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5 Things to Consider Before Entering a Bidding War

Bidding wars are inevitable. In today’s hot market, you need to be ready to compete with other buyers if you want to win the home of your dreams. But it’s important to not get too carried away in the process. Otherwise, you could end up offering more than you can afford. How can you best prepare yourself to win in this raging market? Here are 5 things to consider before entering a bidding war.

Know Your Boundaries

It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war, but if you aren’t careful, you could stretch yourself too thin. You can avoid any issues by obtaining a pre-approval from a mortgage agent. A pre-approval will spell out the total amount that you qualify for based on the stress test. Then it’s wise to call a real estate lawyer who can calculate all the other costs involved so that you know exactly how much you can afford.

Have a Deposit Ready

At the time of offer, most sellers will want a deposit to secure the deal. In most cases, you’ll be expected to put 5% down, so make sure that you have the exact amount in your bank account before executing an offer. 

Be Ready for Closing Costs

The deposit and down payment aren’t the only fees that go up when the purchase price does. You also have to consider the closing costs which can include land transfer taxes, legal fees, inspection fees, appraisal fees, title insurance, etc. If you sign an offer and don’t have the funds to cover all of the costs, the deal will fall through, and there may be some other repercussions. That’s why it’s important to have a lawyer look over all your documentation before you sign. A real estate lawyer will determine the closing costs that you can expect so there are no surprises. 

The Offer Is Legally Binding

Purchasers need to understand that once an offer is fully executed, it is legally binding. Even if you have yet to submit the deposit, you are still contractually bound to do so. If you back out of a purchase, you can be sued for breach of contract. So before you sign, make sure you go over the offer with a real estate lawyer who can help you understand all of the terms, conditions, and responsibilities outlined in the contract. 

There Is a Risk In Waiving Contingencies

Should you waive the condition of financing? Are you willing to forgo an inspection to beat out your competitors? The answer to these questions depends on many factors. Never waive contingencies before talking it over with your lawyer to determine if the risk is worth it. 

Accord Law is here to help you navigate through the complex world of real estate. If you’re about to enter a bidding war, arm yourself with the expertise you need to get the proper advice and representation. Contact us today.

5 Situations that Require a Real Estate Lawyer

The purchase and sale process can become extremely complex, especially when there are multiple parties involved. Too often, important details are missed and costly mistakes are made that render transactions dead and spark potential lawsuits. That’s why a real estate lawyer is often included as part of the process. Here are 5 situations that require a real estate lawyer that you should know about.

Purchasing Property

Your real estate agent will help you navigate through the process, but they don’t have the training to identify unlawful activity or oversee legal matters. That’s why a real estate lawyer is required when collecting and dispersing funds and transferring the property. But you should also consider hiring a lawyer to review the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the title documents to ensure that all the details are accurate and in your best interest. 

Getting a Mortgage

You’ll also need the assistance of a real estate lawyer when arranging a mortgage to determine how the home will be titled, and to direct the funds from the lender to the borrower. A real estate lawyer will make sure that all the relevant mortgage documents are signed and that the money arrives on time. 

Selling Property

When you decide to put your home up for sale, you’ll need to call a real estate lawyer. The lawyer will draft the documents, negotiate the terms, and add in any necessary conditions that represent your best interests. They’ll also make sure that all the appropriate laws are followed and any issues are quickly remedied as they arise. Most importantly, they’ll arrange the statement of adjustments, then discharge the mortgage as well as any other liens on title. 

Property Disputes

If you’re facing contractual or title issues, land use, access, zoning, boundary or ownership issues, a lawyer can help. Any disputes you face regarding the surrounding property and ownership can be handled by a legal representative. Attorneys can also be called in to provide skilled advice and litigation if there are unsettled construction liens or insurance disputes. 

Leasing Agreements and Disputes

An attorney can assist with any landlord and tenant situations. Whether it’s a dispute over a commercial lease or residential lease agreement, or you need assistance drafting a complex lease agreement that is officially binding, a real estate lawyer can help protect your legal rights.

To ensure you’re protected throughout the entire process, you should consider hiring a real estate lawyer early in the process. Contact us at Accord Law today to find out more about our services. 

Real Estate Law During the Pandemic

I was recently asked to present to a group of realtors and mortgage brokers on the latest trends and developments in real estate and real estate law. As I took time to reflect, I realized that the majority of developments and trends that have impacted real estate closings over the last year revolve around Covid-19. 

