As much as we can, we think 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.
Meet with the Notary
After Documents are Signed
What types of property do we deal with at Carter Notary?
We can help you with a variety of real estate transactions and legal documents for:
Do BC Notaries do Real Estate?
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.
Do you offer remote or virtual real estate services?
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.
Can I sign my document electronically?
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.
What are the key dates in a real estate transaction?
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.
Can a BC Notary represent me for a sale or purchase of real estate in another province?
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.
Why do you need my full legal name?
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.
Why do I need to give so much information?
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).
Can you help me with a fast turnaround on a real estate deal?
Yes, but you must contact our office to confirm that we have availability to take this work on.
How do I add a family member as an owner?
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:
Have you talked to an accountant with respect to your personal finances to determine how this may impact you now or in the future?
Should I add my son or daughter as an owner of my home?
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:
What are strata / condo fees?
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).
Do I have to have homeowner’s insurance?
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.
Do I have to have insurance for my strata?
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.
When do I need to have my insurance in place for a property purchase?
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!
When do I need to cancel my insurance for the sale of my property?
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!