Real Estate

As much as we can, we think for you.

Buying and selling a home may be among the most notable moments in your life – we understand that a real estate transaction is probably not a frequent event for you.

It is important to contact our office as soon as you are aware of a deal because we set processes in place to lessen your stress. There are a lot of moving parts in real estate once the contract is signed. Dates are very important, and there is a plenty of other information we need to gather in order to be ready. We understand people are moving and are under tight timelines, so we set client appointments in advance to manage all the requirements of mortgage lenders, sellers, and buyers. Our office policy is to begin work as soon as we hear from you and not wait to the last minute. In this way we can manage the busy process and make sure you are not signing everything at the last minute.

Documents we can help you with

Contact us to start a file. Call our office at 250-383-4100 or send us an email at

What to Expect

  • Call our office to let us know you have a real estate deal in place – we will conduct a quick intake over the phone to set up your file. This usually takes about 10 minutes.
  • We will set a signing appointment.
  • We will send you and your realtor a welcome email.
  • We will provide you with our client intake form to fill out and return.
  • Not only do we require a lot of information, but it needs to be accurate. This early stage is really important to meet our goal of making this process go as smoothly as possible.
  • We typically book 7-10 business days before your closing/completion date.
    • Sometimes appointments need to shift as we are waiting on information from other sources in order to complete the signing documents. To accommodate this, we have built in enough time to reschedule.
  • Appointments are generally:
    • Sale — 30 minutes
    • Purchase – 1 hour
    • Purchase & Sale – 1.5 hours
    • Mortgage – 45 mins
  • We send your real estate signing documents to you the day before to pre-read. ***Please note, some exceptions may apply.
  • Read your package and identify any updates to us prior to the appointment.  (Ie. name or postal code correction, mortgage detail, etc.)
  • Please ensure you book the appropriate time off work.
  • You will need to bring two pieces of original ID to your signing appointment (see accepted Real Estate ID)
    • **ID requirements vary lender to lender – a passport and driver’s licence will always be sufficient
  • Pre-read your documents and note down any questions.
  • We print out the documents for signing.
  • Notary will review all the signing documents and this is the time to ask questions.
  • If money is required to complete your file, all funds can only be paid by bank draft and are due to the Notary office 3 business days before closing date.
    • Please ensure you order a bank draft with sufficient time for delivery, particularly if you use an online bank (Tangerine, Simplii) or have to cash in investments.
  • We provide scanned and/or hard copies of your documents. Let us know your preference.
  • On closing day, we call you and your realtor to let you know everything is done.
  • Files remain open 2-3 months after the completion day and you may receive other follow up information.

Frequently Asked Questions

We can help you with a variety of real estate transactions and legal documents for:

  • Buying a House, Condo, or Land
  • Selling a House, Condo, or Land
  • Mortgages
  • Mortgage Refinancing
  • Buying a Mobile Home
  • Selling a Mobile Home
  • Transfer to Executor
  • Transfer to Survivor
  • Family Transfers
  • Manufactured (Mobile) Home Transfers
  • Power of Attorney Registrations with Land Title office
  • Ownership Changes Joint-Tenants to Tenants in Common
  • Newly Built Home Purchases
  • Name Changes and Updates
  • Ownership Changes
  • Removing Mortgage Charges when Paid Off
  • Residential Lease Purchases
  • Contract drafting for private deals
  • Legal review of contracts and title of property

Yes, Notaries in British Columbia can do real estate. In fact, notaries do approximately 70% of all residential real estate transactions in BC. We are highly trained and experienced in this area of law.

Contact our office and we will be happy to discuss your real estate transaction.

Some of our clients do not live locally. Real estate signing can be organized using a lawyer or notary in a different town, city, or province. If you are unable to physically meet with us in our office (i.e., you are living in Toronto and buying a property in Victoria, BC) then arrangements can be made for you to sign where you are currently located with signed document both sent to us as a fax or digital copy and originals couriered.  Please contact our office or inform us ASAP upon entering into a real estate contract. We need to allocate extra time to allow for documents being signed elsewhere.

