*Services provided by Flavia Tolussi Zancope Notary Corp.

Home Purchase FAQs

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What can I expect at the appointment to sign my new mortgage?

Friendly, knowledgeable staff that treat your file like it was their own.  The notary will explain everything to you, what your lender requires, the terms and conditions and address any questions you may have.  Most importantly, that we are not asking you to do, or provide, anything that is not required to complete your file. 

Although some things may seem inconsequential, they are viable to the conditions we must meet to fund and register your mortgage, including asking for statements or Information.  Also, we understand when going through the mortgage process, before you get to our office, that you have already provided the bank or broker, a lot of information and documents. 

To help you better understand, your broker and our office each have their own set of conditions that the lender requires us each to meet and although we try our best to get all the information in advance that we need, before asking you, sometimes it is necessary to get the information directly from you and that sometimes this information or documents may be duplicated.

What documents should I plan to bring with me?
  1. You will be required to provide two pieces of government issued picture ID; your Passport and BC DL are the best options (the required ID is all contingent on what the lenders requirements are for their list of acceptable ID).  Note: in lieu of your Passport, we can accept BC ID, your BCMSP if on a separate card from your DL,
  2. If your name has changed ie; via marriage or divorce etc., please bring your original marriage certificate, or bring acceptable ID with both your old and new names All ID must be valid, ie not expired.
What are the differences between legal fees and disbursements?

Legal fees are what we charge to conduct the service you require.  Like when you take your car to a mechanic.  They have a shop rate for the mechanics hours worked on your vehicle for the service provided and disbursements are the things that we pay, some may include property taxes, outstanding debts, our account, credit cards, the existing mortgage, insurance binder, title insurance, strata documents anything that we have to pay for on your behalf as set out by the lenders conditions to us, and our account ie again like your car, disbursements are the invoicing for parts, oil, filters etc.

What is title insurance?

Title insurance wasn’t that popular 15-20 years ago.  Years ago, lenders used to require a land survey.   Title Insurance protects the lender, and you if you choose this option, to protect against anything that could occur within the property that no one was previously aware of and restore both for you and the lender to the position where you were when you entered into the mortgage agreement.  Some examples are:

  1.  When your property line wasn’t respecting it’s boundaries and you put a fence up encroaching your neighbors property, or a retaining wall.
What are the most common types of title registration?

Each file and each property is unique, there is not really a most common type of title registration, title registration type all depends on what the clients needs are.   And even if they think they know what they want, it may not be able to done the way they imagined. Ie.  We have had a lot of inquiries regarding transferring title to one spouse.  However, it is more than just a simple title transfer as they say adding or removing someone from title.  There are many factors to be considered before we are able to proceed with a title transfer.   One example:  Father wants to remove son from title:

  1. Is there currently a mortgage registered on title.  If yes, the first thing a client must do is to check with the lender to see which .  When you are changing title, you are changing the conditions of that mortgage.  The first thing clients must do is check to see what route the lender wants to go.   They may just change their paperwork internally (in this case we will require a letter from the lender stating we can proceed with the title transfer and that we are not dealing with the mortgage), or they will want to refinance (payout and discharge the existing mortgage in both names and register a new one in just the one name).
  2. Is there monies being transferred between the parties on title Father and son).  If yes, this changes the file from a simple transfer to a sale and purchase.  And, we can only act for one of the parties, either the Father, or the son, not both.

If the title transfer is due to separation or divorce we will need the original agreement(s) for the file. Or, If the transfer is due to deceased spouse, or family member.  We will require a copy of the death certificate and if the title is registered TIC (tenants in common) we will require the original Will.

If the property is for sale and the seller is selling by way of Power of Attorney, we will require the original POA, which must be registered at the land title office, no less than 2-3 weeks prior to the completion date.

Or if a couple jointly, registered on title as Joint Tenants, where one person passed, the interest of a deceased owner automatically gets transferred to the remaining surviving spouse (the title transfer is called a transmission of title and still is required to be done at the land title office through a notary or lawyer.  We will require a an original death certificate.  If the property is Tenants in Common TIC, the interest of a deceased owner get transferred to its beneficiaries in accordance with that persons will.  If they do not have a will, this is where probate comes into play.

Again, it all depends on how the title is registered, what the relationship is between the parties on title and the reason why a person, persons are being added/ removed from title, if there is a mortgage, is there any monies being transferred between parties.

I have purchased a home, how do I transfer my down payment to you?

