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Finding the Right Home for Your Needs

Once you have the other steps complete (figuring out your mortgage options and finances), it is time to find the right home for your needs now and in the future.

The home you choose now is going to be a part of your life for quite some time and unless you move, your entire lifetime. Take into consideration the following options when choosing:

  • Size. Size is more than just square footage. Consider if you want to add more to your family and will need more bedrooms and baths. Is a garage something you must have? What about having enough storage?
  • Location. Keep in mind distance to things you may wish to be near like schools, shopping, parks, etc. A city house or a country house? Only you can decide where the best location is for your needs.
  • Lifestyle. Lifestyle falls under location and size somewhat – do you want to be near church or parks where children can play? Do you plan on extending your family and will need more room or will soon be an empty-nester?
  • Special Features. Special features encompass things like a swimming pool, a “green” home, an energy efficient home, or anything that is a little extra that you want included in your home.

Buy or Build?

There are plenty of reasons to buy a home that has previously been owned but for some, building a new home is the right choice.

  • New Home. A new home allows you to move in as soon as it is finished and you have the ability to live in a home that no one else has used. The drawbacks are that it is not specifically built to your specifications and you may have to wait if it is not finished.
  • Previously Owned Home. Buying a home that someone else is selling is sometimes a better bargain that building your own or buying a new home. However, keep in mind that you are getting someone’s choices that may not be your own. You also want to make sure that the home is in good condition and that you do not have to spend a lot on repairs or renovations.
  • Building a Home. While building your own home allows you to make it exactly how you want it, keep in mind that this is typically a larger investment and you will need to be patient while it is being built so time and money are considerations.
  • Buying a Condo. There are entirely different considerations when buying a condo and you can find out more with this handy condo guide. According to statistics, between 2006 and 2011, one in five households chose a condominium in Canada as their residence.

Searching for Your Home

There are plenty of ways you can start your search for a new home:

  • A real estate agent
  • Word of mouth
  • Social media
  • Internet searches including real estate listings
  • Real estate magazines
  • Newspapers
  • “For Sale” signs

Who Can Help?

When buying a new home, you want experienced professionals who help you make the right decisions. Here are the terms and people to be familiar with:

  • Real Estate Agent
  • Lawyer or Notary
  • Insurance Broker
  • Home Inspector
  • Home Appraiser
  • Builder or Contractor (for new homes being built)
  • Land Surveyor

You may not need every professional listed. For instance, if you are not building a home then you will not need a builder or contractor unless you are doing renovations. If you plan to look for a home on your own, you may not need a real estate agent.

The most important thing is to do your research and ask questions. Use the professionals so that you the most education on one of the most important decisions of your life.

Oakville Real Estate Law is one of the top firms in Canada for real estate transactions. The firm’s team led by Robert Rose has worked on thousands of transactions the years and have the knowledge and experience you need. For more information on what you need to know about being able to afford a home, please contact us and we will be glad to help.

Financial Considerations Before You Buy

For those interested in buying a home, financial considerations are always paramount.  There are many costs associated with the home as well as the key considerations of the price and the interest rate on the loan.  Prudent buyers consider all of the financial factors before engaging in a transaction.

The price is the first thing to consider. Start by looking at comparable properties to the one you are interested in and how they have sold in the previous few months or years. Make sure to identify the location, number of square meters, number of bedrooms, bathrooms and special features of the property. If the location is better or the number of bedrooms is greater, make sure to note that fact when comparing the price. After understanding the market, determine the fair price for the property that you are seeking.

Next determine the amount you are willing to pay as part of the down payment and how much you would be willing to take out as a loan from the bank. Your credit rating will be important in the amount of credit you can get from the bank and the interest rate.  Typically, buyers will pay between 10% and 30% of the total value of the home upfront as a down payment. The greater the down payment, the lower the interest payments will be over time. However, the greater the loan amount, the more the buyer can get a return on their investment in a rising market.

For example, if the buyer buys a 100,000 home with a 90,000 loan and sells the home two years later for 120,000, they will make a 200% return on the down payment minus the interest payments and closing fees.  If the same person paid a 20,000 down payment originally they only receive a 100% return minus the fees.  However, when the price of the home goes down the buyer can lose everything if they have a bank loan that is too large.  So there is an important element of risk.

