When buying a real-estate property, you will need to call on the services of a notary to complete the transaction. Contrary to popular belief, a notary’s work does not simply consist in having you sign forms! A notary, along with their team of real estate paralegals, will ensure that the transaction is compliant in all aspects with current legislation, which will bring you peace of mind the day of the transaction, but also for the feature. Let’s take a look on the different steps of a real-estate purchase, so you have a better understanding of what’s to come.
Your first task is to choose a notary. Of course, you’ll want to find an individual or firm that you can trust. If you’d like to work with our office, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team members, who will gladly inform you on the process. Our devoted receptionist will make sure to ask you the proper information, to open your file. The information that will be addressed is:
Information about the buyers and the property
Estimated fees (you can also get a quote online)
Information about the process and the delays
STEP 2: RECEIVING THE COMPLETE FILE
As soon as you’ve chosen a notary, you must inform your real estate broker and mortgage broker or bank mortgage advisor, accordingly. They will have to get in touch with us to send the required paperwork of the transaction, such as:
Promise to purchase
Certificate of location
If the sale is taking place without a real estate broker involved, such as through Du Proprio, you will need to send us these documents yourself.
The real estate transaction process will officially begin once we confirm: we’re able to handle your purchase; you agree to the terms and conditions; and we’ve received all required documents from all parties.
Once our team has received all the documents, we will carry out the necessary verifications to ensure your transaction goes smoothly. At our firm, several staff members, including paralegals and jurists, work together on each file to ensure everything is in order. These important verifications are done to protect you in your transaction:
Performing a title search — to ensure that the seller is transferring a debt-free title and that they are in fact the owner of the property.
Verifying taxes and debts on the property and calculating the adjustments between the buyer and seller — to ensure you do not inherit the seller’s debts if they haven’t paid their share of the property taxes.
Confirming the identity and capacity of the parties — to ensure that the signatures will have legal force.
Analyzing the contractual agreements between the parties.
Verifying the certificate of location and mortgage conditions — to ensure that any special formalities required by your creditor are met.
Contacting the seller’s creditor to obtain the statement of account necessary to reimburse and discharge the mortgage — this way, the notary ensures that the buyer does not inherit the seller’s debt.
Drafting notarized documents, such as the deed of hypothec and deed of sale.
Every purchase file is different. There may be special considerations regarding the conditions of sale, the certificate of location or titles, for example. In such cases, your notary will offer solutions to solve any issues and advise you on how to avoid potential disputes.
STEP 4: MEETING WITH THE BUYERS TO SIGN THE MORTGAGE
This step isn’t necessary if you’re buying without financing.
Otherwise, you’ll need to schedule two meetings with your notary: one to sign the mortgage agreement, and the other to complete the sale of the property with all parties present. In the past, these steps took place in a single meeting, but they were separated following a legislative change. The aim was to reduce the risk of fraud and protect the interests of buyers, sellers, and creditors. In between the two appointments, the notarial team will complete the following tasks:
Publish the deed of mortgage at the land registry of Quebec
Receive the mortgage funds from the creditor and the downpayment form the buyer
When you buy a property, you don’t write a cheque directly to the sellers. You must transfer the funds to your notary, who acts as an intermediary. They hold the funds in what is called a trust account. These sums are held securely in the account for a few days only, until the notary does the required verifications to make sure all the conditions of the sale were met.
STEP 5: MEETING WITH ALL PARTIES TO COMPLETE THE SALE
It’s transaction day! During this final meeting, your notary explains the property tax adjustments between the buyer and the seller, and how to pay these taxes. The notary will answer any final questions you may have, such as about the certificate of location. Lastly, they will read the deed of sale in front of all the parties and provide legal advice pertaining to the clauses therein. You officially become the owner once the deed of sale has been signed.
STEP 6: CONCLUDING THE FILE
The notary’s work isn’t over when you leave their office. Several documents and verifications must be completed to close the file properly:
Publishing the deed of sale in the Quebec land registry
Verifying the publications to ensure that the seller has transferred a clear title
Releasing the funds to the seller
Filing the original notarized documents
Sending certified copies to the parties and the final reports to the mortgage holders
Paying all the debts relating to the property from the seller’s proceeds of sale
Obtaining releases and discharges for the seller’s mortgages and publishing them at the land registry
HOW LONG SHOULD THE WHOLE PROCESS TAKE?
We need to receive the complete file from you or the real estate broker at least 15 business days before the transaction date indicated in the promise to purchase. Please note that some files may be more complex and require more time, such as virtual creditors, co-ownership properties and commercial files.
If mortgage financing is involved, we need to receive the instructions from the bank at least 10 business days before the transaction date to ensure it takes place as scheduled.
Most of the time, delays do not only come from the notary’s side. Obtaining statements of accounts from banks, property syndicates and cities takes time, as does receiving the funds from the buyer’s bank and publishing the transaction at the land registry. Since the notary comes in at the end of the process and must gather information from all the stakeholders, they’re dependent on the speed with which they receive the documents from everyone.
If you want to avoid additional delays, we strongly recommend using our property buyers’ checklist. Here you’ll find a comprehensive list of everything you need to do and all the documents you need to send to us.
TIP OF THE ICEBERG
Much of the notary’s work is not visible to the general public; you often see only the tip of the iceberg, as the Chambre des notaires so aptly illustrates. However, all these steps taken before and after the sale are essential to ensure it goes smoothly. Now that you know what goes on behind the scenes, you’ll have greater peace of mind during the buying process. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a hussle-free, transparent and efficient experience!
The information provided in this article is for general information purposes only and does not represent legal opinion or advice. Consult your notary to obtain information adapted to your situation.