Generally, if you are buying or selling you would be using a realtor.  Your deposit would be paid the realtor’s office, in trust.  The only time a notary or lawyer would receive a deposit is if it is a private sale and purchase and there is no realtor involved (there still needs to be a contract of sale and purchase).  In this case the deposit would be held by the seller’s legal rep’s office, in trust, contributing to the financial portion of the transaction.  The deposit can also be held by the buyer’s legal rep’s office, in trust.

What is the difference between a Notary Public and a lawyer in BC?

Although BC Notaries and lawyers both deal with legal matters, BC Notaries do not represent clients in court and do not get involved in litigation or family law or agreements, including separation, divorce, adoption, or child custody.  In real estate BC Notaries pass the same real estate bar exam as a lawyer to conduct real estate transactions.

What is a typical conveyance process include?

Much more than clients imagine.  We are constantly waiting on third party forms, documents or information, during the process and even after registration.  For example on a purchase, or refinance, it can take a full 30-60 day cycle to fully complete a file from beginning steps to registration and final reporting (ie waiting on strata holdbacks, discharge registrations etc).

We’ll talk about a purchase with a mortgage, as a good example:

First steps are:  clients application process with the bank or broker, to get the financing in order;  the next step is to contact a realtor to look for and secure, a property via a written contract of purchase and sale.  At this time, even before subjects are removed, clients should retain a legal representative (notary or lawyer) to represent them for their real estate transaction.  The legal rep will require information directly from the client for their file that the realtor or broker cannot or may, not be able to provide and at that time, or shortly thereafter, the signing appointment will be booked into the calendar.  Note:  signing appointments are 2-3 business days prior to the completion date (the completion date being the date the sale or purchase or refinance registers at the land title office).    Once the client has secured their legal rep, they should immediately advise their broker and the real estate agent which legal rep they have retained so that they can instruct their respective offices to send the legal rep’s office the necessary paperwork to work on the file.

The conveyancing process has now commenced.  Behind the scenes the conveyancer (the person that works on the file) will be ordering strata documents, conversing with the lender, real estate office, the responding solicitor/ notary’s office and the client to ensure they have all the information required, to ensure that all the signing appointment and land title registration documents, are prepared accurately.  On the buyers side, the conveyancer prepares the buyers and the sellers paperwork.  The sellers paperwork is sent to their legal rep (responding solicitor/ notary) for duly execution and return to the buyers legal rep (duly execution = sellers signs paperwork with their notary/ lawyer, who witnesses same). Once the client (buyer) has signed all their paperwork with their legal rep, if there is a mortgage, the conveyancer sends the requisition for funds to the lender, most times with lenders portion of the signed paperwork (whatever the lenders requirements/ conditions that are put on the legal rep to provide to the lender for funds) in order to obtain the funds in time for/on the completion date.  Along with the signed paperwork, once the conveyancer has the balance of documents required, such as strata docs, insurance binder, title insurance, the sellers signed documents, or any thing else required that pertains to that file for registration and the mortgage funds have been received, the conveyancer can go ahead and register the purchase and concurrently the mortgage.  Just prior to registration a title search is conducted as due diligence to ensure nothing has changed on the title since the initial search (ie another financial charge, lien etc has been added).  On review,, if the title search has no changes, registration begins.  An hour after registration another title search is pulled to ensure nothing slipped onto title in-between.  If title shows no change, other than the pending Form A Transfer and Form B Mortgage that the conveyancer registered, the monies can be disbursed and the reporting to the realtors, the lender and the client are done.  On the sale side, if the seller has a mortgage, or any other financial encumbrances (charges) that do not give the buyer clear and free title at that time which are registered on title, the sellers legal rep will be put on an undertaking by the buyers legal rep to ensure that any financial encumbrances are paid out and discharged from title, giving the new owner (the buyer) free and clear title, as per the contract of purchase and sale (these are one of the items done behind the scenes on behalf of the clients, which process can take 30-60 days, or more depending if the lender(s) provide the sellers legal rep the duly executed Form C Discharge in a timely fashion, to send to us for our reporting and State of Title Certificate ordering from the land title office as the final reporting to our client.

I am a first-time home buyer, are there any benefits for me?

As long as you’ve never owned a property anywhere in the world before, ever, even if it was 20 – 30, 60 + years ago, you may be entitled to the property transfer tax exemption, as stipulated and set out in the BC Provincial Government’s criteria for an exemption as laid out in their website.  Property transfer tax exemptions – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca).

I am purchasing a home, what Costs am I responsible for?