Fortunately, the last decade has seen quite low interest rates at Canadian banks. It is not unusual to obtain a loan at the 2%, 3% or 4% interest rate level. This dramatically reduces the price of the home over time. Back in the 80s and at times during the 90s, interest rates soared to 8%, 10% and more. That made it much more difficult for buyers to afford new homes.

For example, a 100,000 loan for 20 years at 2% interest would amount to 21,412 dollars in interest payments. However, a 100,000 loan for 20 years at 8% interest would amount to 100,745 in interest payments which doubles the price of the total loan. Obviously, this will make a huge difference in the monthly payments and the total value of the home as well as the expected return on the sale.  So the low interest rate environment today is a huge boost to buyers.

Closing fees are also obviously an important component of a real estate transaction. Sound legal advice is key and paying for a good lawyer is often worth its weight in gold. The real estate broker also gets paid approximately 2% to 3% of the value of the transaction. Title transfer, taxes and other fees are also applicable.

Lastly, the new home buyer has to be aware of the maintenance costs of owning a home. It is not a financial security but a tangible property that has deficiencies and needs to be kept in good working condition.  Smart buyers usually have an inspection of the property before purchasing. Still, things always break down and maintenance costs are inevitable.

Oakville Real Estate Law is one of the leading Canadian real estate law firms. Mr. Robert Rose has decades of experience helping thousands of parties with their real estate needs. For more information, please contact us.

Are You Really Financially Ready to Own a Home?

When you are ready to take the step into home ownership, there are quite a few things you need to take into consideration but one of the most important things is learning how much you can actually spend. While your mortgage payment will most likely take up the bulk of your expenditures each month, you cannot forget about other expenses.


Calculate Expenses


There are four categories to pay attention to that include the following:

  1. . Household Expenses. This includes things such as utilities, groceries, childcare, clothing, and things you typically spend as a household necessity.
  2. Entertainment. These expenses include travel, dining out, books, magazines, movies, sporting events, and anything you spend on entertainment.
  3. Debts and Loans. If you have credit cards, car loans, student loans, personal loans, or debt of any kind that includes loans – include it.
  4. Savings/Donations. This includes charity, savings accounts, RRSP, and TFSA.

Once you have these numbers, you will need to subtract it from your income for the month. For instance, if you make $5K each month and the above numbers equal $2500, then that gives you an idea of what is left for your mortgage plus any other expenses or emergencies. You can also use online calculators to help you figure your expenses and money left over.

What Can You Afford?

The next calculation to do is to figure out how much you can afford for your mortgage but without putting your finances at risk. There are two rules:

  1. Affordability Rule 1. Take your housing costs (mortgage payment each month with interest and principal), heating expenses, property taxes, and if applicable, 50% of condo fees. Then take these housing costs and figure that they should be no more than 32% of your gross income averaged each month. This is what is called the debt-to-income or gross debt service (GDS)
  2. Affordability Rule 2. In this rule, you take your monthly debt load which includes the housing costs that you calculated in the Affordability Rule 1, credit cards, auto loans, lines of credit, other mortgages and this monthly debt load should be no more than 40% of your average gross income each month. This percentage is known as your total debt-to-income or total debt service (TDS) ratio.

Once you have crunched these numbers, you can find out more about how much you can afford and keep in mind that this all depends on these numbers and what you have put down as a down payment. For many, the down payment is the hardest part of buying a new home.

Your Upfront Costs

There is a third calculation you must do in order to find out if you are financially ready to own a home and that is figuring out your upfront costs.

The upfront costs is actually more than just a down payment. The following list is what you really must have as upfront costs:

  • Down Payment. As stated, this is sometimes the hardest part in buying a home. This is what you will pay after an offer is made to buy the home.
  • Legal and/or Notary Fees.
  • Home Inspection and Appraisal Fees.
  • Land Registration Fees. This is calculated based on a percentage or portion of the buying price of the property.
  • Moving Costs.
  • Renovations or Repairs.
  • GST/HST/QST. This is on the purchase price (for newly built homes) or on the mortgage loan insurance (if applicable)
  • Prepaid Utility Bills and/or Property Taxes. This is when the seller may have paid these in advance and needs reimbursing.