The pandemic has created some unique challenges and opportunities for real estate lawyers and our clients. Below are some key points to keep in mind when selling or purchasing a home in the current market, which I hope will be helpful!: 

  • Interest rates are at an all time low as the central bank has reacted to the pandemic accordingly. This coupled with ongoing supply issues has created a sellers market unlike one we have seen before. With interest rates so low, banks have seen an unprecedented volume of mortgage and refinance applications. As a result, we have seen some banks, who are already dealing with understaffing, being unable to process mortgages on short notice. We highly recommend that clients start their mortgage approval process early and well in advance of their closing date to avoid closing delays. The days of quick closings or rush closings are gone!
  • Bidding wars are inevitable. On numerous occasions at Accord Law, we have seen purchasers submitting offers, often on multiple properties, and then getting cold feet and failing to provide a deposit after the offer has been accepted. In order to protect sellers, we always recommend sellers obtain a substantial deposit upwards of 5% of the purchase price. Purchasers must understand that once an offer is fully executed and firm, not providing a deposit does not relieve them of their contractual obligations and they will still be held liable. There is no “cooling off period” for residential resale real estate!
  • Due to the circumstances involved in multiple offer situations, purchasers and sellers are being placed in positions where they have to make consequential decisions quickly and often without legal advice. We suggest making sure that you are represented by a Realtor, who has a team of professionals including lawyers, mortgage brokers, and inspectors at their disposal, so you can seek timely advice during these critical moments.
  • Due to health and safety concerns, the Law Society has allowed law firms to verify our clients’ identity virtually, through video calls. This change has allowed our office to act for clients throughout the Province, and our client’s outside of the GTA no longer have concerns of having to travel to our office prior to closing. For your convenience and safety, Accord Law is fully equipped to close deals remotely through video conferencing, and our team is available to assist you every step of the way!

Angat Saini, J.D., LL.B.
Owner, Barrister & Solicitor

Accord Law Professional Corporation
1457 McCowan Road, Suite 209
Toronto, ON M1S 5K7
Tel: 416-288-8000

How to Ensure a Smooth Immigration

Are you looking to become a Canadian citizen? Here are some tips to ensure a smooth immigration process.

Review the Immigration Laws

The Canadian immigration process has gone under a number of changes over the years. So, before you apply, it’s important to spend some time reviewing the latest immigration policies and information. You should also understand what the process involves to become a Canadian citizen. Currently, you first need to apply for a permanent resident visa and meet certain residency obligations before you can apply for citizenship. This includes living in Canada for at least 1,095 days out of the 5 years that you hold permanent residency status and providing proof of taxes in Canada for at least 3 years.

Check Your Eligibility

There are also a number of situations that can prevent you from becoming a citizen here in Canada. If you have committed a crime in or outside Canada, are on parole or probation or serving imprisonment, are under a removal order, or have had a citizenship application refused for misrepresentation, the Government may reject your application. Before you apply, check the prohibitions to ensure you are eligible.

Learn About Canadian History

To get your citizenship, you’ll also have to pass a citizenship test. This multiple-choice test includes questions about Canada’s history, political system, geography, national symbols, values, and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  

Brush Up on Your English or French Skills

One of the steps to apply for your Permanent Resident Visa and Canadian citizenship is proving your English or French skills. You’ll be required to take an exam that will test listening, reading, writing and speaking in one of Canada’s official languages. The score that you’ll need to achieve will depend on the particular visa program you are applying for.  

Hire an Immigration Lawyer

Canada approves hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year, but many are not as successful and some even wait years for the process to be finalized. If you’re not familiar with the documentation, are experiencing a language barrier, or are tired of waiting around for a response from the government, hiring a Canadian immigration lawyer can make a big difference.  They will walk you through all the documentation and ensure that you have submitted everything accurately.  A lawyer will also protect your rights as an immigrant and make sure that your case will be moved along without delay. With a lawyer by your side, you can experience a stress-free, smooth immigration process from beginning to end. 

Whether you’re applying for your permanent residency or citizenship, our immigration law team can help to ensure a smooth immigration process. At Accord Law, we have a proven track record in facilitating the successful entry of temporary and permanent residents. Learn more about how we can help you or set up your free consultation today to talk to one of our lawyers!

Your First Real Estate Purchase: A Condo vs. A Home

Your First Real Estate Purchase A Condo vs. A Home

So you’ve determined that you’re finally ready to take the plunge and make your first real estate purchase. That’s great news! But your next decision will be an important one that requires some serious research and consideration. The condo vs a home debate is a common one that many first-time homebuyers find themselves in. Condos are a popular choice these days since they’re generally more affordable, require less maintenance and include other perks and amenities. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you. The answer lies in determining what’s best suited to your individual needs, lifestyle and budget. To help you navigate through this debate and major life decision, we have the pros and cons of each to guide you during your first real estate purchase.

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