Any costs that the solicitor/ notary incurs on behalf of the client for the file that have to be paid upfront to obtain documents, such as strata documents, insurances (binder and title), the legal rep’s account, and any adjustments such as property transfer tax, property tax adjustments, strata fee adjustments, holdbacks (if applicable) – all these costs will be outlined in the buyers statement of adjustments.  It is hard to pinpoint an exact cost until we retain the file, receive the necessary paperwork and start working on the file, ordering and obtaining the 3rd party variable (insurances, strata forms etc).  This is why the signing appointment is 2-3 business days prior to the completion date.  Often we are waiting on third parties for information and amounts so calculate that final number.

What is Property Transfer Tax, and how is it calculated?

When you purchase real estate, you have to pay Property Transfer Tax (PTT) to the provincial government (unless you qualify for an exemption, as set out in their website guidelines: Property transfer tax exemptions – Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca).

The tax applies to all types of real estate, including residential, commercial and industrial. It is based on your property’s Fair Market Value.  Fair Market Value is the price that the seller would receive on the open market. Often it is the actual price you paid for the property.  Often this will be set out in the contract of purchase and sale and the buyer generally pays this.

The Property Transfer Tax rate increases with the property’s Fair Market Value:

  • 1% on the first $200,000 of the property’s Fair Market Value
  • 2% on the amount between $200,000 and $2,000,000
  • 3% of the remaining Fair Market Value.
Do I have to pay GST on my home purchase?

Generally not if the property is used ie; has been previously owned. Used residential housing is not subject to GST.  However, GST can apply to New Residential Housing, or substantially renovated residential homes.  GST is payable on the purchase price of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential homes. In legislation, substantially renovated is defined as the removal or replacement of most of the house construction components except for the foundation, external walls, interior supporting walls, floor, roof and staircase.

How Does GST Apply to New Residential Housing?

GST is payable on the purchase price of newly constructed or substantially renovated residential homes. In legislation, substantially renovated is defined as the removal or replacement of most of the house construction components except for the foundation, external walls, interior supporting walls, floor, roof and staircase.

What is The Tax Rate for GST?

GST is 5% and can be subject to rebates. (See below.)

What Are the GST Rebates if Your New Home is Your Primary Place of Residence?

First, let us define the primary place of residence. This means a home that you own, jointly or otherwise, that you intend to live in on a permanent basis. To be eligible, the intent to use the home as your primary place of residence must be evident at the outset of buying the home. A recreational cottage, an investment property or a property you might retire to in the distant future do not qualify.

If you (or a certain related family member) are planning to reside in the new home as your primary residence, you may be eligible for a GST New Housing Rebate. This rebate equals 36% of the GST but only applies to homes under a certain price point.

For example, if you purchase your new home for $350,000 excluding GST, the gross GST is $17,500 (5% on $350,000). The GST New Housing Rebate is 36% of $17,500, which is $6,300. Thus, the applicable GST is $17,500 less $6,300, which equals $11,200.

The full GST New Housing Rebate is available for new homes priced up to $350,000. There is no GST New Housing Rebate on homes valued over $450,000.

For homes valued between $350,000 and $450,000, the rebate is gradually reduced and is calculated with the following formula (get ready to brush up on your high school math):

$6,300 x [$450,000 – the purchase price] / $100,000

For example, assuming the purchase price of a new home is $400,000 excluding GST, the GST New Housing Rebate is

$6,300 x [$450,000 – $400,000] / $100,000

This results in a rebate of $3,150. The gross GST would be 5% of $400,000, which equals $20,000, less the partial GST New Housing Rebate of $3,150, for a net tax of $16,850.

Please note that the developer may agree to credit you the rebate on completion, but not all developers do this. In these cases, you will have to pay the full 5% GST on completion and then apply to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the GST New Housing Rebate after closing. This means that you will have to ensure that you have additional funds to cover the 5% GST on completion. Note the GST New Housing Rebate is not available to corporations or partnerships.

For more information about GST see www.rev.gov.B.C..ca

To contact the Ministry of Finance call 1-877-388-4440.

To contact CRA, see www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/hrmnztn or call 1-800-959-5525

For questions about GST rebates, call 1-800-959-8287

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice. For individual advice regarding your situation, contact us. We would love to help you learn more about GST and GST rebates on real estate purchases.

Why Choose Zancope Notary Public?

Real estate transactions can be exciting and also stressful. At Zancope Notary Public, we want to make this process as smooth as possible. Our office is professional and relaxed. And Flavia deals with everyone personally, keeping you up to date through regular communications.