Oakville Real Estate Law is one of the top firms in Canada for real estate transactions. The firm’s team led by Robert Rose has worked on thousands of transactions the years and have the knowledge and experience you need. For more information on what you need to know about being able to afford a home, please contact us and we will be glad to help.

New Ontario Non Resident Speculation Tax Features

Canadian real estate has been a target of hot money investments from all over the world in recent years, with especially large flows from Asia. The Ontario Government has implemented measures to help more people find affordable homes, protect buyers and bring stability to the Ontario real estate market. For that reason, they passed the Non-Resident Speculation Tax.

The Ontario Non Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) is fundamentally a 15% tax on a purchase or investment in a residential property by any non citizen, non permanent resident or foreign company from outside of Canada.  The point is to put local citizens and long-term residents who actually want to live in the area, on the same footing with foreign entities. While those outside entities are still welcome to bid and buy residential buildings, they have a higher base price to do so.

The NRST is only for homes and buildings up to six residences.  It does not apply to commercial or industrial properties.  Large apartment buildings with more than six residences are also excluded from the legislation because they depend on the local economy and could cause an increase in rents for local residents if the NRST was applied.

It applies only to people or companies that invest in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region which is the most populated area of Ontario.  Specifically, it includes the communities of Brant, Dufferin, Durham, Haldimand, Halton, Hamilton, Kawartha Lakes, Niagara, Northumberland, Peel, Peterborough, Simcoe, Toronto, Waterloo, Wellington and York.  These areas have been the most actively invested by foreign citizens and companies in recent years.

This law is implemented as of April 21, 2017.  So all purchases after this date must pay the NRST.  All foreign citizens must take this into account when making their purchases and assumptions about their investment return.

A foreign person is one defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as an individual who is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada.  Similarly, foreign companies are not 1) incorporated in Canada 2) controlled by a foreign entity or 3) is defined as foreign by section 256 of the Income Tax Act.  The only exception to this definition is if the foreign company is listed on a Canadian stock exchange because that demonstrates a long-term interest in the Canadian economy.  The NRST also does not apply to a mutual fund trust, real estate investment trust or specified investment flow-through trust because these funds are long-term established entities in the country.

Companies cannot set-up local shell companies to avoid the tax as the taxable trustee is the person that counts for the reasons of the NRST.  The beneficial owner and investor is the one that implicates the tax, not any local shell organization.

A foreign entity cannot team with local companies to avoid the tax either. For example, if a foreign company was a joint bidder to buy a property, the tax would still be required. Even if the foreign company is a minority investor on the project, 100% of the NRST would still be due for the transaction.

In certain cases, the NRST can be waved by nominees through a special Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program. However, these are offered on a case by case basis and should not be counted on.

Oakville Law is a leading real estate law firm in Canada.  Partner Robert Rose has decades of experience and has seen every type of transaction imaginable.  For more information, please contact us.

What is Title Insurance, And Is It Something You Need?

To put it as simply as possible, title insurance protects a buyer from purchasing a house that the seller doesn’t actually have the legal right to sell.

It’s relatively rare for someone to attempt to intentionally and fraudulently sell a house that they don’t own, as simply examining public records usually makes this deception clear. There are a number of common scenarios where sellers aren’t actually aware that they don’t have free and clear ownership of the house, however.

For example, they might have purchased the house in conjunction with another buyer years ago, such as a former spouse. If they are no longer in contact with that person and have not been for a long time, they may errantly believe that they do not have to be involved, but that’s not the case — if the former spouse is listed as an owner, they have to sign off on the sale of the house for it to be legal. Another situation is an inheritance in which a newer version of the will surfaces later, after the house has been sold, showing that it was not actually supposed to be bequeathed to the previous owner. If the inheritor listed in the more recent version of the will shows up to claim the house, they have a legal path to do so.

Mandatory Title Search

As a first step in obtaining title insurance, the insurance company will perform a thorough search of public records to try to spot any potential problems before they crop up. They’ll examine the chain of ownership of the house dating back to when it was built to determine if there may be any issues related to inheritance, complications from a divorce, unpaid taxes or judgments against previous property owners. They’ll also look into any unsatisfied liens against the house that may still be active.

