Residential Real Estate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About a Residential Real Estate Transaction

On a purchase:

1. When will I get my keys?
2. When do I meet with the lawyer?
3. When will I know how much money I need to bring in to your office to close my deal?
4. Do I need to call the utility companies?
5. When should I set up my home insurance?
6. What is Title Insurance and is it a worthwhile purchase?
7. How much is Land Transfer Tax?
8. Who is eligible for a First-Time Home Buyer's Rebate?
9. What is a Status Certificate?

On a sale:

1. When will I get my money?
2. What time do I need to be out of the house?
3. Do I need to call the utility companies?
4. Should I make my final property tax payment?

Important caution about buying and selling on the same day

On a Purchase

When Will I get my keys?

We cannot guarantee a time your keys will be ready for pickup, however normally keys are available at our office between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm on the day of closing. Often your keys may not to be available until 5:00 pm. If the keys are available at an earlier time, we will contact you and let you know. Under no circumstances may the keys be released before your deal has closed.

When do I meet with the lawyer?

Often we will meet with you to have your documents signed and to collect closing funds within the week prior to your closing. Sometimes you may meet with us one or two days prior to your closing.

When will I know how much money I need to bring in to your office to close my deal?

Generally we do not know how much money you will need to bring in to our office until close to the closing date. This is because the calculation is dependent on our receipt of a Statement of Adjustments from the seller and, in the event you are obtaining a mortgage, mortgage instructions from your lender.

Once we are in receipt of the requisite documents, we will advise you to bring in a bank draft, or certified cheque, made payable to Levitt, Lightman, Dewar & Graham LLP In Trust. In most cases, this cheque will represent your payment of 1)The balance due on closing to purchase the property; 2)Our fees and disbursements; 3) Land Transfer Tax; and 4) Title Insurance.

Do I need to call the utility companies?

We ask that you contact water, hydro and gas to advise them of your closing date and make the necessary arrangements to have the utilities transferred and functioning in your name for closing.

We notify the utility companies as well in writing with the same information.

When should I set up my home insurance?

You must set up your home insurance in advance of the closing date. In the event that you are getting a mortgage, you must advise your home insurance company of the name of your lending institution. Your lender will require that we are in receipt of an Insurance Binder Letter from your insurance company prior to your closing. Please ask your home insurance company to fax the Insurance Binder Letter to our office prior to your closing.

What is Title Insurance?

Title insurance assures good title as well as a variety of items that can include title fraud, mortgage fraud, and the seller's arrears of taxes and public utilities. It is a one-time payment that insures you from the day you purchase the property until the day you sell. The cost of title insurance is contingent upon different factors that include the purchase price and the type of property you are purchasing (such as a house or a condominium unit). Please contact us to discuss your options regarding title insurance in more detail.

How much is Land Transfer Tax?

If you are purchasing property in Toronto, your purchase will be subject to both the Toronto Land Transfer Tax and the Ontario Land Transfer Tax. Purchases outside of Toronto will only be subject to the Ontario Land Transfer Tax. For more information on the Toronto Land Transfer Tax please click here. For more information on the Ontario Land Transfer Tax please click here.

The calculation of Land Transfer Tax is based upon your purchase price and whether or not you are a first-time home buyer. To calculate your Land Transfer Tax, please click here.

Who is eligible for a First-Time Home Buyer's Rebate?

To claim a refund, you:

1) must be at least 18 years of age;

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

3) Have never 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.

The Province of Ontario has a very helpful and informative FAQ that we suggest you read. You are also encouraged to contact us with questions regarding the first-time buyers Land Transfer Tax rebate.

Please note that the calculations for the first-time home buyer's rebate are different with respect to the Municipal Land Transfer Tax for Toronto and the Ontario Land Transfer Tax.

What is a Status Certificate?

If you are purchasing a resale condominium, it is likely that your purchase will be conditional upon our review of the Status Certificate. A Status Certificate is a report on the status of the condominium corporation. It provides helpful information such as whether the seller is current on their monthly maintenance fee payments and/or whether the monthly fees are expected to increase.

It will also advise on the adequacy of the condominium corporation's reserve fund (sometimes referred to as a rainy day fund) or whether and special assessments are in the process of being levied. The Status Certificate may also state if any major repairs are needed, or if the condominium corporation is involved in, or expecting to be involved in, legal proceedings. Upon our review of the Status Certificate, we will contact you to review and explain to you in detail so that you may make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed with the transaction.

On a Sale

When will I get my money?

Your closing funds will be ready for pick up from our office upon the closing of your transaction or the following business day. We will contact you as soon as possible to advise you that your funds are available.

What time do I need to be out of the house?

You should be out of your house no later than 12:00 noon on the date of closing. It is common courtesy to leave your property in a clean and broom swept condition for the purchasers to take occupancy. All garbage and debris should be disposed of prior to your vacating the property.

Do I need to call the utility companies?

We ask that you contact water, hydro and gas to advise them of your closing date and make the necessary arrangements to have the utilities transferred out of your name for closing. Please make sure to provide them with a forwarding address to send the final bill. We inform the utility companies as well in writing with the same information.

Should I make my final property tax payment?

Prior to your closing, we will require you to provide us with your most recent Property Tax Bills. It is advisable to keep your tax payments as current as possible. Your property taxes shall be set out as an adjustment in your Statement of Adjustments which we will review with you prior to your closing.

Important note about buying and selling on the same day

When our clients are both buying and selling their homes, we encourage them to save themselves a lot of stress by scheduling the closing dates on different days.

Many people forget that their sale must close first so that they can use the closing on funds on their sale toward their purchase. If any hiccups arise on the closing of your sale it could negatively impact the closing of your purchase. For example, your buyer may have problems with their lender on the day of closing and may have difficulty coming up with their closing funds. This could trigger a domino effect, because you will now have problems coming up with the necessary funds to close on your purchase. If the person selling to you is also purchasing, they will be in the same boat as you.

If your purchase and sale are not on the same day, it will allow for more time to make the necessary arrangements to deal with unexpected issues that may arise. When the closings are on the same day, there is a very short amount of time to resolve dilemmas. If we help you resolve the problems on your sale very late in the day, we will not have time to complete your purchase.

Moving home can be stressful enough as it is. If at all possible, do your best to avoid scheduling your sale and your purchase on the same day.