FAQs About Real Estate

Frequently asked questions, to help you understand your options when
you are seeking legal advice for Real Estate Law.

I want to buy a house. Why do I need a lawyer?

A lawyer’s role is essential in the completion of a real estate transaction.  A buyer’s lawyer is responsible for reviewing the contract of purchase and sale, reviewing title to the property, preparing most of the transaction documents, and coordinating signatures, registration and exchanges of money.

What if my insurance company says I don’t need a lawyer?

Purchasing an apartment/condo/townhouse (also known as a “strata property”) involves not only the purchase of the strata unit, but also shared ownership of the common property with other lot owners. Therefore, before you purchase a strata property, it is important to review the strata corporation records, including, but not limited to:

  • minutes of annual and special meetings,
  • bylaws and rules,
  • budget and financial statements,
  • resolutions, and
  • the strata plan and amendments

The seller completed the Property Disclosure Statement. Do I still need to get a home inspection?

Yes, it is a very good idea to get a home inspection, especially on older properties, because the Property Disclosure Statement is only a statement by the seller on their current knowledge of the property. There may be latent (hidden) deficiencies with the property that are unknown to both parties.

When do I have to pay property transfer tax?

Whenever there is a transfer of title on B.C. property, the property transfer tax process is triggered. The property transfer tax rate is:

  • 1% on the first $200,000,
  • 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000,
  • 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000, and
  • If the property is residential, a further 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $3,000,000

However, there are many exemptions in place to eliminate or reduce the amount of property transfer tax you will pay such as the principal residence exemption (transfers to spouses and children) and the first-time home buyers’ program which helps reduce the amount of taxes you pay. It is a good idea to talk to lawyer to determine if an exemption applies to your case.

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