Legal Information For Selling a Property

Below is a list of commonly asked questions about purchasing a property.

My Real Property Report is more than 6 months old, is it sufficient?

The current Offer to Purchase only states that the Seller needs to provide a Real Property Report showing the current state of the improvements on the property NOT that the Real Property Report has to be new. If the RPR you have shows all of the improvements as they currently sit then it is likely sufficient. Please note: a condominium unit does not usually require a Real Property Report.

When can I expect to meet with my Lawyer?

Typically you should meet with your real estate lawyer at least 10 days or more prior to the Completion Date. The Land Titles system in Alberta often reaches as high as 5 full business days for registration. This means that your lawyer needs to deliver the documents to the purchasers lawyer with at least that much time prior to the Completion Date.

Do I need a Real Property Report for my condo?

Typically, you do not need a Real Property Report when you sell a condo. However, if the condo you are selling is what is called a “Bareland Condominium” this is different. What you have in that case is an interest in land, which means that the representations in the contract are your obligation. In those cases you will likely need an RPR. Your lawyer should be addressing this issue with you.

When will I receive my proceeds?

Depending on how your lawyer conducts business, it is likely that you will obtain your proceeds on the day of closing. However, it is important to understand that in Alberta there is the potential for delays with registration at the Land Titles Office, which may mean that your proceeds can be a few days late. The key for you, and your Real Estate representative, is to ensure that your proceeds have actually been deposited prior to you issuing funds based on those proceeds.

What is a Clearance Certificate?

A Clearance Certificate is a confirmation from Revenue Canada that the proceeds of sale of a property by a person who is not a resident are not to be allocated for income tax or withholding purposes. Technically, it is required anytime that a seller is or becomes a non-resident before the title to their property transfers to another party. Address this issue with your lawyer if you think it might be an issue.

What is an Estoppel Certificate?

This is a certificate that your lawyer is obligated to get from the condominium management corporation in the month that your deal is closing. The estoppel certificate is a formal confirmation that acts as evidence that there are no contributions, assessments or fees of any kind that are overdue from you, the owner of the unit.

How do I recover my property taxes that I paid?

Property taxes are adjusted by your lawyer in the normal course of the closing of your deal. You will be compensated by the buyer for any overpayments you have made on a pro rata basis or you will be giving the purchaser a formal credit for any underpayment of taxes that may be involved.

Should I let someone assume my mortgage?

There is no easy answer to this question but it really boils down to whether you have a CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) mortgage. In Alberta recent changes to the Banking Act require the individual intending to assume the mortgage be qualified by the lender. However, you as the Seller are liable if that party does not fulfill what were your obligations. There is no sure-fire way to avoid this liability no matter what you are told. Contact a lawyer to review all of the issues that are involved prior to agreeing to let someone assume your mortgage.

Who pays the Realtors?

The Seller in the current contract is responsible for paying all Real Estate commissions. When you signed the Listing Contract, you have directed that the commissions will be paid from the proceeds of sale. Your lawyer will use your sales proceeds to pay outstanding amounts as part of the closing process.

I am selling and buying the same day. Is that an issue?

You need your cash portion of your closing amount at least 1 week prior to the closing date. This means that you may need to arrange interim financing with your bank if you are relying on the proceeds from the sale of your existing property to close your new home purchase. Simply raise the issue with your mortgage specialist or bank.

Reprinted by permission from LeClair Thiebault and