For out-of-town clients, in most instances our Notary Public will meet and review documents with you by Zoom; however, the documents still need to be signed with an out of town Notary Public or lawyer.

Many people ask us if we can sign their conveyance real estate document electronically. The answer is ‘not yet’. We are not like realtors where DocuSign is used daily. For the final legal work most documents still need to be done in person with both you and the Notary physically present.  Alternately, some documents can be physically signed and then an electronic (PDF) can be sent to us.

There are 5 key dates that are most important. They are:

Acceptance: The date when you have given or received an offer for purchase or sell a property and both parties have signed the agreement (contract). At this point there are still typically conditions to be done (i.e., confirmation of financing and insurance coverage, property inspection, title review, strata-documents review, etc.) to allow the buyer to be sure they can and want to buy the property.  The contract is not yet final, and the offer may not go through.

Subject removal: The date when the conditions are complete and signed off in the contract. This key date matters because it makes the contract final and it is what the Notary acts on to complete or close the real estate deal with the transfer from buyer to seller, including accounting for the exchange of money.  If getting a mortgage, a purchaser must provide the contract to the mortgage broker or bank mortgage representative.

Completion/closing day: This is the date the transfer of property occurs and the money changes hands. It is not necessarily the date you get to access the property.

Possession day: The date and time you get to move in!

Adjustment date: The date from which the purchaser is responsible for all finances of the property. In a statement of adjustment, items like annual property tax, monthly strata fees, water billings, etc., are adjusted relevant to the specific property.

We are not able to prepare documents for another province – we can only prepare documents for properties within British Columbia. You will need to contact a lawyer in the province where the real estate transaction is occurring. However, the documents prepared out of province can be signed with us under an agency agreement. We regularly sign real estate documents that are prepared by lawyers or title companies in other provinces (and countries).

Let us know you need this service – we are pleased to receive documents directly from your lawyer or title / escrow company. If you have documents that have already been prepared, you may email these to us or drop them off in advance.  This is not always necessary – contact us so we can advise which option works best for you.

Real estate documents signing are always done on an appointment basis.  There is often complexity to the documents that we work with. We want to make sure we have enough time to sign the documents and meet the requirements of the specific property and jurisdiction.

It is important that all identification is up to date, current, and correct. We understand you may use a nickname or middle name as your preferred name, but for all legal documents the full name as shown on a birth certificate is required.

There are many parts to a real estate transaction and all the information requested fulfills one or more of these parts. Though we ask for a lot of information, the information given allows us to ensure all documents are written with accuracy while meeting our commitment for due diligence (i.e., ownership accuracy, mortgage accuracy, lender requirements, mandatory legislative and tax requirements).

Yes, but you must contact our office to confirm that we have availability to take this work on.

Contact us to discuss your scenario. (See “Should I add my son or daughter as an owner of my home?”) to determine if this is the best option. The Notary will be pleased to discuss options and your particular scenario to confirm important details. Adding a family member can have numerous factors and often the paperwork is equivalent to purchasing a property.

Key questions we will ask you:

  1. What is your reason for wanting to add a person as an owner?
  2. Is there a mortgage on the property?
  3. If yes, have you obtained the approval of the lender to add another person?
  4. What is their relationship to you?
  5. Does this have the potential to impact any inheritances or terms of your Will?

Have you talked to an accountant with respect to your personal finances to determine how this may impact you now or in the future?

There is an urban myth that it is a good idea to avoid the “government getting it all” or “I want to avoid probate fees”. To ‘add’ someone as a legal owner is not necessarily a simple answer. Generally speaking, adding a family member can contribute to further complexities and risk of an individual’s asset ownership or estate.