Once this is complete, they prepare a report that’s given to both the buyer and the seller. Potential issues are highlighted, and the seller has the opportunity to rectify them where applicable. If things are bad enough, the buyer or seller may also opt to call off the sale.

What You Are Insured Against

If the title report checks out and the sale goes ahead, it is important to understand exactly what you are insured against going forward.

At minimum, the policy is going to have provisions to cover both you and your lender. The insurance pays your lender out for your mortgage payments if you lose claim to your home, and will also cover their legal costs. The policy may or may not also cover your own losses and legal fees in defending your claim to the home; lenders vary in this requirement.

So, at bare minimum, this insurance will pay off your mortgage for you (by way of a direct payment to your lender by the insurance company. If you have an additional owner’s policy, you can fully recover your losses in the event you lose the house. Without the owner’s policy, you’ll be out your down payment and any payments toward the principle that you’ve already made, however.

Fortunately, title insurance is a relatively low one-time fee (relative to the cost of the house, at least), and in some cases sellers will pick up the tab for it as part of the purchase agreement. However, if it is paid for by the seller, you should be clear on any exceptions that might be granted. Exceptions are circumstances that it may be considered unreasonable to insure against due to their unpredictability.

Generally speaking, information that cannot be obtained through a public records search is usually excepted. Easements are also almost always excepted, and it is not uncommon for rights to water or minerals to be excepted as well. Special exceptions are the ones to pay the closest attention to, as these document the most unpredictable of the possibilities.

Any further questions, or would you like to learn more about our services? Contact us!

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What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do?

Most home buyers and sellers know they need a real estate agent, but not as many are aware that they could also benefit from hiring a real estate lawyer. A real estate lawyer is there to ensure your residential real estate transaction goes as smoothly and quickly as possible, while preventing any potential legal difficulties. Here are four valuable things a real estate lawyer can do for you:

A Real Estate Lawyer Drafts Custom Documents

Most real estate agents are not experts when it comes to contracts and legal documents, including the Agreement of Purchase and Sale as well as title and closing documentation. A real estate agent typically relies on boilerplate contracts and documents which may not be exactly right for your particular real estate needs and situation. A real estate attorney, on the other hand, will expertly draft custom contracts and documents that are written specifically for you and designed to protect your best interests. They can be as tailored and specific as you need them to be, all while adhering to the law.

Real Estate Lawyers Provide Due Diligence.

One of the most valuable services offered by real estate attorneys is due diligence. This means that your attorney will carefully examine all aspects of your potential real estate agreement to ensure that the deal is sound, fair, and not misleading in any way. The way due diligence plays out varies based on whether you are the buyer or seller and the details of your property, but can include things like inspecting the title and title insurance, researching the history of the property and making sure there are no liens against it or unusual easements, verifying there are no unpaid utility or property tax bills, and also verifying the zoning.

This level of detail becomes very important if, for example, you are purchasing your home with the intention of building a mother-in-law suite out back, but the home is not zoned for this construction.

A Real Estate Lawyer Helps You Avoid Common Pitfalls

By providing such a deep level of legal expertise to your real estate process, your real estate lawyer can help you avoid common pitfalls and delays that may otherwise occur. For example, a real estate attorney knows how to word a contract so that the property you are purchasing is described completely and accurately, including surveying details if necessary. Simply including an address is not adequate because addresses can change over time. By having a real estate attorney write your contract, you will know that there’s absolutely no question about the exact property you are purchasing, which will give you peace of mind for many years to come.

A Real Estate Lawyer Helps Guide You Through Closing

Your real estate lawyer will be there for you through the entire real estate transaction, including closing. They will ensure your closing paperwork is in order, that any final details or problems are dealt with, that the closing documentation is properly executed and finalized, and that the certified check and keys to the house are appropriately distributed. In the unlikely event that your real estate deal falls through at the last minute, your real estate attorney will continue to represent you and your best interests, making sure you don’t lose unnecessary time or money.

