Real Estate - FAQs



Real Estate


Title Insurance

When should I contact a lawyer?

When purchasing a home you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Once a lawyer is involved, they can start working to protect your interests.

"Buyer Beware" is still the law in Ontario. Be sure to check the home you are planning to buy very carefully. Also insist on the vendor delivering a completed and signed Vendor Disclosure Statement before your offer to buy. In other words, be sure to do your due diligence investigations.

You’re my lawyer, now what?

In representing your interests, I’ll need the following:

  1. A copy of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale including all waivers and schedules.

  2. The full legal name(s), date(s) of birth, current contact information of all people who will be going on title to the property.

  3. Photo identification of all person(s) who will be going on title.

  4. The manner in which you wish to take title (ownership) to the property. For example you may take title as Joint Tenants or Tenants in Common.

  5. The name of the mortgage lender, if there is one.

  6. It is important to provide Frost Law, Professional Corporation’s contact information to both your real estate agent and mortgage broker or lender as soon as possible.

  7. Unless the property is a condominium, we will require a copy of the fire insurance binder for the property prior to closing.

  8. Likely before the date of closing, the purchaser will need to provide the lawyer with sufficient funds to complete the purchase by certified cheque, bank draft or money order. This will include the balance owing to the vendor as well as land transfer tax and any other required adjustments such as property taxes.

am i entitled to the land transfer tax rebate?

The Ontario Land Transfer Tax is tax is paid by the Purchaser at the date of final closing. The Toronto Land Transfer Tax applies when you purchase a home within the city limits of Toronto, Ontario. You should note that if the property is within the Toronto city limits then the Ontario Land Transfer Tax is also applicable (OUCH! GOOD THING FOR REBATES!).

To claim a refund, you:

  • must be at least 18 years of age;

  • must occupy the home as your principal residence within 9 months of the date of transfer; and

  • cannot have ever owned a home, or an interest in a home, anywhere in the world.

In addition:

  • your spouse cannot have owned a home, or an interest in a home, anywhere in the world while being your spouse.

In Ontario, the maximum amount of the refund is $4,000. If the property is also in Toronto, you can claim an additional the maximum allowable rebate is an additional $3,725.

should i get title insurance?

Yes. Title Insurance is a form of indemnity insurance, that insures against financial loss in relation to undetected or unknown title defects, for as long as you own your home. Even if you are the rightful owner of a home, there are instances such as real estate fraud, when your title can come into question. Title insurance continues to protect your ownership from the day of closing to the day you sell your home. Coverage is also extended to heirs who receive your home in the event of your death.

Don’t have an up to date survey? Title Insurance protects against various problems that may have been revealed by an up to date survey of the property.

How should I/WE take title to the property?

In Ontario there are many ways to own real estate.  Each with its own benefits and liabilities.  When deciding how to take title, it is important to speak with your lawyer to determine which one is right for you. 

  • Sole Ownership - Only one person holds title to the property.

  • Joint Tenancy - Each owner (two or more persons) owns title equally.

  • Tenancy In Common - each owner (two or more persons) owns a designated share in the property.

DO I/We need to arrange home insurance?

When you purchase a property (that is not a condominium), home insurance is required.  You will have to provide your real estaet lawyer with a copy of your home fire insurance binder.

In fact, your institiutal mortage lender will not advance the mortage funds without proof of fire insurance.

While you are obtaining fire insurance coverage, speak with your insurance agent or broker about any other property insurance needs you may have.

If you purchased a condominium, you may want to arrange for content insurance.

what will I have to pay on closing?

At the time of closing of residential purchases of property, many people are often surprised that there are additional closing costs.

These often include title insurance, land transfer tax, legal fees, disbursements, and HST where applicable. In addition, the final balance owing often has to be adjusted for realty taxes, utilities, or fuel.

I am a non-resident?

If you are a non-resident of Canada, or will be a non-resident of Canada at the time of closing, it is important that you contact our office as soon as possible.

You will have to apply for a non-residency clearance certificate (through an accountant), and will usually result in 25% of the gross sale price to be held (usually by the seller's lawyer in trust) until the government non-residency clearance certificate has been obtained by the accountant who has filed the appropriate application. This process can take between 60-90 days to process and must be submitted within 10 days of closing to avoid penalties.

what is the the non-resident speculation tax?

The NRST is a new 15% tax that the province of Ontario has imposed on certain foreign buyers of real estate. The NRST applies to all affected purchases that close on or after April 21, 2017 (“closing” refers to the formal transfer of title which takes place after signing the agreement of purchase and sale). With the average price of a detached home in Toronto in the $1.5 M range, foreign buyers may be required to pay over $200,000 in NRST if they buy after April 21, 2017. However, buyers who signed a binding purchase agreement before April 20, 2017 will NOT be required to pay the NRST.

The NRST will normally be paid through the buyer’s real estate lawyer. It applies in addition to the provincial land transfer tax (and, where applicable, the Toronto municipal land transfer tax) generally applicable to sales in Ontario and is to be paid on closing.  This can be a major problem for unsuspecting purchasers who cannot obtain the additional funds for closing.

who has to sign the documents?

Everyone who holds title to the property must attend to sign the closing documents.

If you are married, and title to the property being sold is only in one spouse's name, however, the property is a matrimonial home, both spouses are required to attend our office to sign the transfer as a consenting spouse. In addition, the proceeds from the sale will be made payable to both spouses, unless, we have a signed direction to act otherwise.