Information of the reason and nature of the transaction help us to determine whether this is a straightforward request. For example, adding a family member has the potential to:

  1. Cause you to lose control and flexibility of the property.
  2. Change what is in your estate at your death and trigger an unequal division of assets and wealth for your beneficiaries.
    • (i.e., a surviving parent adds 1 of 3 children as an owner while the will gives the entire estate equally to all 3 kids. Is the 1 child intended to get the house? Or are they supposed to sell it and divide the proceeds among all 3? What if they do not do this?)
  3. Possibly incur property transfer tax depending on numerous factors.
  4. Expose the property to capital gains tax on the transferred portion.
    • (i.e., in 2021 Mom adds one daughter on as a legal owner. The property is valued at $1 million.  4 years later the property is sold for $1.5 million.  Depending on the daughter’s principal residence there is the potential to have a capital gains tax attributed to $250,000)
  5. Create a trust obligation of the person added where they are obligated to distribute proceeds or value of the property after death. Where there is no formal documentation or trust agreement in place,
  6. Expose the property to a family member’s financial difficulties.
    • (i.e., I add my son on the title, but he goes through a divorce. The ex-spouse may target this property as a family asset in a divorce settlement)
  7. Raise the possibility of estate litigation.
    • There is usually an assumption that proceeds from the family home will be split equally among the children, however, this may not always happen.
  8. Contribute to family dynamics of power or entitlement and create tensions among siblings.
  9. Conflict with what is stated in an existing Will.
  10. Cause a default of an existing mortgage.
    • If there is a mortgage on the property, a person cannot just be added as an owner. Written lender approval is likely required – this detail is found in the fine print of the existing mortgage. Additionally, the lender may require the added person to qualify and be added to the existing mortgage or define that a whole new mortgage be created.
  11. Change what rates you get for a mortgage renewal or affect your own credit rating.
    • (i.e., The added person may have a poor credit rating which would impact mortgage rates offered for new or renewed mortgages. Or they stop contributing financially which effects your ability to pay or manage a mortgage, causing risk to your own credit rating.)
  12. Create tax burdens (capital gains) that far outweigh the cost of probate.

Strata / Condo fees are the monthly expenses that all condo owners pay. These payments go into a pooled account of the strata corporation, and these fees are used to cover the cost of maintenance, building expenses, and insurance throughout the year. Some of the funds will be used for a contingency fund or special projects (like a savings account for future property updates).

Yes, homeowner’s insurance is mandatory if you are getting a mortgage. It is not a legal requirement if a property is fully paid for. However, it is strongly recommended to have in place. For Strata insurance, see more here.

Yes. Strata property insurance is included in your monthly strata fees. When obtaining a mortgage, it is mandatory to get improvements insurance specific to your unit. For example, if the unit was upgraded to have gold-plated faucets and gold-flecked hardwood flooring which is represented in the value of the property (i.e., the price you’re paying for the property) then if a damage occurs or replacement is required you will be taken to the gold standard. Depending on the strata corporation’s property insurance, you may or may not have coverage depending on the reason for the damage. At most, they will take you to only the standard determined in their own insurance policy. Additional water deductible coverage is recommended. Read here for more detailed information about Strata insurance.

Insurance needs to be secured and paid for before your completion date. We need to obtain written confirmation of your insurance from your broker that your insurance is in place for the correct date, $ amount, and lender. Please note, the date this must be in place is 12:01am on the completion date, and NOT the possession date. A possession date is often the day after the completion date.

We recommend that as soon as you have a final contract that you reach out to your insurance broker to get an insurance policy put in place. In our experience a lot of people leave this too late, and it becomes a stressful task. There is a lot of information to provide to the insurance agent and if it is a busy time of the month for real estate (typically the end of the month) the insurance agent will be juggling a lot more work. Be at the front of the line, not the end!

We recommend that you cancel property insurance for 1-3 days after the completion date. The reason we recommend this practice is that in the event there is a delay in the closing date or a change to the completion date due to unforeseen circumstances. Then, insurance still exists and has not been cancelled. If insurance has been cancelled too early, then a whole new policy would have to be created which may not be possible due to timelines. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Have questions? Chat with us via phone or email.