As you can see, a real estate lawyer is someone who expertly protects your financial and legal interests during the entire home selling or buying process. Whether you are buying or selling, we are here to handle all of your real estate legal needs in the Oakville area. Contact us today to learn more about our services or set up a consultation.

The Benefits of a Real Estate Lawyer When You’re Buying a Home

For most people, buying a home is an experience that they’ll only go through a handful of times in a lifetime. While most people try to do their research and learn as much about the process as possible, you can’t know as much about your real estate purchase as the professionals. Thankfully, there are real estate lawyers who will work with you to make sure that you’re protected as you make this critical investment that is so important for your family.

Your Lawyer Will Review Your Contract

Legal jargon can be tough to understand. Worse, you might be encouraged to sign a contract quickly, without taking the time to read all the way through it and make sure you understand everything it says. By working with a real estate lawyer, you can ensure that you understand all the terms of your contract. If it’s a contract that’s not in your favor or that has a problem that could come back to bite you later, your lawyer will let you know. Buying a home is a huge purchase and a big personal life step. You want to make sure that your contract is to your benefit!

Your Lawyer Will Make Sure Everything Moves Smoothly

Are you buying a property out of town? Looking at a commercial property? Buying a property in a flood zone or where other natural disasters are a normal part of life? If so, working with a lawyer will help ensure that everything moves smoothly throughout the process. Your lawyer will be your representative when you can’t be there and your advocate when you can. That extra fee is more than worth the reassurance that your home purchase will move smoothly.

Your Lawyer Will Handle the Title Search

Do you know for certain that your seller is the person with the right to sell the home? From titles that are in question following an inheritance to titles that still have liens against them, your lawyer will go looking for any information that could make it impossible for you to actually buy the home you have your eye on. That title search is worth its weight in gold, especially in terms of reassurance.

Filing the Paperwork

Do you know whether or not title transfers have to be filed with your county or city of residence? If they do, do you know how to make sure that process is taken care of smoothly and efficiently, so that your title will be transferred to your name in legal records as soon as possible? When you work with a real estate lawyer, they’ll take care of filing all the vital paperwork for you. This is important for several reasons: first, you’ll know that it’s done right and done in a timely manner. Second, knowing that someone else is taking care of the paperwork will allow you to focus on the other tasks in front of you: packing up your old home, cleaning up or renovating the new one before your move-in date, and, of course, unpacking at the other end.

Hiring a real estate lawyer is a safeguard–and it’s one that is well worth it for your peace of mind. You want to know that your home buying process will move smoothly, allowing you to move in to your new home as soon as possible while still taking care of all of the legal details that could come back to cause trouble later if they aren’t handled properly. Thankfully, as a home buyer, all you need to make a smooth process is a real estate attorney! If you’re in the process of buying a home or need more advice about the legal ins and outs, contact us today to learn how we can help.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Review My Private Sale?

Selling your property privately has a number of advantages from your end–and one of the most important is that you’re able to reduce your overall costs to sell, which means that you end up with a larger percentage of the sell price of the property. A real estate lawyer isn’t essential, but it can help protect you during and after the sale of your residence. Do you need a lawyer to review your private sale? The short answer is, yes!

Save Money in the Long Run

Having a lawyer might cost you more money up front, but in the long run, it can save you a ton–especially if undisclosed problems arise with the property or with an unfamiliar law during the selling process. When you work with a lawyer, you can rest assured that you’ve covered all the important points and that your contract will protect you instead of tying you into something that you weren’t prepared for. In the long run, having a lawyer review your private sale can save you quite a bit of money!

Understand Your Tax Liability

When you sell a property, there is tax liability that goes along with it. Do you fully understand how that tax liability is going to effect your taxes for this year? Do you know when the associated fees have to be paid? Consulting with a real estate lawyer will ensure that you fully understand your tax liability, which can be critical in ensuring that you’ve budget appropriately for the financial repercussions of the sale.

Make Sure You’ve Covered All the Details

Has your title change been filed with all the proper local authorities? Is the contract between you and the buyers official and legal, or have you missed some detail that would make it effective? By working with a real estate lawyer, you can ensure that all the paperwork and all the important details have been taken care of so you can relax in the knowledge that your sale is complete and won’t come back to cause problems in the future.

