timely fashion, and done right the first time, is valued when assisting in luxury real estate transactions, including those for:
- Single family detached properties
- Penthouses and condominiums
- Ski chalets
- Investment properties
- Semi-detached homes
- Multi-family homes
Details matter to our Toronto residential real estate lawyers. We stay on top of market trends, including knowing that according to the Canadian Housing Statistics Program from StatsCan, just 15 per cent of homeowners hold one-third of Ontario’s housing wealth. Of that, nearly a third are owned by those with multiple properties. So, about 28 per cent of housing wealth is held by the top 10 per cent wealthiest owners – our clients.
Meanwhile, our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers also note that 95 per cent of home sellers report feeling stressed by some part of the process, while 40 per cent of people say that buying a new residence is the most nerve-wracking event in their lives.
But it doesn’t have to be like that: the Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP have a reputation for efficient closings with no surprises. Regardless of the deal’s complexity, we put our long-time knowledge of the real estate market to work for you.
Why purchase or sell with our experienced Toronto residential real estate lawyers?
When buying or selling property, especially expensive property, it’s smart to get the thorough and professional Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP to do the heavy legal lifting. It’s good business to seek the advice of capable counsel, no matter which side of the property deal you’re on.
And our Toronto residential real estate lawyers note there are in fact, some parts of the closing process that only a lawyer can perform. For instance, a transfer of real property in Ontario can only be authorized by a lawyer licensed by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) to practice real estate law. You can’t register a deed in the electronic Land Registry system yourself.
A real estate lawyer also addresses issues that might affect future use of the property – a title search for example, reveals whether the seller has the legal right to sell it. While you could do that on your own, our Toronto residential real estate lawyers have experience in this service and know how to proceed if there’s an issue uncovered.
Further, our Toronto residential real estate lawyers note that these days, residential real estate closings have been turned into a commodity business by some entrepreneurial-minded law firms. But fixed fee closing costs and offers of a bargain can be a false economy; increasingly, those clients are shocked to learn that their investment has serious legal problems that will cost even more money to fix later.
Working with the Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP eliminates that risk for you, plus our background also allows us to spot trouble on the horizon if the other party has gone that route. We take quick deflective action in your best interests to ensure their problems don’t become yours.
Our Toronto residential real estate lawyers know that real estate transactions can be deceptively complex and have considerations that are not for the layperson to tackle. For example, there has been a flurry of so-called “train wreck” real estate cases landing in the courts for relief after home purchases made with no conditions or home inspections have gone sour when problems surface later.
While 2021 was the biggest year ever for Canada’s housing market, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), that led to corners being cut to beat the competition. But while litigation in that area has increased, our Toronto residential real estate lawyers warn the only real path to a buyer’s successful litigation remedy is if the property was misrepresented or if there was fraudulent concealment of issues.
On the flip side, if you’re the seller, not having a lawyer on your deal can increase the chance of being sued for issues like failure to disclose information, say the Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP. You may succeed in the matter, but why go through legal problems that could have been averted and pay even more legal fees to defend?
Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP make it our business to be current on legal trends like those to best advise our clients. Scott Lennox , lead counsel in our firm’s residential real estate practice area, keeps on top of current industry issues and caselaw that may make technical changes to the law that you wouldn’t hear about.
For example, our Toronto residential real estate lawyers know that in 2022 the effect of rising interest rates affected purchasers’ ability to close, and the case 2174372 Ontario Ltd. v. Dharamshi (2021) that discusses repudiation came into focus.
Further, our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers point to decisions like Gamoff v. Hu (2018) that deal with issues including damages over an aborted agreement of a $2.25 million deal. In the case, a buyer was ordered by the Ontario Superior Court to pay the seller $500,000 when it emerged they couldn’t get financing after a bidding war. In the ensuing months, the market cooled, and the vendor sold for a lower price.