Are You Prepared for Contingencies?

That private sale sounds great right up until the buyers back out. Suddenly, you’re not sure what to do! Do you get to keep the down payment, or do you have to refund it? What if a problem is discovered with the property at the last minute or shortly after the sale: is it your responsibility to take care of it, or did the seller sign a contract accepting the property as-is? Where does your liability end?

Even the simplest sale can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t prepared for all of the relevant contingencies. Working with a real estate lawyer will ensure that you’re covered–and that if problems do occur, someone knows how to keep you on the sunny side of the law during the process. They’ll review your contract and make sure that you understand what you’re signing and what liability issues could arise down the road.

Working with a real estate lawyer is the best way to ensure that selling your home is as stress-free as possible. Buying and selling a home is a complex process with many elements that must be considered. Your real estate lawyer will ensure that all of your bases are covered and that you’re not going to end up with a headache instead of a sale. If you’re ready to start working with a qualified real estate attorney who will help you get the best value out of your private sale, contact us today to learn how we can help you avoid problems and ensure that your contract is in your favor.

What Does a Real Estate Lawyer Do in Foreclosure Cases?

A real estate lawyer can help you understand early home seizure and sale prevention. They can help with lender negotiations or the necessity of filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies and keep homeowners in their homes.

Young families look forward to homeownership and passing that property on to their children. Yet, so many are living pay check to pay check and struggling with fluctuating interest rates and the terms of repayment on their mortgage loans. Due to extenuating financial responsibilities of utilities, car payments, education, and sustenance, families fall behind on payments and end up in default.

After loan principal and interest have not been paid and communication on repayment options relinquished, the bank and lender can begin the foreclosure process. This is when the property is either seized or sold. The objective of a foreclosure attorney is to halt the process along the foreclosure timeline so that the homeowner can live in the property, while exploring and attempting a re-payment plan.

The requirements and timing of a foreclosure attorney varies depending on where you live. The largest determining factor is the different types of foreclosures the state could initiate. There is the judicial foreclosure, which involves court-issued notices of late payment. After the grace period, the property can be sold. This can take over a year to finalize.

The power of sale foreclosure occurs as a result of a clause was included in the actual mortgage agreement. During this process, the lender carries out each step of issuing multiple notices of missed payments, but only for a specified period of time. After which, the local court or sheriff’s office is given permission to sell the house at auction. Lastly, the quickest and harshest process is known as the strict foreclosure. Only a few states allow this type, but it accompanies a lawsuit against the default homeowner and if the court-ordered date of repayment is ignored to the point of mortgage owed exceeding the value of the home, the home returns to the lender.

This entire non-judicial foreclosure process can occur in as little as two months from the final notice. A foreclosure attorney has to first determine what type of home repayment/repossession process he and his client are dealing with before approaching the bank, lender, or local courts with negotiations. There are three types of these lawyers: there are those who work with real estate, consumer protection, and bankruptcy.

Your choice of lawyer can work with your lender to help you meet their requirements or help you with the highly technical process of filing for either Chapter 7 debt relief or Chapter 13 repayment plan. On one hand, if your Chapter 7 filing is granted, you will be allowed to relinquish some of your other high debt and therefore, make reasonable mortgage payments. On the other hand, if your Chapter 13 filing is accepted, you will be able to repay your mortgage over several court appointed and lender agreed upon years. So, as long as you speak to your lender, bank, and foreclosure attorney early, you should be able to avoid a lot of headaches, while preparing yourself for whichever outcome.

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, you may be wondering about the possibility of foreclosure and whether you have any hope of saving your home once that process starts. The specifics vary by state, but the general outline is similar no matter where you live.

Mortgage Default

One missed payment will not put you in foreclosure, but it does bring you one step closer if you don’t bring your mortgage current. If you are having trouble doing that, talk with your lender right away about restructuring or modifying your loan.

Your lender will begin charging late fees sometime during that first month, and after 30 days your mortgage is officially in default. At this point your lender can begin foreclosure proceedings, although most will try to work out a resolution first.

Foreclosure Notice and Auction

If you did not make acceptable arrangements with your lender, you will receive a foreclosure notice, often about three to six months after you missed your first mortgage payment. This notice is basically your final chance to resolve your default. The notice will typically give you 30 days to do so.

The type of foreclosure your lender may use depends on what your state allows and the terms of your mortgage agreement:

  • Judicial foreclosure: This is the most common type. It is overseen by the court, which authorizes your local sheriff’s office or a private company to hold a public auction once your payment deadline passes. It will use the proceeds to pay off your mortgage and any other liens on the property, and you receive any money left over. Some states require this foreclosure process.
  • Strict foreclosure: The court also oversees the process, but instead of holding an auction gives title to your property to your lender. The lender is not obligated to sell the property, and if it does, you are not entitled to any of the proceeds. Only a few states allow this type of foreclosure and usually only when you owe more than the property is worth.
  • Power of Sale: This type of foreclosure does not involve the courts. Your mortgage lender holds the auction and pays itself and any other lien holders from the proceeds. You receive whatever may be left. If you are facing foreclosure, it is a good idea to talk to a real estate lawyer. Contact us to be sure you understand all your options that apply to your unique case.

In many cases you are allowed to bid at the auction and, if you win, apply your current mortgage toward the price. You will still need to pay your debt to your lender along with additional costs related to the auction. If another person buys the property, and you are still living in the home, you will receive notice to move.

If you are facing foreclosure, it is a good idea to talk to a real estate lawyer. Contact us to be sure you understand all your options that apply to your unique case.

Top 5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer

It’s important to have a good lawyer when you’re involved in a real estate transaction. This is someone who will safeguard your interests, make sure everything about the deal is solid and legal, and who will point out any potential problems. Before choosing a lawyer, do your research and don’t be afraid to ask some questions. Let’s look at the top 5 things to consider when choosing a real estate lawyer.

  1. Experience – When you’re selecting a real estate lawyer, experience is very important. When doing your research, ask where the lawyer attended law school. It’s also good to know how long he or she has been practicing real estate law. Beyond this, find out how experienced the lawyer is with the particular type of real estate deal you’re involved with. Someone with lots of experience will be comfortable and familiar with the kinds of issues you’re likely to encounter. Choosing a firm with at least a few years of solid experience gives you the confidence to place your situation in their hands.
  2. Local Knowledge – In addition to overall experience, it’s good to know that the lawyer has a thorough knowledge of the area where you’re buying or selling real estate. Local knowledge helps the lawyer navigate through the situations that are likely to arise in this region. He or she will be familiar with local real estate prices, taxes, zoning ordinances and other regulations. Someone like this is better equipped to advise you for local real estate deals than someone who’s a stranger to the area and has to look everything up from scratch.
  3. Customer Service – It’s reassuring to know that the real estate lawyer you hire is going to provide a high level of customer service. This means answering your questions in a timely manner, doing any necessary research and providing advice that serves your best interests. When considering a law firm, make sure you know exactly who handles all of the work. For example, do the lawyers cover all aspects of cases themselves or do they pass some of the work to paralegals? It’s good to know that you have access to an experienced attorney to advise you and answer your questions. It’s also a good idea to ask how long the entire process is going to take.
  4. Specialization – Many lawyers handle real estate but you’re better off finding one who specializes in real estate. If you hire a law firm that handles a wide variety of cases, there’s a good chance that they aren’t experts in real estate. This makes a big difference if you’re looking for someone who is extremely knowledgeable about all of the issues related to buying or selling a home or property. Someone who’s not a specialist may overlook something that can end up costing you extra money. They may also waste time researching items that a specialist would handle more promptly.
  5. Costs – Before choosing someone for any type of service, you want to know the cost. When it comes to a real estate lawyer, make sure you know exactly how much he, she, or they are going to charge you. If they quote you a price, make sure you understand what is and isn’t included. Are they charging you by the hour or a flat rate for the transaction? Real estate purchases involve a variety of fees, including title insurance, search disbursements, and deed registrations. Aways be clear about the total costs before choosing a real estate lawyer. At the same time, don’t make cost your only consideration. The cheapest lawyer isn’t necessarily the best choice. Weigh the cost relative to the lawyer’s experience and reputation.

If you’re looking for an experienced real estate law firm in the Oakville area, contact us.