Our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers provide these services
Our Toronto residential real estate lawyers note this is the exciting day that the keys are handed over, the final papers are signed, and the new ownership is official. So, whether you’re the buyer or seller, our real estate team ensures nothing goes amiss.
As part of the closing duties, the Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP will handle your financial transactions and create a statement of adjustments, showing all the vital legal steps, including the deposit, fees, adjustments, and the final amount due/paid. All paperwork, including mortgage information, sales agreement, proof of title search, and proof of insurance, has to be collected for closing.
Our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers will meet with you a couple of days prior to the closing date to have you sign (in person or virtual) your purchase and mortgage documents. On closing day, the documents to transfer title are sent to Land Titles for registration, and the buyer’s lawyer sends the full payment to the seller’s lawyer when the keys are released, typically before noon.
Besides handling your closing, other services – that are varied depending upon the deal – our Toronto residential real estate lawyers at Massey LLP provide are:
- Arrange title insurance
- Calculate land transfer tax due and property taxes
- Draft documents including agreements of purchase and sale; mortgage
- Exchange legal documents with seller lawyer
- Handle seller’s mortgage payout
- Land registry
- Make sure no claims or liens
- Mitigate land issues from an estate
- Property title search
- Remote signings and closings
- Review all legal documents along with the Agreement of Purchase
- Statement of adjustments
What is the open offer process? Our Toronto residential estate closing lawyers explain
The Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP say Ontario regulations that kicked in on April 1, 2023, improve transparency in the bidding process of buying and selling residential real estate. While the Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP note the provincial government didn’t outright ban blind bidding, sellers now have the option of disclosing details of competing offers.
The new regulations came into effect under Bill 145, which made amendments to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) and renamed it the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA). How real estate businesses operate, and the rights of clients/consumers are governed by the Act, say the Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP.
Our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers explain that one of the mandates behind TRESA was to expand consumer protections and improve choices on how they want to buy and sell and what information is accessible. Residential sellers are no longer limited to selling property through a closed offer system or blind bidding, a practice where buyers bid without knowing the size of the competing offer.
The Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers say the move protects a homeowner’s right to sell their property how they want and improves transparency for all parties. But if the seller chooses to use the traditional process, they can.
The Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP explain TRESA also has a new principle-based code of ethics for real estate agents and increased enforcement powers for the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) to discipline.
New taxes and non-resident purchasing prohibitions roundup from our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers
Vacant Home Tax (VHT): Our Toronto residential real estate lawyers say that starting in early 2023 in the City of Toronto, an annual tax is levied on vacant residents. Under the city bylaw, a property is vacant if it’s unoccupied for more than six months during the prior year or otherwise declared under the city bylaw. The mandate of the tax is to increase the supply of housing. The declaration/payment form has been available since late 2022.
Ontario Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST): Our Toronto residential real estate lawyers say the 25 per cent tax is on residential Ontario property bought by non-residents (foreign nationals or corporations).
Underused Housing Tax Act (2022): The federal government imposed a national 1 per cent tax on the value of vacant or underused residential property directly or indirectly owned by non-resident, non-Canadians, explain our Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers.
Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act (2022): Prohibits the purchase of Canadian residential property directly or indirectly by non-Canadians for two years starting January 1, 2023, note the Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP.
Our Toronto residential real estate lawyers warn title fraud has risen
Our Toronto residential real estate lawyers reveal that twice a week in Canada, real estate title fraud is perpetrated. It’s a relatively straightforward scam: a fraudster forges your identity to remortgage your home or sell it – with you none the wiser.
Importantly, our Toronto residential real estate lawyers know that one of the only protections is title insurance. Our lawyers ensure every transaction has a title insurance policy that provides proper fraud protection. Although insurance doesn’t stop fraud from happening, it compensates the victims and gets their title back.
Unfortunately, title fraud is a risk for every property, but the Toronto residential real estate closing lawyers at Massey LLP say some properties are more attractive to con artists. They include:
- High-value homes with a low mortgage balance
- Homes with owners living out-of-province
- Seasonal properties